PARRACOMBE PARISH COUNCIL
Draft minutes of a meeting held on 21 November 2017 at the village hall, Parracombe.
Councillors present: Mr J Holtom (Chair), Mr I Tansley, Mr S Cheetham, Mr K Green
Clerk: Mrs J Walters.
- APOLOGIES Mrs S Bastock, Mr D Austin, Mrs A Davies.
- VILLAGE HALL. Negotiations are ongoing. Our solicitor has advised that we need a QC’s legal ruling on the original conveyance clause costing £1-2000. The Parish Council discussed the issue and the following resolution was passed: The Parish Council resolved to seek legal council on the conveyance clause. Prop Cllr Tansley, sec Cllr Green, all agreed.
- L&BR PLANNING. 62/50/16/001 & 002 & 005. Amended and additional documents.
Parracombe Parish Council is not able to support the current applications due to the following issues.
Totality – It was felt that it would be better to be able to consider the project as a whole but the Parish has to consider the plans as currently presented. Major development application – It was felt that we could ask again for the application to be called in for 2 reasons.
a) ENPA has now adopted a new Local Plan which includes a policy on the reinstatement of the L&BR (this seems to be in favour of the application).
b) If negotiation of track-bed purchase fails the Secretary of State would have to approve compulsory purchase under a TWA.
Parracombe Halt – Many felt that the proposed works at Parracombe Halt were not compliant with ENPA policy. Concerns were raised over the possibility of a partially complete build with Parracombe becoming a terminus. There was not a passing loop in Parracombe originally but L&BR say they need this in the centre of the Phase II a (Woody Bay – Wistlandpound). It was asked whether this could be a temporary development as the L&BR intend to complete the re-instatement from Lynton to Barnstaple in the long term. Changes to shorten the platform length have been made on the recommendation of the Heritage Conservation Officer who was concerned about the impact on Court Farm (Grade II listed building). It was felt that noise levels and activity in the village would increase with the passing loop. L&BR said they were working towards not needing to use the train whistle in Parracombe. The bungalow would be demolished and two houses built. One for a railway worker and one for local needs housing. There is to be no access for works vehicles through Churchtown or past the school. Spoil is to be moved along the trackbed.
A39 – Impact on village- Parracombe is already used as a ‘rat run’ to avoid slow vehicles on the A39 and many are concerned that the possibility of coming to a red light will make the problem worse. It was felt there should be discussion between the railway and the highway authority to prevent this happening.Working periods and work timescale- the Parish would seek assurance that there will be no weekend working and no work before 8am or after 6pm weekdays. The construction period is expected to last 3 years.
Parracombe Enbankment– There are concerns as to the types of materials that may be dug out. Assurances were given that all materials will be disposed of or re-cycled in accordance with legal requirements. There is no method statement regarding the haulage in of embankment materials and removal of waste (likely to be a huge variety of domestic and farm waste; probably including asbestos and other noxious substances). The Excavated Materials Assessment appears incomplete in terms of vehicle movements and over optimistic in terms of recyclable materials. It was hoped that construction and landscaping would be carried out using local materials.
Fairview – Fears raised over a possible repeat of problems at Fairview. It was reported that that contractors were under the instruction of Mr Wilkinson (owner) not the railway. Mr Wilkinson is making a new planning application to re-instate work done in error on railway land.
Engine Shed – It was asked why such a large shed was proposed in the middle of the full line and within ENPA not in North Devon. Is it essential? Could it be temporary? The original engine shed was in Pilton which is no longer an option.
Wildlife – Survey camera was only sited for 3 months and not in right location to capture otters. Additional concerns regarding the completeness of Environmental Statement have been focused by recent otter sightings and the status of Holwell Wood. The railway responded that they had carried out all the work asked of them to the required standards. The matter of trespass is a civil one.
Blackmoor Gate Livestock market – The proposals will have a detrimental effect on Blackmoor Gate Livestock market and established farm businesses will suffer from disturbance and severed fields.
Robustness of Financial case and funding for the build – There continue to be doubts over the financial case for the railway with passenger numbers questioned. Expectations seem high from a modest , predicated increase in passenger numbers and for the number of jobs created. There will be no transport benefits until the whole, Lynton to Barnstaple, scheme is complete. Local businesses will be competing with the Railway’s own facilities, this will be unequal competition. ENPA have had an independent report done and they found the case to be robust.
Financing – There are also concerns that work could start and not be finished as money has run out. L&BR made it clear that work will not start until full funding is in place and are happy that ENPA make this a condition of planning consent. They hope to secure Heritage Lottery funding but bids cannot be made until planning consent is granted.