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
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.
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.
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.