Counsel has examined the CLOPUD application documents together with the existing planning permissions, site licence, etc, etc, and has given an initial opinion, which is that the application should be refused. That supports WACAG’s view and the points made to AVBC in several “objection comments” which can be seen on https://www.ambervalley.gov.uk/planning/development-management/view-a-planning-application/.
We await the full analysis and report but meanwhile here are some points summarised from the draft opinion which should be of interest to us all:
There is an overall limit of 60 units which may be stationed on the site in accordance with Condition 1 of the 1966 Permission.
Of those 60 units, 30 are authorised by the 1952 Permission, which specifically restricts the type to “touring” caravans (see the Note and Condition (a) of that Permission). That restriction is valid and enforceable. There is no restriction on the occupancy of those 30 tourers so they could be permanent residences.
In the Planning Statement, it is argued that the 1952 Permission has been superseded by the 1966 Permission with regard to any restriction on the type of caravan. That is debatable but if it were so, it would allow 60 static caravans, or lodge-type units, to be stationed on the site. Now, if that is accepted, it also follows that all of those caravans would be governed by the 1966 Permission. Condition 5 of that Permission forbids permanent occupation, therefore none could be used as a full-time residence.
The applicant claims that static caravans (i.e. lodge-type units) are not materially different to touring caravans. It is obvious that larger caravans have a greater visual impact than tourers, and that is a relevant consideration when deciding whether they are materially different. But, this is a matter of judgment, not law, so it is open to AVBC to decide that for itself. AVBC needs to consider whether, as a matter of planning judgment, the use of Haytop for stationing large park homes is materially different to touring caravans. If the answer to that question is “yes”, the CLOPUD application should be refused.
The application seeks confirmation that the 30 caravans authorised under the 1966 Permission can be occupied year round. The Planning Statement fails to explain the basis for this nor does it offer any proper justification for it. It is obvious from the 1966 Permission that Condition 5 was intended to prevent the use of those 30 caravans all year round. Although there may be some uncertainty, the concept of “seasonal use” has a core meaning which is clearly inconsistent with year-round use. While the 1966 Permission does authorise the stationing of an additional 30 caravans, those caravans are not for “12-month holiday occupation”, and such use would not be lawful.
Anyone who wishes to use this information to submit an objection comment to the proposal is welcome to do so. If you need any further clarification please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will try to help with that. Please note that even if you have already made a comment or objection you can do so again and the more objections that AVBC receive the greater the likelihood that they will take notice of them.
However, please remember that the decision date is 24th June so your objections must reach the council before then.
We at WACAG earnestly hope that residents and others concerned about this redevelopment will help to prevent further damage to the environment and amenity value of this special area. So please do submit an objection to AVBC and also donate whatever you can to help with the cost of the barrister’s report.