Parcel 2866 – Field Shelters – The Meadows
Thursday, August 7, 2014 at 10:13PM
Geoff Ward in BANES, BANES, BANES Development Control Commity, Bath & North East Somerset Council, Bath Conservative Party, Bath Conservative Surveys, Bath Council, Bath Councillors, Bath Councillors, Field Shelters, Golden Valley Paddocks, Green Belt, Local Planning , The Meadows

BANES Development Control Committee overturned the Officers recommendation “to permit” a further potential development at last week’s meeting. The owners of Golden Valley Paddocks had again controversially submitted a retrospective application for two “field shelters” despite the debacle over the 10 poultry units which were refused last year. They have a perfectly suitable barn on site which they converted into an office without permission and was accepted by BANES in retrospect. It does seem odd that the shelters were applied for when the land was up for sale and there have been no animals for months! Let’s hope the new owners make good custodians of this very special greenbelt gateway site which has “Article 4 designation and is part of Bath’s ANOB world heritage setting.

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You might be thinking this is a simple decision on farm field shelters for animal welfare, what could be more innocuous than that?

Putting aside the planning history for a moment, Id just like to be clear on what my Parish Councils and residents are trying to achieve: They wish to preserve the openness of this very special ANOB valley and setting for our World Heritage City. Its the view that thousands of visitors see on the journey into Bath form the Motorway just before they reach the edge of the City. As a consequence of this Committees good work over many years, you have kept it open, despite all the development pressure.

In isolation, many would think it bizarre that  we have objections from local parish councils and 41 individual residents with nothing in support. Why is this farm not supported? The answer is the planning history and the 6 year battle local residents have had in supporting this Council in keeping this Greenbelt valley green and open. Wansdyke Council protected this valley 22 years ago with an Article 4 believing it was particularly special, special enough for the locals to fight for 6 long years against the wrong sort of development.

You rejected intensive farming as the wrong sort of development; Development that filled the narrow lanes with earth moving diggers, lorries and skip trucks, churning up the verges and turning them into impassable mud baths. The sort of development the resulted in foul smelling duck excreta runoff into the Woolley Lane. This Committee rejected intensive farming when you recognised that 10 poultry units, dispersed like army camp Nissan huts across the valley, was not right. 

The applicants fitted out their existing stock barn into a plush office without permission, now regularised for office use. The fact that such development by stealth can be achieved clearly will not be lost on you, but you need to remember this was a perfectly useable barn, for animal welfare and storage. Now its an office!! And now the applicants, despite having no animals and being in the process selling the property (See the sale particulars!) need a couple of field shelters, Why? What for? 

Over the last 6 years of planning history there have been 14 applications: 6 refused, 2 approved by this Authority but rescinded by the High Court, 3 withdrawn, 1 was permitted and another- the stock barn - turned into a rather plush office and regularised. The majority, if not all, were retrospective applications. I do hope the nature of applications and long history informs you in your judgement, if nothing else you should ask yourselves whos trying to do the right thing here? What's the underlying motive of respective parties and what should the priority be in this case? Why not let the Article 4 do the work in protecting the openness of this very special rural heritage setting?

In summary, this is probably the last GVP application before they sell up. This is a retrospective application for shelters despite the one erected in January having since been taken down, on a farm with a state of the art office with no livestock which is being prepared for sale. The Officer thinks there will be little visual impact and if it should go ahead. Why not give the locals the benefit of the doubt on visual impact, show your support in protecting the Greenbelt and reject this application?

Cllr Geoff Ward, Bathavon North Ward

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