AEE have been working hard behind the scenes since we submitted the planning application. During submission the application goes out to a number of consultants within South Hams District Council, and also to consultants like RSPB and the Environment Agency. We have received a number of positive responses but also some comments which have required further studies and research on our part to back-up our claims within the application. The points we have been addressing are demonstrated below.
Devon County Council (DCC) has advised that the preferred access route that was proposed in the planning application would not be appropriate to use because a weight limit exists just south of Turtley Corn Mill. The limit is due to a weak section of road.
Further discussion with DCC has identified that the best route into the site is via Torbay. The route is under a weight restriction and so an application has been made to DCC to lift this restriction which to our understanding will be accepted. Along with this, Devon County Council have agreed with AEE a date to carry out a Road Condition Survey from Shorter Cross to the site entrance. This route is now proposed and has been deemed acceptable by DCC.
Natural England and the RSPB have questioned whether biodiversity benefit can be delivered. Key concerns include the shading effect on semi-improved grassland, impact on birds and impact on bats. It is an important element of the proposed development that the applicant can demonstrate biodiversity gain or, at least, no harm. From our experience, it is unquestionable that the habitat is enhanced, however we have endeavoured to make further changes to make sure Natural England and RSPB are happy.
The fence line has been redrawn and peripheral panels have been removed in the design to accommodate a 10m corridor between the fence and hedgerows to allow bats room to safely forage for insects. Waste from sheep and cattle will remain on the site. An appropriate stocking density has been proposed to ensure this will provide the basis for sustenance for bats. The area to the south of the northern area will not be developed and instead will continue in its current management regime, which is occasional grazing. Ecology would also be enhanced through the planting of over 1000 trees / shrubs. Habitat will be provided for bats, dormice, hare and an increasing diversity of flora.
Natural England and the South Devon AONB have both questioned whether the photographs and montages are representative of the typical views that would be experienced from the AONB.
The original LVIA shows the key views and it is confirmed that Viewpoint 8 is representative of a typical view from that location towards the site.
The AONB Unit and Natural England have both indicated, however, that they have not and do not intend to make a site visit. In the circumstances, it seems appropriate that this addendum to the LVIA is submitted to provide a more exhaustive consideration of the likely impact on the AONB.
In terms of the comments sent to South Hams District Council we have read every single one to make sure we understand the view of the local community. We thank you for these views and they have been a contributing factor to the recent design changes to the plans.
Next stage is the planning committee meeting, which will be at:
on the 14th May at 14:00pm.