MINUTES OF SPECIAL MEETING OF STERT PARISH COUNCIL
held in Stert House on 30th October 2020
- Clive Boyes (CB), Chairman
- Alick Edwards (AE), Dty Chairman
- Chris Lawrence (CL). Councillor
- Ann Harris (AH), Councillor
- Lucy Barker (LB), Councillor/Treasurer
- William Howkins (WH), Councillor/Clerk
The meeting was held in Stert House with councillors observing social distancing.
This Special Meeting was convened to agree the PC’s response to Planning Application 20/08044 for the change in use of part of the land purchased by the Elderfields south of Stert from agricultural to equestrian and for the erection of a stables building.
- Apologies for absence
There were no apologies.
- Declaration of Interest
There were no declarations of interest.
- Planning application 20/08044
LB presented the results of the email survey conducted on 27th to 30th October. Of the 46 people who had expressed an opinion, 41 objected to the application, 5 had no opinion and there were no supporters. 37 objected due to increased traffic down the narrow lane, 19 were concerned that the change in use would lead to further commercialisation, 15 were concerned about damage to the ecology and light pollution and 13 objected due to the lack of services (power and water).
The PC voted unanimously to uphold the views of the village by objecting to the planning application.
The following response to WC was agreed at the meeting:
Stert PC objects to the application. The PC conducted an email survey of the entire village and there was a high response:
- 41 residents considered the PC should object.
- 5 had no opinion.
- No-one supported the application.
The PC is unanimous in upholding the views of the residents.
The principal objections, which reflect the views of the village, are as follows:
1. TRAFFIC. The access road is shared with walkers and horse riders on the Wessex Ridgeway. It is steep and narrow in places and will be under more pressure from the heavy traffic arising from the agricultural machinery contracting business from the barn under construction on the site, see 20/05021/APD and see www.meagri.co.uk.
In addition, the applicants stated at a village meeting that they plan to run an equestrian business from the site (buying and selling event horses), this must necessarily generate even further heavy traffic and the village road infrastructure is unable to cope with this.
- The turning from the A342 in and out of the village is dangerous for heavy agricultural equipment and horse boxes.
- The acute angled turning by Fullaway Cottage is too sharp for heavy vehicles, especially tractors and trailers which endanger Fullaway Cottage and walkers and horse riders.
- The lane on the slope leading down towards the site is narrow without passing places. The tarmac surface is too weak for heavy traffic.
Access to the site should be assessed by the Highways department.
2. NO VIABLE SUSTAINABLE FARMING ENTERPRISE at the site, contrary to what the applicants state. The applicants state that they wish to have the horses in close proximity to the farm whilst they are working on the land. However, this is misleading since the land remaining for agricultural purposes will only be 6 hectares (15 acres), made up of pasture land which hardly constitutes a viable and sustainable farming enterprise. There are no welfare facilities on site for working the farm for this extended length of time. It is obvious to many residents that the addition of horses to the site will only lead to a future application for a permanent dwelling on the land – which the application makes no mention of, but was disclosed as an objective at a village meeting with the applicants on 7th Sept.
3. NO SUSTAINABLE SUPPLY OF WATER AND ELECTRICITY. Horses need both.The application makes no reference to how services/utilities to the land will be achieved for the welfare of horses, other livestock and those working on the land. There are real concerns regarding the use of generators and the noise pollution these create, along with the transporting of water bowsers to the site.
4. ECOLOGY. The clearing of the adjacent copse (during the nesting season) to facilitate the construction of 20/05021/APD has already put severe pressure on the wildlife and general ecology of the area. The building of the stables will exacerbate the problem and increase the light pollution to the detriment of the barn owls and bats frequently spotted here. A full environmental survey is required.
5. NEGATIVE IMPACT ON OPEN COUNTRYSIDE. As mentioned above the applicants seek to run 2 businesses from the site.There is concern about possible future development of expanded equestrian business activities, which change of use would permit. The PC sees this as overdevelopment of the natural landscape.
To conclude, there is some concern amongst the village that the planning application does not fully reflect the intentions of the applicants.
CB reported that he had received an email from Katie Elderfield requesting copies of all the emails sent in by residents, However, the PC agreed that it should treat these responses as confidential. Those who wished their views to be made public would be encouraged to post their views on WC’s planning website. The PC was of the opinion that by posting these minutes on the notice boards and website it had fully disclosed the results of the survey.