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.
Local Lewes councillors and the Friends of the South Downs (South Downs Society) called on the developer to reduce the over provision of parking for each property on the site but called for on street parking restrictions to prevent commuter parking causing problems for the new householders. There is already local concern as nearby is the HQ for both the Police and Fire Services. The Society also called for
Improved cycling and walking links to Lewes town which is only a short distance away.
A better design to compensate for the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services at thid greenfield site.
A pedestrian crossing on Old Malling Way – via a ‘Grampian-style’ condition (meaning it would happen before the wider development begins).
Provision of zero carbon houses, – the design brief layout must cover the type of heating to be used. If solar panels are to be used, the layout needs to addressed from the outset
Consultation on the design brief has now closed, but more details of the proposal can be found by searching for the reference SDNP/DBC/SD76 on the South Downs National Park planning portal. Consultation on the wider outline application is still active, however, with more details available by searching for the reference SDNP/18/06103/OUT. For more information go to: https://www.southdowns.gov.uk/old-malling-farm-design-brief/
The Society’s response was prepared by our Lewes Town volunteer District Officers – Liz Thomas and Dr Jennifer Chibnall – click below to read the document:
South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA) let down the local communities? Iford Shoot Appeal Hearing:
The long and drawn out saga of the battle to protect the South Downs by local communities against the expansion of commercial shooting on the Downs near Lewes took another turn last month. Despite previous planning action by the local council, commercial shooting on the Downs near Lewes has continued over the last 10 years. Finally, the Lewes District Council (on behalf of the SDNPA) issued an enforcement notice on 14 August 2018. This then generated an appeal which was heard by the government’s planning inspector at a hearing on 10 March 2020 in Lewes. As you can see things take a hell of a long time in the planning world! However, the SDNPA Planning Dept seems to have approached this appeal and previous planning issues in this area in a somewhat halfhearted way. The SDNPA seemed to have made no efforts to support their case of enforcement against commercial game shooting on the South Downs near Lewes. Whilst the game shooting organisation had legal counsel (a barrister) and a planning consultant present, the National Park had no matching legal representative nor any senior planning officers present. Sadly, the SDNPA left the defence of their case up to the local Enforcement Officer from the Lewes District Council who said very little during the hearing and a South Downs National Park Officer who did put forward some points in favour of the enforcement case. Fortunately, the owners of Breaky Bottom Vineyard engaged a barrister who was a key figure in putting the alternative case to the inspector against the expansion of shooting beyond the 28 days legal limit. The Friends of the South Downs (South Downs Society) were represented by one of their local volunteer District Officers, Brian Davies, who spoke at the hearing giving evidence against the expansion of commercial shooting.
Because this case raises a number of principle issues regarding planning, we have made a report on the public hearing (see link below). We are not only concerned with the matter of support by senior officers of the SDNPA to their frontline staff but we are also concerned with a number of other issues which this whole saga raises including, – the lack of fair and proper public notifications of the appeal hearing , the proximity of shooting activities to public rights of way, the noise of shooting echoing around the Downs, the effect on the flora and fauna of the area, the use of the National Parks Whole Estate Plans in making out a case for shooting and the impact which such intensive activities have on the nearby villages and their residents.
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.
In November last year our East Sussex district officer team visited Swanborough Manor in East Sussex. We all agreed it was very interesting to look around and inside this unique historical building which started life in the 11thC as the grange to the nearby Cluniac (St Pancras) Priory in Lewes. But that wasn’t our main purpose. We were reviewing the threat to the landscape setting of such historic building caused by nearby developments.
Our Society believe the area around a listed building should be treated with special regard especially when it comes to constructing anything nearby. Anybody applying for planning permission to alter or construct a new building in the vicinity of a listed building should demonstrate how they are protecting the ‘setting’ of a listed building. This applies to Grade II listed buildings and moreover to Grade I buildings.
It’s 70 years since the 1949 Act of Parliament that established the family of National Parks in England and Wales. Known as Britain’s breathing spaces, National Parks are areas of spectacular landscape which are given the highest level of protection so that everyone can visit and enjoy them.
We need your input – creating a more accessible road network in the National Park
Help us complete that Missing Link! Do you know of a missing road link that is deterring you from walking or cycling in the National Park? If you do read on……….
The Friends of the South Downs (South Downs Society), along with organisations such as CPRE Sussex, Transport Action Network and the Sussex Wildlife Trust support an alliance which aims to persuade local councils, the National Park and the Government to develop safe and sustainable transport as well as better land use in planning. This organisation is titled: SCATE (South Coast Alliance for Transport and the Environment).
In preparation for a busy autumn season in planning and highways the Friends of the South Downs and the Campaign for National Parks
undertook a review of critical planning & highways issues in the South Downs National Park. This included a visit to the possible routes for the proposed Highways England A27 by-pass. Click here for our report on this visit. The promised further consultation has now been announced:
Highways England are holding a further public consultation about the A27 Arundel Bypass scheme between Friday 30 August and Thursday 24 October 2019. The consultation will open with a special exhibition preview on Friday 30 August at the Cathedral Centre in Arundel showing the proposals and asking for views on the new information. If you are unable to come, you may wish to visit one of the public consultation events listed below.
Be attending the consultation events and we will be publishing our comments before the close of the consultation process.. In the meantime this item on the SCATE web site may give you some background: click here
At the South Downs National Park’s planning committee meeting on 8th August, the Friends of the South Downs (South Downs Society) challenged the National Park in five key areas over a planning application for a large commercial and housing development North of Buckmore Farm, Beckham Lane, Petersfield consisting of a just under a 5,000sqm business site and a residential site for up to 85 residential houses*.
This is what the Society’s Policy Officer, Vic Ient, said to the committee on Thurs 8th August: Click here to see the SDNPA Video recording Also using this link you will be able to see the full debate and presentation.