Stop the Development at Haytop!
Whatstandwell and Alderwasley Community Action Group (WACAG)
Letter to residents May 2019
Further to our February letter, we are writing again to report several developments regarding Haytop Country Park:
two Enforcement Notices issued by AVBC on 15 March, one for a breach of planning, where there is no planning permission for what is in effect a change of use (stationing of residential caravans that are not designed for towing by a car), and the second which relates to all of the engineering/infrastructure works carried out to date (details at https://wacag.info/documents/)
an application for a Certificate of Lawfulness of a Proposed Use or Development (CLOPUD) for the siting of 30 static caravans for permanent residential occupation and 30 static caravans for 12-month holiday occupation (60 units in total), to AVBC on 18 March
planning application AVA/2017/1336 (Change of use from 30 caravans to 11 lodges for residential use) withdrawn by applicant in April to enable the proposal to be reconsidered
In April 2019, AVBC received notification from the Planning Inspectorate that Dream Lodges Ltd (formerly Countrywide Park Home Ltd) have appealed against the above two Enforcement Notices
What does this mean?
The planning application AVA/2017/1336 is now dead and AVBC have confirmed that the file has been closed. In total, there were over 75 objections from neighborhood consultees, as well as those from Crich and Alderwasley Parish Councils, local Councillors and our MP, and organisations such as the DVMWHS, DWT, Natural England, CPRE, the Woodland Trust, and a 457-signature petition, all opposed to the development. This was a tremendous effort from a small community and shows the strength of feeling against what is happening in our valley – we thank you.
Regarding the two Enforcement Notices, an appeal submitted by the owners of Haytop to the Planning Inspectorate is at present waiting for the Inspector to assign a start date. The Government website for appeals suggests it may take anywhere between 42 and 72 weeks for the Inspector (or Secretary of State) to make a decision.
Meanwhile, the application for a CLOPUD seeks to establish the lawful principle of siting twin-unit lodges for both permanent and 12-month holiday occupation. The applicant sought legal advice from a QC, and it his opinion that the 1952 and 1966 Permissions allow the land to be used as a caravan park with 30 caravans for any purpose (including sole or main residence) and 30 caravans for ‘seasonal’ use. Furthermore, they say this could be any type of caravan (including static/twin-unit lodges), of any colour or material, and sited anywhere within the site apart from on the central green area (where a recent Court Injunction prohibits development).
However, the applicant and his legal team accept that AVBC holds the opposing view that the development as it stands does not fall within the confines of those two Permissions. They therefore consider whether the siting of twin-unit lodges would ‘breach a condition’ or ‘amount to a material change of use’, and conclude that ‘there is no material change in the character of the use or land as a result of this proposed development‘.
Either way, they feel that the legal arguments that they put forward support a CLOPUD being issued.
What does this mean for the two Enforcement Notices recently issued? If this certificate (CLOPUD) is granted, we believe that under current planning law, ‘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.’ This effectively gives the applicant carte blanche to do whatever he wishes on the site (apart from on the central green), which will probably include felling more trees to accommodate the lodges, driveways and roads.
What can you do?
1. The CLOPUD application presents the biggest threat to Haytop and this part of the Lower Derwent Valley to date. If you have not already done so, we urge you to read the application documents and object to it (deadline for comments is 26 May 2019). To view the documents go to www.ambervalley.gov.uk/planning/development-management/view-a-planning-application and in ‘Search options’ enter AVA/2019/0268 in the ‘Reference number’ box. To comment or object, follow the instruction in the ‘Comments’ box.
If you are unsure about what is a valid objection, the following list serves as a helpful guide. There is also a useful blog on our website https://wacag.info, posted 14 May, with more to follow early next week. You could also look at other objections as they are posted on the AVBC website.
A few areas to consider when objecting to AVA/2019/0268, and to say why you believe the certificate (CLOPUD) should not be issued
the existing planning permissions (1952 & 1966) do not allow for statics (lodges) to be used as a person’s main residence
proposal represents a material change of use – change from campsite for weekend/holiday use, to a small residential estate
proposal represents a material change in the character of the land
historically the site has been for holiday and weekend use only
the development is not in accordance with planning policy
site lies within DVMWHS Buffer Zone, Alderwasley Conservation Area, Special Landscape Area on land of ‘high landscape sensitivity’ which needs protecting; negative impact on adjacent Shining Cliff Woods (SSSI)
change to visual amenity of area, jeopardises World Heritage status
would result in 60 large-footprint, twin unit lodges, and associated infrastructure such as driveways, hard landscaping, tarmac roads; significant light pollution on what was a dark valley side
further environmental impacts; damage to ecology and pose a significant pollution risk; more tree felling would ensue
If you do not wish to object yourself, or cannot object, you can contact your local Councillor (either David Taylor email@example.com 01773 550573 or Gareth Gee firstname.lastname@example.org 07920 488250) to make representations on your behalf. You can also email objections to email@example.com or submit them in writing to the case officer, Rae Gee at Development Management, Town Hall, Ripley, Derbyshire DE5 3BT (remember to include the application number AVA/2019/0268, along with your name and address).
2. Regarding the two Enforcement notices, AVBC have indicated that they will write to notify residents when the appeal is valid. Residents can then write to the Planning Inspector and say why they support the Enforcement Notices. You may wish to include testimony and/or pictures to support your views. We will post further details on the WACAG website as soon as we know that the Inspector has written to AVBC.
3. In addition to the above, we will be raising another petition which we hope you will sign. This will be worded to show the strength of local opposition to the development at Haytop per se, for use against any similar future planning application and to be presented to the Planning Inspector in relation to the appeal.
4. Finally, we feel that we should seek further legal advice to fight this proposed development. An initial Opinion from Mr Paul Brown QC (Landmark Chambers, London) has already been covered by the generosity of a small number of residents. However, we are now looking to the two communities of Alderwasley and Whatstandwell to ‘crowd fund’ additional legal advice. We calculate that if every household could make a contribution in the order of £10 (more if you feel you can), then we can secure the services of Counsel again to help us fight this development. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and indicate if you would be willing to make such a donation.
Do not forget, when granting the 1966 permission the council specifically stated that ‘the site is not felt to be suitable as a permanent residential caravan site.’
Thank you once again for taking the time to read this letter.
Stop the Development at Haytop!