Dear Letters Editor,
I am very pleased that the MDA published letters under a separate planning headline; my own was included. I intend to send this to each of the TDC councillors.
They appear to be hell bent on getting 'developers' with wrecking ball and swing shovel busy in our already much damaged town. I have listed part of its record. A 40 acre solar 'farm' in the Haldon Hills courtesy of Mr Alan Connett 'Leader of the Council/Executive Portfolio Holder for Strategic Direction', erasure of the bus station and erection of a brick elephant, Sherborne House, and the lump of Asda opposite the whimsical architecture of the Passmore Library. The latter epitomises the absence of taste and wisdom in the TDC. And add the Wolborough acres.
How much does each councillor care - for our towns and villagers, for the country around or for the views of the voters/council tax payers?
This is a case in point. 21/01721/AGR - Land at Combeinteignhead - 21/00381/ENF An application for an agricultural building was made by the new owner of Cow Field in Combe-in-Teignhead. This field rises steeply to 250ft. One can almost spit on the village from its peak. The plan is to grow saffron (ie from crocuses), flowers and potatoes. But it is not arable land and gets the full force of south-westerly gales. A building at the top is to be 22ft long I understand. Mr Joubert of the TCD 'planning' department approved this application and 'low impact' was part of his assessment! Poly tunnels would be needed to grow any flowers.
About 600 hundred yards to the south, a large agricultural barn was approved in 2011 and yet there were only 40 acres with it, and horses ie not an agricultural use, were part time occupants with sheep. In 2016, the head of TDC planning, Mr Nick Davies, gave permission for conversion to a dwelling. This structure is close to the hill top and has views in almost all directions. I felt strongly about the desecration and the principle and involved a lawyer at my cost, but to no avail.. Having planted 28 acres of woodland to enhance habitats and landscape, I feel strongly about vandalism.
The map with the Cow Field application had a field included to its east to help make up 5 hectares, this being the ridiculous minimum requirement for an 'agricultural' enterprise even though small farms are struggling to survive. This included a field which belongs instead to the head of a long established farming family, and he has stated this clearly.
What is the reaction of the Chairman of the TDC, Mr Mike Haines, to this mendacity? He has said that with some other land elsewhere - owned, or perhaps even rented, the application can stand approved! Perhaps that principle, if it exists in the planning labyrinth, would allow for a building on the other holding as well?
It is obvious on several grounds that a new application must be submitted.
Currently there are 3 white caravans on the hilltop (photo attached) and many tons of soil by the entry gate, along with rubbish which includes a plastic shower tray. The caravans can be seen from the lovely hills around Combe and from across the estuary.
The long suffering public will see how much TD Councillors care on the 22nd of this month when funding of the town centre development is discussed. Perhaps, if it wants to be a civilising influence and to be consistent with its outpourings on a climate emergency, it might think about that coach and bus station at Brunel's station I proposed.
David Halpin FRCS