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Another planning application for a major festival event in Hampshire!

Planning Update for Hampshire:

Click to enlarge

Previously we have update residents on the planning applications associated with the major festival site at the Cheesefoot Head beauty spot near Winchester. Now another organisation has applied for planning permission in the South Downs National Park between Alton and Bordon:  This planning application concerns a site off the B3004 in the parish of Worldham. Application details:

SDNP/19/03709/FUL  Change of use of Oakland Farm and associated land holdings from Agriculture and B8 (Open Storage) to mixed use Agriculture, B8 (Open Storage) and Seasonal Event Space associated with the holding of a Religious Festival associated with the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association; alongside the provision of external storage space, new landscape and revised ventilation. To fine out more or to comment of the application go to:  https://planningpublicaccess.southdowns.gov.uk/online-applications/ and put the reference in the search box: SDNP/19/03709/FUL

Background:

This application follows the withdrawal of application SDNP/18/02170/FUL previously under-determination by the South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA), and the officer’s recommendation for refusal. The event is currently run under the 28 day rule for agricultural properties. So far there have been over 120 objections to this latest application. The previous application attracted over 170 objections. The application is seeking to extend the period of the event to 7 weeks, of which 4 days would be for the event, with the remaining time taken for erection and dismantling of the site infrastructure. In addition it seeks to increase attendance to a maximum limit of 50,000.

The planning application states:

  • The Application site is 74ha, and lies adjacent to two SSSIs and a SAC.
  • The festival, known as the Jalsa Salana, is organised by the AMA and is usually held in the UK, every year, on or around the last weekend of July. The recent number of participants is assessed at 38,000, with people attending from more than 100 countries.
  • It is envisaged that the overall vehicle attendance for on-site parking as a whole will not exceed 3,900 per day on the basis of the measures that have been taken by the AMA to maximise the use of contracted coaches and public transport. Further parking is made available for up to 5000 vehicles at Country Market, a small retail park some 3 miles from the event site with buses laid on for transport to the event site.
  • Currently, the gathering extends over three days, beginning on Friday after the Friday Sermon, with site construction and dismantling taking and additional 25 – 30 days.

 

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Only 20% affordable homes in 210 homes development at Fernhurst

210 homes development given the go-ahead at the former Syngenta site, Henley Old Road, Fernhurst

Out of the 210 homes the National Park have given permission for 140 to have wood burning stoves! [Click image to go to committee report]
Our Society has always supported the principle of development for housing on the former ICI brownfield industrial site (more recently called Syngenta) site just outside the village of Fernhurst north of Midhurst. Along with Fernhurst Parish Council we have successfully campaigned for a continuous path to connect this site with the main village. There are a number of good features about this development, however we are very disappointed that the National Park has backed away from their commitment to affordable homes with only 20% being allocated for this site. The National Park also backed away from their commitment to tackle climate change and very strangely they have agreed to allow the developer to provide wood burning stoves in 140 of the houses. This was despite this site being specified as an ‘exemplar renewable energy’ site in the National Park Local Plan

This is contrary to a recent Statement by the Secretary of State for the Environment which said:  “Wood burning stoves and coal fires are the single largest source of the pollutant ‘PM2.5’, emitting twice the contribution of industrial combustion and three times the contribution of road transport. This form of pollution consists of tiny particles which penetrate deeply into our body, including lungs and blood, and has been identified by the World Health Organisation as the most serious air pollutant for human health”. See the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) statement: Government takes action to cut pollution from household burning

We objected to the inclusion of wood burning stoves in our comments submitted some months ago, as did Fernhurst Parish Council.

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Taller Mobile Phone Masts?

Is the relaxation of Permitted Development Rights (PDRs) the right way forward to support the deployment of 5G and extend mobile networks?

Report by Friends of the South Downs Policy Officer, Victor Ient

After some considerable research using my own telecommunications experience, updated by consulting engineers currently working in the mobile sector, I have submitted, on behalf of the Society, our opposition to the relaxation of permitted development rights to allow the unregulated installation of many more and taller* mobile phone masts in Areas of Special Landscape Importance including national parks. We believe there is a viable alternative to just simply relaxing the rules. We have put forward a 6 point plan for a less obtrusive deployment to the Government in our submission to the public consultation. Click here to see a copy of what we said: Response to PDRs

*The current restriction on the height of the masts is set at 82ft (25m) but it could be doubled to 165ft (50m) — almost exactly the same height as Nelson’s column.

Telecommunications Clutter in the Countryside

Unfettered development of masts in protected areas will be a disaster for our beautiful countryside. What is the point of providing the highest planning protection for National Parks when the area could be littered with telecommunications clutter?  Keeping the planning rules as they are would ensure mobile operators would effectively have to comply with the purposes of the National Parks and protected landscapes.

Lack of Mobile Strategy in the Countryside

Sadly, the government has not previously put forward a strategy for the provision of mobile telecommunications in the countryside.  Many of the problems of the 1980s, when mobile base stations were first deployed, still exist today.  Figures differ, but it is quite clear that there are many areas where 4G is currently not available.

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Further expansion of the Boomtown Festival proposed!

Matterley Estate: the festival site in the South Downs National Park, east of Winchester – this photo links to the Daily Telegraph article published on 18th January 2020

A new planning application has been submitted to increase the number of festival goers. The Friends of the South Downs will be submitting their comments soon but for now this post is to advise you on how to make your comments to the South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA).

The current closing date for responses is the 14th Feb 2020 – see how to respond as below.

In 2016, a three-year temporary permission was granted, at the same time increasing the number of days, number of attendees and noise levels. The planning committee granted a temporary permission in order to monitor and assess the effect of Boomtown and its increasing size over the years 2017, 2018 and 2019. Then, last year the Planning Committee of SDNPA  granted a further six years temporary planning permission (December 17th 2019) under reference SDNP/18/06249/FUL with increased levels of attendance at 64,999. Within days Boomtown applied for increased number by 11,000 under reference SDNP/19/06160/CND.

If you wish to comment on this application please go to: http://planningpublicaccess.southdowns.gov.uk/online-applications/

Then enter in the search box: SDNP/19/06160/CND   You will then be taken to the actual planning application page.  Here you can either click on ‘Comments’ or click on ‘Documents’. Under the documents you will see all the application docs.

To comment click on ‘Comments’ and then click on the ‘Make a comment’ tab.

Please refer to planning application number SDNP/19/06160/CND 

Alternatively you can email: planning@southdowns.gov.uk

This is a summary of the application:

SDNP/19/06160/CND | Variation of Condition 2 of Planning Consent SDNP/18/06249/FUL. | Matterley Farm Alresford Road Ovington Alresford Hampshire SO24 0HU

 

 

 

 

 

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The Agricultural Bill – major changes for farming and the environment!

Major changes will take 7 years to implement!

Report by Friends of the South Downs Policy Officer Victor Ient

 

The UK’s new Agriculture Bill has been called “one of the most significant pieces of legislation for farmers in England for over 70 years,” says Judith Tsouvalis* and Ruth Little* on The Conversation website. They continue  ‘It could directly affect the livelihoods of 460,000 people and determine the future of the 70% of UK land area (17.4 million hectares) currently under agricultural management. The bill sets out the UK’s approach to farming as it prepares to leave the European Union, replacing the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) that the UK has been part of since 1973’.

Where are we now? 

Whichever side you’re on, Brexit is now happening and that means the government has to put into UK legislation replacements for agricultural and environment policy which the UK signed up to over the years since the 1970s. Quite a task!  The government introduced the legislation in 2018 but it was withdrawn because the Brexit Bill had not been passed. Now, the Bill has had its ‘first reading’ in the House of Commons (this was without debate and passed through on 16 January 2020). The next stage will be for the Bill to have its ‘second reading’ (no date yet agreed) and then proceed to the House of Lords and eventually to receive the Royal assent and pass into law.

What are the changes? 

The Bill will replace the way the government manage and fund agriculture and the associated environment. In the EU this is via the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

The new agricultual bill could be good for wildlife, bees and other pollinators in the countryside!

In the future, landowners will in future be paid to produce “public goods”. These are things that can benefit everyone but bring no financial reward to those who produce them. Examples are as better air and water quality, higher animal welfare standards, improved access to the countryside or measures to reduce flooding. In doing so the aim is to move the UK one step closer towards ‘a future where farmers are properly supported to farm more innovatively and protect the environment’.

Over the next seven years, farmers will move from the CAP regulations to a new system of Environmental Land Management (ELM). This will detail the terms and conditions under which farmers and land managers will receive funding.

In a notable change from the Bill published in 2018, the government will now provide support for farmers to improve the management of their soil, as recommended in CPRE’s report, ‘Back to the land’.  A major step forward! The government will reward farmers who protect and improve soil quality with measures like crop rotation, and give ministers new powers to regulate fertiliser use and organic farming. As Judith Tsouvalis and Ruth Little say, “Landscape-scale solutions to decarbonising agriculture and averting the climate crisis will require huge changes. They won’t be possible without popular support”.

What is not covered in the Bill?

With the EU legislation farmers in this country could rely upon protection against  substandard and cheap produce from outside the EU. This Bill provides no cover for such issues.

In the EU programmes of expenditure are agreed on a long-term basis, – usually a five-year programme. In other words the finances are fixed for a set period. Rarely have the UK government used long term financial planning principles. On the other hand the EU does have stable plans in all major policy areas. Such mid and long term planning is based on the Precautionary Principle.  It will be interesting to find out how the UK government proposes to replace the CAP subsidies for farming which amount to £3bn a year. This figure includes direct and indirect subsidies as reported by the FT.

* Judith Tsouvalis is a member of the joint DEFRA-Natural England Expert Panel on Social Science Evidence for Improving Environmental Land Management Outcomes. Ruth Little is a qualitative social scientist specialising in agricultural and food-related research. She is a lecturer in Geography at the University of Sheffield and works at the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs.