Selworthy Court

Looking South from the Selworthy proposed development site

The views from, and into, the South Devon AONB from the proposed development site are nationally protected. Major development is restricted, and the Council have a duty to protect this important local asset.

Selworthy Court lies within the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). Bowcombe Creek, a County Wildlife Site is 50 metres away. The site lies in very close proximity to the shoreline of Salcombe to Kingsbridge Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and within the South West Coast Strategic Nature Area.

The views from, and into, the South Devon AONB from the proposed development site are nationally protected. Major development is restricted, and the Council have a duty to protect this important landscape asset.

South Hams District Council have a legal duty to protect these sensitive areas and enhance the landscape, close to, and within the AONB. It is in a nationally prized landscape, which is the county’s major economic asset.

The application is for 18 houses with an additional 2 houses applied for on planning application 0207/18/FUL. A total of 20 houses are proposed. It would constitute a major development within the South Hams AONB. 

The applicants recognise that the site is within a highly protected landscape, where development is very highly restricted in the interest of The South Hams and the wider community. The proposed development would harm the setting of the AONB, and the uninterrupted panoramic views across the internationally valued and nationally protected landscape.

Click here for the letter of objection  to Selworthy Planning Application – In the protected AONB

Excellent news – Selworthy Appeal Decision.

Letters of Representation vigorously opposed the proposal to build 18 houses in the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty overlooking the Salcombe and Kingsbridge Estuary. South Hams District Councillors rejected the planning application in July last year, and the Planning Inspector has now rejected the developers Appeal against the Councils decision. 

The main planning issues in the case were:

• the effect of the development on the character and appearance of the surrounding area, with particular regard to the South Devon AONB; and 

• whether the development’s housing mix would be appropriate.

The ‘lessons’ for future include:

Not a major development, but!

While the Appellant and the SHDC considered that the development did not constitute major development with respect to paragraph 173 of the National Planning Policy Framework.  Some objectors disagreed. But the Inspector was satisfied that the appeal proposal, taking account of its nature, scale and setting, did not constitute major development in this instance. He notes: “However, this does not lead me to a different conclusion about its effect on the AONB or the character and appearance of the surrounding area and the Undeveloped Coast. ”  So even a ‘non major development’ can harm the countryside and AONB and other protected landscapes.

Harm to the South Devon AONB

The Inspector concluded that the proposal would “harm the character and appearance of the surrounding area, with particular regard to the South Devon AONB, and that the proposal failed to accord with Policies SPT1, SPT12, DEV23, DEV25 and TTV26 of the Districts Joint Local Plan.

Those plan policies require that development should: “respect scenic quality and the area’s distinctive sense of place and characteristics; and protect, conserve and enhance the site’s setting and natural beauty of the protected landscape, with particular reference to the special qualities and distinctive characteristics of the AONB and the unique landscape of the Undeveloped Coast. These policies are broadly consistent with the National Planning Policy Framework in so far as they relate to achieving well-designed places and conserving and enhancing the natural environment.

Even if housing supply is not demonstrated

The evidence presented indicated that the Council can demonstrate sufficient housing land supply following the recent adoption of the Joint Local Plan. However, “even if sufficient housing land supply could not be demonstrated, the harm to the AONB means that the application of Framework’s policies that protect areas or assets of particular importance, including AONBs, provides a clear reason for dismissing the appeal. “

Another excellent result for the South Devon AONB and the South Hams community, which provides some more important markers for future planning cases and supports the Friends of South Hams aims of protecting and enhancing the natural beauty of the Devonshire South Hams.  

Here is the Inspectors full  Selworthy Appeal Decision.  

The Letter of Representation was ‘mentioned’ in the Case Officers Report to the Council 

Here is the Letter of Representation 

FOSH © 2020

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