Minutes 24 May 2022

 A meeting of the above-named Parish Council held on Tuesday 24th May 2022 at 7.30pm in the village hall.

Present: – Cllrs. S Cheetham, S Bastock, D Harding and J Holtom.
Also, in attendance, was County Councillor A Davis together with the Clerk and fifty-six members of the public.

01/02/22 Welcome by the Chairman, and Introduction as to the format of the meeting.
The Chairman welcomed all to the meeting and set out the format of the open public session.

02/02/22 Open Public Participation Session

Dean Kinsella (Chief Planning officer at ENPA) was invited to address the public. He explained the planning application and the reinstatement of the railway through phased work.

Statements were given by members of the public starting with a representative from the L&BR who spoke about the benefits to the area, the environmental statement, together with the minimal amount of pollution by burning coal.

Numerous residents spoke against the proposal on the grounds of:

  • More pollution due to cars visiting the turntable at Parracombe Halt. Eight trains a day, meaning that there will be sixteen trips a day. To turn an engine around takes ten to fifteen minutes.
  • There will be no facilities at the Halt meaning litter and pollution through lack off amenities.
  • Invasion of privacy as some houses are within metres of the trackway.
  • Breaking of the Grampian Conditions (A “Grampian condition” is a planning condition attached to a decision notice that prevents the start of a development until off-site works have been completed on land not controlled by the applicant.)
  • Loss of amenities.
  • Danger to horses passing over the railway bridge and near the line.
  • The danger to Parracombe school children, whose school is close to the line and on the same narrow lane that would be used by public heading to watch the turn-around.
  • Concern was raised about the pollution through sulphur di-oxide and PM 2.5 which can be particularly worrying for children, who are more vulnerable than adults.
  • Clause four and six of the ENPA planning regulations cannot be broken, and that this is what will happen if this goes ahead.
  • Cost of building work is going up and up in the present climate, both in labour and material costs, so that the L&BR budget will not add up over the building plan of five years.
  • The public will be using Church Lane, which is a bridleway, as a drivable access to the turntable. This has not been considered by the L&BR.
  • There has been little to no consultation with the public. An open meeting was arranged but had received little publicity and only 36 had turned up for the meeting and 30 signed a form to say they did not agree with the application with five in support.

Cllr. A Davis arrived at 20.00

Closed Council session

03/05/22 To receive apologies for absence.

Apologies were received from Cllr. D Austin

04/02/22 Declarations of Member’s Interests

Nil

05/05/22 Planning applications (New 7)

/3
Application Reference – 62/50/22/007
Site Address – Rowley Moor Farm, Kentisbury, Barnstaple

Proposal
Variation of conditions 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 16, 17, 18 for approved application 62/50/16/002 (Proposed erection of engine shed (1749Sqm), formation of railway sidings and change of use of agricultural barn to railway workshop) to enable the staged approach to construction and operation of the project.

/4 Application Reference – 62/50/22/008
Site Address – Site of the former Blackmoor Gate Hotel

Proposal
Variation of conditions 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 13, 16, 17, 18, 19 & 20 for approved application 62/50/16/003 (Proposed change of use of site of former hotel to railway car park with 162 car parking spaces and pedestrian underpass to station. As per amended plan 11.05.16 and amended plans and details submitted 30.01.17 including further information in respect of Environmental Statement. As per additional information 02.03.17 and 17.01.18.) to enable the staged approach to construction and operation of the project.

/5 Application Reference – 62/50/22/009
Site Address – Site of current public car park, Blackmoor Gate, Barnstaple, Devon

Proposal

Variation of conditions 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 16, 17 & 20 for approved application 62/50/16/004 (Proposed demolition of public toilets and shelter, relocation of public car park, erection of new toilets and interpretation building together with provision of temporary public car park. As per additional information and plan dated 09.03.16 and amended plans and details submitted 30.01.17 including further information in respect of Environmental Statement. As per additional information 02.03.17 and 17.01.18. (amended description)) to enable the staged approach to construction and operation of the project.

/6 Application Reference – 62/50/22/010
Site Address – Beacon Down Depot, Parracombe, Devon

Proposal
Variation of conditions 3, 4, 5 for approved application 62/50/17/002 (Proposed temporary use of part of existing highways depot as Materials Recycling Centre in connection with reinstatement of phase IIA of the Lynton and Barnstaple Railway.) to enable the staged approach to construction and operation of the project.

/7  Application Reference – 62/50/22/011
Site Address
Proposal
Variation of conditions 2, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 16, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 29, 30, 36, 37, 39 & 41 for approved application 62/50/16/001 (Proposed re-instatement of railway line and ancillary development. As per amended plans 11.05.16 and amended plans and details submitted 30.01.17 and amended plans, additional plans and information dated 01.11.17 including further information in respect of Environmental Statement. As per additional information 02.03.17 and 29.11.17. As per amended plans and additional information dated 16.01.18.) to enable the staged approach to construction and operation of the project.

After discussion, it was unanimously felt to object to all five planning applications 62/50/22/007, 008, 009, 010 & 011. Proposed by Cllr. D Harding, seconded by Cllr. S Bastock. On the following grounds:

Parracombe Parish Council voted unanimously to object to the L&BR applications 62/50/22/007 – 011 inclusive.

a) The applications were considered to be in conflict with the Local Plan Policy GP1, (as they seek to remove Grampian conditions attached to conditional planning consents of 2018 regarding applications: – 62/50/16/001 – 005 inclusive)

b) That as a Major Development (Local Plan Policy GP2) the applications did not demonstrate any exceptional circumstances and were not considered to be in the public interest, and

c) That there was considered to be no overall economic benefit to the proposed staged approach.

Elected Members had heard parishioners raise a long list of concerns regarding the proposal and the application documents; these concerns included (not an exhaustive list or in order of importance): –

  1. That the proposal was for a temporary terminus located within a conservation area and in close proximity to a number of listed properties. The temporary terminus included plans for a turntable that would become a tourist attraction in its own right.
  2. That the temporary terminus could become permanent, and other proposed developments stranded assets if the L&BR failed to assemble the cost of development or to secure the land required for it.
  3. That the phased proposal negated the (whole scheme) benefits of parking provision at Blackmoor Gate and bus link from Woody Bay and increased vehicle road movements.
  4. That there was no public benefit demonstrated and a clear adverse impact on the National Park and its special qualities should the proposal be approved.
  5. That the proposal ran counter to the ENPA declared climate emergency, carbon reduction and nature recovery ambitions.
  6. That steam coal would no longer be acquired from UK sources and would have to be imported in an unsustainable fashion. Poorer quality fuel would have greater health risks. Increase the carbon footprint. The pollution through sulphur di-oxide and PM 2.5 which can be particularly worrying for children, who are more vulnerable than adults.
  7. There would be a large increase in traffic using Church Lane to gain access to the tourist attraction which the terminus and turntable will undoubtedly become. The width and alignment, lack of passing places in Church Lane, a no-through-road without adequate turning facilities and without public parking provision, which passes Parracombe School, make it totally unsuitable for any increase of traffic. Church Lane would be the only legal vehicular access to the Station and is inadequate. Lack of L&BR risk assessment regarding road use.
  8. The possible illegal use of the Restricted Byway at Churchtown to access the Terminus and consequent dangers to road users of A39.
  9. The treatment of Fairview, omitted from environmental reports as ‘railway property in 2018 but not considered now, although it is now a private residence abutting the line with windows less than 2m from proposed reinstated line.
  10. Concern about the overbridge to the north of Fairview, over land belonging to Hednacott, and the alignment of the rebuilt railway.
  11. Effect upon Churchtown of no passenger facilities at Parracombe, and likely train turn- around times of up to 15 minutes (8 times a day), and the effect of noise and emissions, smoke and particulates upon homes, gardens, individuals and Grade 1-listed St Petrock’s Church. Loss of amenity, privacy, and the special qualities of the area.
  12. Proximity of proposal to Parracombe school and increased risk from road use passing on narrow lane with existing traffic and safety issues.
  13. Effect of proposals on PROWs, particular concern for horse riders regarding trains, and for all leisure users of Church Lane Restricted Byway and Century Lane.
  14. Concern at the economic report and business plan generally, and noting that the phased proposal provided no economic or employment benefit upon completion of the stage to Parracombe Halt.
  15. Lack of justification for the amended proposals.
  16. Failure to make proper allowance for the cost of materials, labour increases or the effects of accelerating inflation in the L&BR costings and calculations.
  17. That the application itself might be inadmissible due to being contrary to recent appeals, and court rulings in respect of description of development etc.
  18. During the public session, a resident stated that the majority of objectors purchased housing in Churchtown when the railway had planning permission and/or the intention of the L&BR was known. In response it was stated that purchasers were aware, from their property searches, of the 2018 applications but felt protected by the Grampian conditions.

In the Elected Members debate, the response by the PPC in 2017 to 62/50/16/001 – 005 inclusive was recalled, as it anticipated an application like that now being considered, and that the Grampian conditions were placed specifically to avoid the situation now being proposed.

/1 Application Reference62/50/22/006
Site Address – HEALE FARM, PARRACOMBE, BARNSTAPLE, EX31 4QE

Proposal

Proposed creation of farm tracks including the construction of a bridge, erection of storage building, refurbishment and extension of car port and associated works (retrospective).
The Council had No Objection to that application but once again voiced their disappointment that it was “retrospective”

/2 Application Reference62/50/22/012
Site Address – WEST MIDDLETON FARM, PARRACOMBE, BARNSTAPLE, EX31 4PG

Proposal

Proposed demolition of 2 existing cubicle sheds together with its replacement with 1 livestock building.
The Council felt that this was a much better use of the space, and therefore supported the application.

Planning applications – pending or decided (7)

/4 GDO 22/06
Location: Land at Truffle Wood, Heale, Parracombe, Devon, (Easting: 264398, Northing 146664)
Proposal: Prior notification for the proposed erection of storage building (6.5m x 4.6m). – Registered

/5 62/50/21/015

Location: Bridge House, Parracombe, Barnstaple, EX31 4PE. Proposal: Proposed loft conversion including dormer windows, roof light and other associated works (amended plans). – Registered

/6 62/50/22/005

Location: HEALE MOOR FARM, PARRACOMBE, BARNSTAPLE, EX31 4QE

Proposal: Lawful development certificate for the existing use of former agricultural workshop to be used as domestic storage and home-office space. – Registered

/762/50/22/002
Location: LORNA DOONE COTTAGE, PARRACOMBE, BARNSTAPLE, EX31 4RJ

Proposal: Proposed first floor extension. – Registered

/8 62/50/22/003

Location: HIGHER BODLEY FARM, PARRACOMBE, BARNSTAPLE, EX31 4QN

Proposal: Hedgerow removal notice for the proposed removal of four x 5 metre sections of hedgerow. – Registered

/9 62/50/21/015

Location: BRIDGE HOUSE, PARRACOMBE, BARNSTAPLE, EX31 4PE

Proposal: Proposed Loft conversion including dormer windows, roof light and other associated works. – Registered

/1062/50/19/013

Rowley Moor Farm, Parracombe, Devon

Proposed conversion of stables to one Local Needs Affordable dwelling. – Under consideration by Officers

/11 Other planning matters

Nil

06/02/22 County Council Report

County Councillor A Davis reported that the enhanced county bus service will be starting this coming Sunday – 29th May 2022.

The Homes for Ukraine website is up and running, and is getting good support. She also reported that English lessons are being given free.

07/02/22 District Council Report

Nil.

08/02/22 Exmoor National Park Authority update

Nil.

09/02/22 To approve and to sign the Minutes of the meeting held on 3rd May 2022.

These were signed as a correct record.

10/02/22 Matters arising

The Clerk mentioned about the dog noise that the Chairman asked him to report on at the previous meeting and that the dog warden needed the name of the person who had complained. The Chairman agreed to pass his name and address forward.

12/05/22 Parracombe Community Trust

/1 Progress on the village shop

The Chairman was pleased to report that the shop is now open and is being well supported. There are still some minor works to do, such as outside finishing. The ENPA are to provide the entrance gate.

/2 Affordable housing project.

The Chairman reported that the grant is still awaited, and until such time as its arrival no progression can take place.

/3 Village Hall.

The Chairman reported that the village questionnaire has been distributed and the outcome is awaited.

13/05/22 Finance:

/1 Additional payments made since the last notification of the agenda: –

A Cut Above Grass cutting £170.00

D J Hatherley Salary March & April & back pay April 2021 – April 2022 £271.68

/2Payments yet to be made: –

Nil

/3 Annual Governance and Accountability Return 2021/22 – Chairman to sign off the form 2PM

The Council approved the Exemption Certificate, and it was signed by the Chairman.

14/05/22 Roles and Responsibilities. Reports if warranted.

/1PROWS: Footpaths & Bridleways:

Cllrs. Cheetham agreed to contact Highways re the sign that had been turned around, and the road junction at Heale and West Buckland. Action Cllr. Cheetham

/2Highways: Signage/Drains/potholes and surfaces:

Nil.

/3Trees

Nil.

/4Emergency Planning and Snow warden:

Nil.

/5Liaison with school and Church:

Cllr. Harding reported that there is to be an open day at the school.

/6Website and publicity, communications:

Nil.

/7Liaison with PCT:

Nil.

/8Planning noting applications contact for affected parties and applicants & LPA:

Nil.

/9Finance:

Nil.

/10Human resources:

Cllr. Bastock reported that there had been little progress re the Clerk position and was advised to try neighbouring parishes to see if a Clerk there would double up. -Action Cllr. Bastock

15/05/22 Emergency Plan

After discussion, the Clerk was asked to purchase a walkie-talkie system for use in an emergency for under £100.00.

16/05/22 Items for next meeting

Nil

17/05/22 Date of next meeting.

Tuesday 5th July at 7.30pm in the Village Hall

The meeting finished at 21.32

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