If AVBC issues a Lawful Development Certificate this could be the biggest threat to the area to date. The Haytop Park owner would be able to do pretty much whatever he wanted because “If granted by the Local Planning Authority, the certificate means that enforcement action cannot be carried out to the development referred to in the certificate.” The amenity value of this part of the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site could then be changed beyond recognition.
However, there is a possible way around that because Haytop Park lies within the Alderwasley Conservation area and the law states that conservation area protection includes trees and views. The applicant’s agent claims in the documents that the site cannot be seen from a public road or footpath. What rubbish! He also claims that new large lodges have no more impact on the view than did the smaller trailer caravans that were partially hidden among trees; trees that the owner illegally cut down in 2017. Mind you, the agent making the application is from Abingdon, Oxfordshire, so might never have actually seen Haytop from Whatstandwell, the A6 or the canal path.
So – AVBC should protect the trees and views in the Conservation area.
We should note that a local authority is obliged to pay special attention to the “desirability of preserving or enhancing the character or appearance of that (conservation) area”. It is also stated that “notwithstanding the acceptability of the proposal in terms of other planning issues, where any proposed development would harm the character, appearance or setting of a Conservation Area it will not normally be permitted.”
In the 1966 permission the council emphasised that “this site (Haytop) is of great scenic importance. It is the Local Planning Authority’s aim to protect and, where it has been harmed, to restore the area’s scenic attractiveness.”
So – AVBC should preserve or enhance the appearance of the area.
This is an application under section 192 of the Town and Country Planning Act. That specifies that the council must be satisfied that the land use or operations described in the application were lawful at the time of the application (18 March 2019). If it is then AVBC must issue the certificate. That means that the owner’s case is that it was lawful to have 30 lodges for permanent residential use and 30 more for 12-month holiday use on that date. How come? The existing 1952 &1966 planning permissions did not allow that. They can have 30 static lodges, because they are defined as “caravans”, but only for seasonal use because that was the condition in the 1966 planning permission, and “seasonal” was specified in the last licence as April to September.(see documents page on this website for details). Permanent occupation must only be in “mobile dwellings” as defined in the 1952 permission, i.e. trailer type caravans capable of being towed by a motor car. People who have been permanently resident in a few of the lodges for more than a year are in breach of those conditions.
Anyone who has lived in the area for some years knows that the site was not residential when it was owned by the George family. It was operated as a seasonal camping and holiday park with some static single unit caravans and provision for tourers and tents. That use was very clear from the information on the old website for Haytop Park. If permission is given for 12-month holiday use who is going to police that? It is not in the owner’s interests to do so and AVBC do not have the capacity to check on the length of time so-called holiday makers are in the same caravans. It could therefore become a “back door” way to having 30 lodges occupied permanently by the same people and after a while an application could be made to regularise that situation. Result – 60 permanent residences.
The applicant claims that his plans would NOT mean a change of use for the site. That is nonsense because the “use” would change from a quiet, unlit holiday park with caravans among trees into an open estate with 60 bungalows, site-wide street lighting and associated extra traffic, destruction of the environment and increased pollution risks to the River Derwent and Pendleton Brook.
So – object to this change of use.
The council has now refused several applications from Haytop’s owner since 2017 to make the site residential. We should also remember that the council granting the planning permission in 1966 specifically stated that the site was not felt to be suitable as a permanent residential caravan site. Current planning permission specifically forbids permanent occupation of anything other than tourer type caravans.
So – encourage your council to be consistent and continue to deny permanent residence in large static units of the type now on site.
Finally, the applicant presents a legal advice from a planning barrister to support his case. However, that opinion is only one interpretation of the legal definitions and situation regarding the planning permissions. It is not definitive and at least one other legal opinion exists, from an equally prominent QC, which is at odds with the one in these proposal documents.
So – ask that AVBC should ignore the QC’s opinion attached in support of this application.