Minutes of Planning Meeting held 13th December 2018 (Draft)

FULKING PARISH COUNCIL 

MINUTES OF PLANNING MEETING – Market Gardens 

 

Minutes of the Fulking Parish Council Planning Meeting held in the Village Hall, Fulking on Thursday 13th December 2018 at 7pm. 

Present: Chairman Councillor Firth, Cllrs Hind, Healy and Dyos. Clerk, Trevor Parsons 

Apologies: Cllr Trist (FPC) and Cllr Wilkinson (MSDC) 

 

There were eight members of the public plus Councillor Trumble from MSDC present. They were given an opportunity to comment on the application ahead of the start of the meeting.  

 

Declaration of interest: None 

Meeting opened at 7pm. 

 

The following matter was discussed. SDNP/18/05963/FUL Market Gardens – Material change of use of land for stationing of caravans for residential occupation with facilitating development (hard standing) 

It was noted that SDNPA Development manager stated that he “will recommend that this application is placed before Committee…”. (email 3/12/19) 

The Council concluded the following:  

Background 

It was noted from feedback to councillors that the majority of residents of Fulking object to this application and that was reflected in the views expressed by members of the public attending the planning meeting.  

Errors in the application: 

  1. The council learned at this meeting that adjacent residents had not been informed of this application, as is the normal practice.  
  1. The document headed “Landscape Assessment” does not refer to this application.  

These errors may invalidate the application. 

Inspectors Assessment 

In the Planning Inspectorate’s Appeal Decision of 22February 2016 (Land to the East of Market Gardens – Conifers) – Section 16 – The Inspector said “if this appeal were allowed, there would be 3 gypsy plots. This clearly represents a consolidation of development in this area and is therefore harmful to the nucleated character of the village and by extension to the character and scenic beauty of this part of the National Park.”  

 

Since 2016 one additional gypsy plot has been agreed by SDNPA and approval of this application for 2 further plots would double the development of this site significantly harming the character and scenic beauty of the National Park. 

The Planning Inspector also said in Section 21 “Local residents were also very concerned about the precedent effect…..It was pointed out the village has a population of only about 100 people and if this appeal were to be allowed about 10% would be gypsies. I have considerable sympathy with the residents’ fears. From their point of view they opposed the Market Garden application and were ignored, they have opposed this appeal, and if this is allowed will feel they were ignored again….. In my view three gypsy plots comes close to but does not dominate the settled community, and that argument becomes stronger with further applications as would the issue of the impact of any more development on the village and on the National Park.” 

If this application is approved there will be six gypsy plots (12 caravans + Amenity Blocks) dominating the settled community of this small South Downs hamlet, totally ignoring yet again the legitimate views of the settled community and encouraging even more speculative caravan site development in this National Park. 

This would be a significant development in any area. However, located in a small hamlet so visible from one of the busiest spots in the South Downs National Park, Fulking Parish Council cannot see how approval of this application, which would consolidate the unplanned and nonstrategic development of a 12 caravan site (+ amenity Blocks) can possibly be SDNPA achieving the Purposes and Duty they are set by the Government.

These are: 

Purpose 1: To conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the area. 

Purpose 2: To promote opportunities for the understanding and enjoyment of the special qualities of the National Park by the public 

Duty: To seek to foster the social and economic wellbeing of the local communities within the National Park in pursuit of our purposes. 

Conflicts with Mid Sussex DC Plan 2004 (the only currently valid plan for the Fulking area) 

Policy H14 (a) Countryside impact – It is generally accepted this application is (and past applications are) damaging to the park, but this has often been overruled on ‘technical/legal’ grounds. 
Although planned to be screened, this site is widely visible – more so that the one to the north (pictures available) to thousands of visitors to the Devils Dyke, Fulking Escarpment and the South Downs Way – the site is 400m from the escarpment and 150m below it. The 2016 Planning Inspectors report stated – “As one walks along the escarpment the angle of view changes and the brightly painted mobile home at Market Garden can be clearly seen”. 

Policy H14 (e) Local Need – At the time of the last application SDNP/17/03762/CND, it was noted that for both Mid Sussex* and SDNPA** there was now no outstanding local need for sites. In addition, it is understood that space is available for rent in the site at Small Dole.  
* Mid Sussex Gypsy and Traveller Assessment 2016 
** South Downs National Park Gypsy, Traveller and Travelling Showpeople background Paper (2016) 

Conflicts with South Downs local Plan: Pre-submission version September 2017 

Policy SD33 Alternative available pitch which could be used in the locality – we understand that local pitches are available in Small Dole (see above) 

Policy SD33 Over-concentrated or disproportionate in size to nearby communities – The inspectors report (see above) explained that this application would be disproportionate in size to the local community. 

Policy SD33 Capable of being provided with infrastructure – the council with WSCC has spent and continues to spend tens of thousands of pounds to improve drainage in this area after recent flooding threatened adjacent properties which is at least partly due to the reduced run-off and increased hardstanding from these sites. This will only get worse with a new site. 

 

 

The resulting vote on this application was to UNANIMOUSLY OBJECT 

The meeting closed at 8:05pm 

 

 

Signed ……………………………………………………………….        

 

CHAIRMAN ………..Miles Firth……………………