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Hemyock Parish Council

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Parish Council

19/00244/FULL|Change of use of agricultural land to allow the siting of 5 residential pitches, 1 transit gypsy and traveller pitch comprising 6 touring caravans, 3 day rooms, sewage treatment plant, hardstanding with new access and associated works|Lot 3 Shuttleton Farm Castle Hill Hemyock Devon

The parish council does not support the above application. Below are the comments from the parish council toMid Devon District Council:-

Hemyock Parish Council objects strongly to this application.

Visual Impact

The application site has been kept artificially below 1.0 hectare (by not including the full extent of the proposed foul and surface water drainage system proposed to serve the pitches) so as not to trigger an automatic requirement for a full Landscape & Visual Impact Assessment on the basis of site area. Notwithstanding this, the number and total floor area of dwellings and recreational buildings proposed, and thus the likely intensity of the residential use of the site is substantial and so Hemyock Parish Council asks that an LVIA is required to assess the likely visual impact within this sensitive landscape. Due to the substantial impact that this proposed development would have Hemyock Parish Council asks that the Local Planning Authority deem this a major development.

The proposed development is not sustainable.



There is no mains water on the site, only a private connection from a neighbouring landowner's supply which is limited to that required to sustain a single water trough for livestock. The nearest mains water supply is at least 1 mile away.

Any private supply would reduce the existing supply to private dwellings and businesses thus having an adverse impact on the welfare and viability of all residents, businesses and animals sharing the supply. Already, water supply to the 2 nearby farms is problematic during the summer months.


There is no mains sewerage on site. The proposed package treatment plant should be demonstrated to be capable of being installed within the red line boundary of the application site as drawn or the red line should be extended to include the additional land required for its installation. There are no permitted development rights for the installation of domestic sewerage systems on agricultural land and so any permission granted would need to include same. Without full drainage system details, it is not possible for the LPA to come to a reasonable conclusion on this issue.

HPC asks that Building Control is consulted before any decision is made with specific regard to the need for percolation tests and the complete lack of access to any water course for the direct discharge that a package treatment plant would require, etc.


There is no electricity supply to the site. The applicant has not demonstrated how they might connect to a supply. Existing supplies to properties on this section of Castle Hill are not 3-Phase. A development of the scale proposed would not be capable of operating on a single phase supply and the cost and practicality of bringing in a 3-Phase supply has not been demonstrated. If the proposal were to be served by on-site generators this would create a substantial source of noise and atmospheric pollution.

This proposal fails to demonstrate the sustainability of the development with regard to electricity, water supply and foul water disposal.


The proposed development will not be able to satisfy the advance visibility highway requirements of 2.4m back from the carriageway edge along the centre line of the access and 90m to 110m in each direction because:-

  • the applicant does not own the necessary land to provide the required visibility splays uphill from the site entrance, and
  • the engineering works necessary to satisfy the highway requirements on the downhill side would be a major development, necessitating removal of extensive areas of existing roadside hedgerow and volumes of ground, causing substantial changes to very well established hedgerow with a high visual impact that would be harmful to wildlife and unacceptable in an AONB.

The proposal is not for a single dwelling, it is for 6 pitches with potential for the 3 recreation buildings to bring the total to 9 dwellings on site. Each dwelling has a traffic generation potential of 8 trips which equates to 16 movements (one in and one out per trip) per day. Multiplied by 6 this equates to 96 movements per day, with the potential for a further 48 if the recreation facilities were to be occupied. This is a potential maximum number of trips per day of 144 vehicle movements in and out of a substandard site entrance.

Planning policy


The application fails to meet the following essential criteria:-

b the proposed site is within 30 minutes travel by means of public transport, walking and or cycling of a hospital and secondary school.

The agent's argument that based on their own calculations the distance is only a few minutes more than the criterion requires does not obviate this clear failing and may not be given substantial weight due to the difference between those calculations and the actual times taken to travel to the facilities cited due to prevailing road and traffic conditions. The sound reason for such time and distance parameters within the policy is to ensure proposed sites are in relatively sustainable locations with good access to such primary services despite a rural location.

The site does not have safe pedestrian/cycle route access to and from the nearest village ... in this case Hemyock ... and the route to Dunkeswell provides no better alternative. There is no clear explanation of the approach taken to the site selection or any occupancy assessment of other sites already with permission for such use and reasons why these are not yet created or cannot be used. Understandably it was probably a cheaper purchase due to its comparatively steep nature & lack of community access. The proposed development is approximately 1.25 miles from the centre of Hemyock.

Planning Policy for Traveller Sites

The application fails to meet the following criteria from the current NPPF:-

  1. Local planning authorities should very strictly limit new traveller site development in open countryside that is away from existing settlements or outside areas allocated in the development plan. Local planning authorities should ensure that sites in rural areas respect the scale of, and do not dominate, the nearest settled community, and avoid placing undue pressure on the local infrastructure.

The proposed development will dominate the nearest community (that of the existing scatter of 6 dwellings around the site on Castle Hill) and place undue pressure on existing infrastructure and resources.

27 If a local planning authority cannot demonstrate an up-to-date 5-year supply of deliverable sites, this should be a significant material consideration in any subsequent planning decision when considering applications for the grant of temporary planning permission. The exception is where the proposal is on land designated as Green Belt; sites protected under birds and habitats directives and/or sites designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest; Local Green Space; an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, or within a National Park (or the Broads)

The proposed site is in an AONB and therefore, not only should it not be considered suitable for the current proposal on a permanent basis, but it should also not be considered suitable even on a temporary basis and/or for a lesser number of pitches.


The proposal is premature as whilst the agent argues the proposal accords with the emerging Local Plan Review policy for Gypsies, Travellers and Travelling Show People, this policy is not yet formally adopted as the review has yet to pass examination and the appointed inspector has issue with its current phrasing which may require further changes before it is adopted for development management purposes.

Recreational Facilities

Mid Devon standards for licensing of permanent residential caravan/mobile home sites specify a percentage of the overall site that should be allocated to children's recreation, but do not state that this is required to be incorporated within any building. The agent's statement does not identify where the specification for the proposed permanent buildings forms part of any adopted standard applied by Mid Devon. Therefore, there is no proper justification for permanent buildings of any kind on the site. The buildings proposed are of such substantial construction and level of facilities (e.g. a full bath) that they could be utilised as a bedsit. Mid Devon's current Adopted Local Plan contains a policy which permits the conversion of redundant rural buildings to dwellings and so the suspicion is raised as to whether these unnecessary permanent structures are intended as permanent dwellings in the future.

Ground Stability

There is green sand throughout this area. This site is likely to contain deposits of green sand. The only way to test properly and determine whether the site is free of such deposits and thus physically capable of supporting any of the engineering work required to excavate and lay trackways, hardstanding and building foundations is to secure core sampling across the site on a sufficiently tight grid. The Local Planning Authority should not consider granting planning permission without securing a detailed geological appraisal of the whole site.


HPC asks that as soon as a decision is made on this application that any necessary enforcement action is taken immediately to remedy the following breaches of development control:-

(a) unauthorised removal of hedgerows, including the removal of an oak tree this requires reinstatement of the hedgerow with appropriate indigenous species planting;

(b) creation of unauthorised direct access on to Public Highway this requires permanent closure of the access created, reinstating original ground levels and soil (particularly to facilitate reinstatement of the hedgerow); and,

(c) installation of domestic fittings (including shower, toilet and septic tank) to an agricultural building without the benefit of any permitted development rights for same this requires complete removal of all the domestic fittings etc. within the building and the removal of the septic tank and all pipework from the ground outside the building, together with a requirement the building be returned to solely agricultural use (for which it was originally permitted).