Ward Member Comments - Land West of Shire Lane, Uplyme - Application 15/0851/MOUT Featured

Shire Lane from the West Shire Lane from the West

The major outline application from Hallam Land Management, for the construction of up to 120 residential dwellings, or up to 100 residential dwellings plus land for a care home/extra care housing, is currently under consideration.

This application has attracted a high level of interest, not just within Uplyme but also Lyme Regis. The formal consultation period for the application is due to be completed on 23rd June, with a determination deadline set for the 5th August. As elected Ward Member I am invited to submit a comment as a consultee. I have published this below for ease of reference. It is also now available, along with those of other consultees and members of the public, in the planning section of the East Devon website (http://eastdevon.gov.uk/planning/) under reference 15/0851/MOUT. 

Ward Members Initial Observations

Planning Application No: 15/0851/MOUT Land west of Shire Lane, Uplyme

1. Background

1.1. Whilst this application is within Uplyme, East Devon, it is in close proximity to neighbouring Lyme Regis in West Dorset.

1.2. The National Planning Policy Framework identifies a requirement for co-operation between neighbouring planning authorities in the development of Local Plans which shape areas around shared borders.

1.3. In preparing comment, I have attended public events organised by Uplyme Parish Council, Hallam Land, and Lyme Regis Town Council Planning Committee.

1.4. The application is in the easternmost field of three referred to as E324 in the East Devon SHLAA, and on which consultation was held by the applicant in Lyme Regis in April 2014, to which Uplyme Parish Council received no invitation.

1.5. Contrary to East Devon District Council wishes, the applicant has not demonstrated public pre-application engagement with the Uplyme community, prior to application submission, seeking only to meet, initially in private, with Lyme Regis Town Council.

1.6. In contrast, Local ward members are in regular cross border communication, with reciprocal invitation typical between Lyme Regis Town Council and Uplyme Parish Council in matters of common interest, such as this application.

1.7. Uplyme Parish Council provided further public engagement opportunity at the Village Fete on 13th June 2015, prior to a public meeting of its Planning Committee on Wednesday 17th June, when Councillors unanimously opposed this application.

1.8. I have sought to understand and recognise views and needs of residents of both Uplyme and Lyme Regis and, whilst EDDC will be the determining authority, to consider relevant East Devon and West Dorset policies and strategies in drafting my comments

1.9. There are two policies in the emerging West Dorset Local Plan specific to Lyme Regis, as modified in the latest amendments in February 2015, and recognised in the emerging East Devon Local Plan.

1.9.1. LYME 1 “The coastal town of Lyme Regis, in West Dorset, lies close to Uplyme in East Devon. The East Devon and Dorset AONB’s abut one another sweeping over both settlements and the surrounding countryside, and there are also constraints of land instability and highway access that limit development potential in and at both Uplyme and Lyme Regis. Whilst not quantified through a formal local housing and employment needs assessment, there is a local expression of need for housing and employment in Lyme Regis, though at Uplyme, as set out in the emerging East Devon Local Plan, local aspirations for development are modest”

1.9.2. LYME 2 “The district council will work with East Devon District Council, Lyme Regis Town Council and Uplyme Parish Council to undertake joint evidence gathering, including on constraints, and if necessary bring forward proposals of an appropriate scale to support the potential long-term growth of Lyme Regis and Uplyme”

1.9.3. These Policies have already been reflected in practical action. Officers of West Dorset District Council and East Devon District Council, supported by representatives of both AONB’s, assessed potential housing sites to deliver future Lyme Regis and Uplyme housing need in July 2014. Assessments were on a common agreed basis, considering potential impact of housing on the landscape and general suitability in terms of location, land stability, highway access and other relevant factors. Site E324 was considered inappropriate for housing and not suitable for development.

1.10. The site has been extensively promoted by the developer and agent in both the East Devon and West Dorset Local Plan processes, consultation and inspection, but has found no favour, either as a strategic or reserve site.

2. Summary Recommendation;

2.1. Refuse application.

2.1.1. The NPPF states “Planning law requires that applications for planning permission must be determined in accordance with the development plan, (include Local and Neighbourhood Plans) unless material considerations indicate otherwise. The National Planning Policy Framework must be taken into account in the preparation of local and neighbourhood plans, and is a material consideration in planning decisions.”

2.1.2. The site is structurally ‘unsustainable’ in all three aspects, Environment, Economic and Social and as such fundamentally at odds with Government Planning Guidance (NPPF Para 7, and several Core Planning Principles within Para 17).

2.1.3. The proposal is contrary to major elements of NPPF guidance, incl; Promoting sustainable transport (para 14, 29, 32, 34, 35, 37, 38, & 40), Conserving and enhancing the natural environment (inc para 109, 110, 114, 115, 116, 117 et al)

2.1.4. The emerging East Devon & West Dorset Local Plans and, to a lesser extent due to its stage of development Uplyme Neighbourhood Plan, add local policies and strategies and should be accorded significant weight, even in the absence of formal adoption as they are in accord with the NPPF.

2.1.5. The proposal is contrary to the adopted East Devon Local Plan 2006 policies S5 (countryside protection) EN1 (development affecting AONB’s), TA1 (accessibility of new development) and D1 (design and local distinctiveness), together with their successors including Section 6 Spatial Strategies in the Draft East Devon Local Plan to which increasing weight should now be given, as they are broadly consistent with the NPPF. 

2.1.6. The proposal is also contrary to West Dorset Local Plan 2006 Policies, primarily SS1 (Development within the Towns & Rural Areas), SS3 (Development outside Defined Development Boundaries) & DA3 (Scale & Form of settlements and pattern of streets and spaces)

2.1.7. The proposal is contrary to emerging West Dorset Local Plan ENV1 (Landscape, Seascape & sites of geological interest), ENV10 (The landscape and Town Setting) and COM 7 (Creating a safe and efficient transport network)

2.1.8. The proposal is contrary in many key aspects with the previous 2006 Uplyme Village Plan, which was adopted by EDDC as a material planning consideration.

2.1.9. There is no compelling evidenced housing need which cannot be largely met on more appropriate sites, a significant proportion of which already has planning consent in place.

2.1.10. The ‘park and ride’ site currently operates under a temporary seasonal consent, to expire at the end of summer 2016.

2.1.11. Both Devon and Dorset County Highways departments recommend that the application be refused.

2.1.12. Flood risk and archaeological concerns have been identified by statutory consultees.

2.1.13. The proposal has attracted wide public opposition, generally articulated based on material planning issues. By 18th June 2015, EDDC had published 121 comments, 118 of which were identified as ‘objections’, with none in support. Under ‘Localism’ principles, this comprehensive public opposition, in virtually all cases articulated through material planning considerations, should carry significant weight.

3. Main Planning Considerations;

3.1. Major residential development in the AONB

3.2. Visual impact on the AONB landscape

3.3. Development outside the built area boundary

3.4. Sustainability of the location

3.5. Access to services in Lyme Regis and Uplyme

3.6. Highways safety

3.7. Housing need

3.8. Park & Ride facility

3.9. Care Home

3.10. Additional Notes

4. Major development in an AONB

4.1. The proposal is for between 100 and 120 houses with a possible care home. As such it would be considered a Major application with Para 116 of the NPPF is pertinent and the location would not be considered as an ‘exception site’.

4.2. Paragraphs 114 to 116 of the NPPF.

4.2.1. The NPPF in para 114 states that Local Planning Authorities should;

“ ….. maintain the character of the undeveloped coast, protecting and enhancing its distinctive landscapes, particularly in areas defined as Heritage Coast….”

4.2.2. Para 115 that;

“Great weight should be given to conserving landscape and scenic beauty in ….. and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which have the highest status of protection in relation to landscape and scenic beauty…”

4.2.3. Para 116 further that;

“Planning permission should be refused for major developments in these designated areas except in exceptional circumstances and where it can be demonstrated they are in the public interest….”

4.3. The application is located to the north of the A3052 in Uplyme. The eastern boundary at Shire Lane follows the Devon:Dorset and Uplyme:Lyme Regis boundary.

4.3.1. The site is totally within the nationally designated and important East Devon AONB. It borders the Coastal Preservation Area further designated by EDDC, and is just 350 metres away from the globally important Jurassic Coast World Heritage site to the south.

4.4. The proposal is outside the built boundary of Lyme Regis and Uplyme and as such contrary to policies in the East Devon Local Plan (and the West Dorset equivalent)

5. Visual Impact on the AONB Landscape

5.1. The significant landscape characteristic of the East Devon AONB and Jurassic coast WHS is of large open plateaux with isolated farm houses, cut by river valleys running toward the coast. Settlements are typically enclosed within the shelter provided by river valleys and estuaries.

5.2. The site forms the skyline on the Devon:Dorset border and the eastern edge of the Open Coastal Plateau landscape character type. The two further fields to the west which, along with the application field, formed the land parcel identified in the East Devon SHLAA as E324 and consulted by Hallam Land in 2014, slope gently upwards to a ridge running approximately north-south just to the west of Shire Lane. This makes the site ‘highly prominent’ when approaching Lyme Regis from the west and visible from many key points in the East Devon AONB for several miles.

5.3. Lyme Regis is visually constrained within the valley to the east of the site, with no properties to the west of Shire Lane. This ensures there is no sense of the town when approaching from the west.

5.4. The proposal will have a serious detrimental impact on the landscape and scenic beauty of the eastern end of the AONB and the important western gateway to Lyme Regis. 

5.4.1. Its urban form is fundamentally out of character with both the AONB to the west and the character of housing approaching the site from within the Lyme Regis built boundary to the east.

5.5. A Visual Impact assessment should take into account seasonal variation, characteristic of broadleaf woodland and hedging indigenous to the area. 

5.5.1. The application is considered to have high impact even at the time of consideration in June, when the maximum screening is secured by trees and hedges. 

5.5.2. Site development could be expected to have even higher impact between October and March, when trees and hedges lack leaves. 

5.6. The proposed scheme is not in the national interest, nor does it conserve or enhance the natural beauty of the AONB. It is also detrimental to the approach to Lyme Regis. The scheme cannot demonstrate ‘exceptional circumstances’ or ‘public interest’ and as such is contrary to para 116 of the NPPF, policy EN1 of the adopted East Devon Local Plan, Strategy 46 of the emerging East Devon Local Plan, (and Policies ENV1 and ENV10 of the emerging West Dorset., Weymouth and Portland Local Plan).

5.7. The impact of the proposal, recognition of the tourist economy fundamental to Lyme Regis, itself based on the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site, might be considered as detrimental to the attractiveness of Lyme Regis to tourists.

6. Development outside the built area boundary

6.1. The proposal represent development outside the Built-Up Area Boundary of both Uplyme and Lyme Regis and is therefore contrary to Strategies 6&7 of the emerging East Devon Local Plan (and policy SS3 of the adopted West Dorset Local Plan).

7. Sustainability of the location

7.1. The NPPF (National Planning Policy Framework), defines the fundamental Government view of ‘Sustainable Development’ and recognises three dimensions; Environmental, Economic and Social.

7.2. Environmental

7.2.1. Previous sections on ‘Major development in the AONB’ and ‘Visual Impact on the AONB landscape’ confirm the location as not sustainable from an environmental perspective.

7.3. Economic

7.3.1. An economic benefit would normally be expected to accrue to an area during a construction phase. Due to the unsustainable disconnected location of this particular proposal, any economic benefit for Lyme Regis and Uplyme would be compromised, due to the inability of site workers to access facilities, other than by additional private car/van journey.

7.3.2. A further economic benefit would be envisaged post construction from new residents, but again it is reasonable to expect this to fall well short of what might normally be expected, due to the need to journey by private car.

7.3.3. In 2011 20% of the total Lyme Regis housing stock was identified as ‘second homes’, which remain empty for much of the year and contribute little to housing stock or the local economy outside the main season. 

7.3.4. Four miles to the west, The Rousdon Estate has 104 houses. Currently only 45 are owner occupied with 11 long term rentals. This leaves 46% holiday lets and second homes. 

7.3.5. This is probably the best evidence for the likely profile of free market development on the application site, and would leave approximately 28 (120/2*0.46) of the stock unoccupied for much of the year and reduce post construction economic benefits accordingly.

7.3.6. Lyme Regis traffic and parking problems are ‘legend’, particularly at weekends and in the summer months. This reflects the physical constraints of an ancient town with a local economy dominated by the seasonal tourist trade that charm attracts.

7.3.7. Any future resident of this locality, would logically choose the more extensive retail offerings, other facilities, coupled with ease of access and parking in Seaton and Axminster, just 6 miles to the west, and 5 miles to the north respectively.

7.3.8. Effectively this application does not represent the ‘right land’ in the ‘right place’ or at the ‘right time’.

7.4. Social; supporting strong, vibrant and healthy communities, by providing the supply of housing required to meet the needs of present and future generations; and by creating a high quality built environment, with accessible local services that reflect the community’s needs and support its health, social and cultural well-being.

7.4.1. The proposal represents a high density of housing with no employment (excl. possible Care Home) or social facilities or supporting infrastructure. 

7.4.2. Para 32 of the NPPF states that, decisions should take account of whether safe and suitable access to the site can be achieved for all people. 

7.4.3. East Devon Local Plan policy TA1 (Accessibility of New Development) requires development to be located so as to be accessible by pedestrians, cyclist and public transport and minimise the need to travel by private car.

7.4.4. I have been unable to confirm the factual accuracy of several elements of the Design and Access statement Section 4.2 reports that Lyme Regis town centre is within 17 minutes’ walk and 1.35KLM of the site, with Uplyme approximately 800m distant – My analysis, supported by Google Earth suggests; From the centre of Lyme Regis to the centre of the site, via the A3052 Sidmouth Road, is 1.9Klm (1.2 miles). Over this length altitude rises approx. 155metres, or over 508ft. From the centre of the site to Uplyme Village Hall, via Ware Cross and Gore Lane is 2.3Klm (1.4 miles). Over this route, altitude falls just over 100metres (330 feet) over a steep, single track lane with several blind corners, lacking a footpath over virtually all of its length. Mrs Ethelstons Primary school is approximately 100metres beyond Uplyme Village Hall. For primary age children unable to travel by car, a walk for parents or guardians of almost 10klms each day is implied (two return trips of 4.8klms) and a totally unrealistic 4.8klms for young children. Such walks may be relatively safely possible in good weather for the bravest athlete, but absolutely impossible for the infirm, elderly or families with shopping or young children in inclement weather or the poor visibility to which the exposed windswept plateau between Rousdon and Lyme Regis is recognised to be particularly prone. The application asserts “Lyme Regis is easily accessed by public transport” The site is only served by a single bus service (X53) which runs between Exeter and Weymouth, but with a reduced maximum 2hrly service between Seaton and Lyme Regis. Access is by an ‘on demand’ unmarked bus stop at Ware Cross.

7.4.5. Despite adjoining the Lyme Regis built boundary, the site is open, remote and entirely disconnected from the services and facilities of the town, and Uplyme, due to the steep decent necessary and poor public transport services to either.

7.4.6. Private car ownership and extensive use would therefore be effectively essential to live in this location. This conflicts with government guidance expressed in para 34, 35, 37 & 38 of the NPPF, associated policy TA1 in the East Devon Local Plan and (COM 7 in the emerging West Dorset Local Plan)

7.5. The application site is therefore fundamentally unsuitable and structurally unsustainable for residential development, in all three aspects.

8. Highway Safety

8.1. Both Devon County Council and Dorset County Council have recommended refusal of the application in their response to the application as statutory consultees.

8.1.1. Dorset CC initially indicated their primary concern to be the lack of a continuous footway from the site along the A3052 to link with the existing footway on that road some distance towards the Town Centre. (note; 510 yards, in two sections, of the current route is without footpath of any description)

8.1.2. The application now, presumably following that suggestion, includes a scheme for the provision of such a footway. but this fails to adequately demonstrate or indicate that this could be provided to a standard that would be either, buildable (immediately upon available highway land) or be acceptable in terms of footway width, private access points or inter-visibility between vehicles on prioritised working sections, and therefore fails to be a facility that could be included in any legal agreement or form any condition for planning approval.

8.1.3. Dorset CC has expressed the view that the solution proposed by the applicant is not deliverable. This view is shared by Devon CC.

8.1.4. Dorset County Council has recommended refusal on the grounds that; “The proposals fail to provide an acceptable, appropriate or safe new footway and traffic management solution and scheme to the serve the likely generation of further pedestrian movements, to and from the proposed development site, along the A3052 and would be detrimental to the safety of all highways users.”

8.1.5. Devon County Council has further recommended refusal on the grounds that; “The location of the proposed development is likely to create the need for additional travel by private vehicles due to its location and the lack of suitable access to alternative means of travel contrary to paragraph 14, 29, 32 and 34 of the National Planning Policy Framework” “The proposed development is likely to generate an increase in pedestrian traffic on a highway lacking adequate footways with consequent additional danger to all users of the road contrary to paragraph 32 of the National Planning Policy Framework” “Adequate information has not been submitted to satisfy the Local Planning Authority that the proposal is acceptable in terms of access contrary to paragraph 32 of the National Planning Policy Framework”

8.1.6. Dorset CC were involved in pre-planning discussions with the Applicant's Highway Consultant and from an early stage questioned the sustainability of this location, the connectivity of the site to Lyme Regis Town Centre and other local facilities.

8.1.7. The ability to establish a footpath from the site to the town centre of Lyme Regis is largely academic. Even should such a path be established, a walk of 1.9klms from the centre of Lyme Regis to the centre of the site, over which the land rises over 500 feet, confirms the structural unsustainability of the location. (Source : Google Earth)

9. Housing Needs

9.1. The economy of Lyme Regis is weak, fundamentally based on the highly seasonal tourist and care provision characterised by low remuneration levels. 

9.2. West Dorset and East Devon in their Local Plans have agreed - “Lyme Regis and Uplyme are considered to be suitable only for limited local growth, rather than strategic or significant growth.”

9.3. A housing needs survey for Lyme Regis, presented to WDDC Development Control committee on 16th April 2015, as part of the Officer report to application WD/D/14/003254, indicated that the West Dorset Home Choice Register identified 36 households with a connection to the Parish, after a revision to their housing allocation policy. It was acknowledged that this may increase over the next year. It is however unclear whether applicants considered as ‘adequately housed’ are excluded, as they would be in East Devon needs assessment.

9.4. A housing needs survey as part of the preparation of the Uplyme Neighbourhood Plan in October 2014 identified a current need for four ‘affordable’ rented homes with a further three in the next five years.

9.5. The total identified joint current need is therefore evidenced at 40 (36 plus 4). 

9.6. Existing consents are already set to deliver a significant part of that need;

9.6.1. 1/D/13/000998 Woodberry Down, Bloor Homes, 46 homes, including 30 Market Value Houses and 16 ‘affordable’.

9.6.2. This site was identified for development in the 2006 West Dorset Local Plan.

9.6.3. WD/D/14/003254, Yarlington Housing Group, 15 ‘affordable’ homes.

9.6.4. An application has recently been validated for 10 dwellings (8 affordable) on an exception site near the centre of Uplyme

9.7. Plans have recently been revealed for further development in Lyme Regis with the potential to deliver affordable homes.

9.7.1. Bloor Homes Woodberry Down Phase II adjacent to 1/D/13/000998. 52 new homes, no specific ‘affordable’ content in initial reports, but at 35% per West Dorset Local Plan should be capable of delivering 18 ‘affordable’ homes.

9.7.2. WD/D/15/000685 Bloor Homes 6 Homes, no ‘affordable provision’, decision pending.

9.7.3. In the sites already either under construction or with recent consent 31 of the evidenced joint need would be delivered, either of the other two proposals would comfortably take up the further suggested need.

9.8. There is therefore no clearly evidenced significant or ‘exception’ residual need which would indicate the need for a major development, such as that proposed.

9.9. Where access to the proposed site is recognised to require a large increase in private car journeys, then it is reasonable to consider alternate provision of any Lyme Regis need in other less environmentally sensitive areas, better served by infrastructure provision, employment and social opportunities.

9.9.1. In the event that East Devon is asked to directly support housing demand for Lyme Regis, it would be much more sustainably delivered in Axminster, where planned growth, identified in the East Devon Local Plan, is likely to enhance sustainable travel, and deliver superior year round employment opportunities, through appropriate infrastructure, in an area less restricted by environmental constraints.

9.9.2. I am also concerned that housing provision in such a structurally disconnected location, particularly for those identified as in need of support through ‘affordable’ provision, without access to private car transport, would risk effective isolation of those more vulnerable. It would also be contrary to NPPF para 32, in that safe and suitable access to the site cannot be achieved for all people.

9.10. See also para 11.4

10. Park & Ride Facility

10.1. Currently operated under a temporary permission only, to support the economy of Lyme Regis during summer 2015 & 2016 under application ref 14/2981/COU

10.2. The initial temporary change of use was approved under application ref 04/P2257, to provide additional parking to serve Lyme Regis during a period of significant coastal works primarily to the East of the town. This had resulted in a major loss of parking facilities in Holmbush and Charmouth Road car parks. That justification does not now apply, as coastal defence works have been completed. Therefore the presumption would be that, in the absence of strong evidence, continued use of the site should not be assumed. 

10.3. The decision notice for the most recent application confirmed;

“… applicant is advised that this further grant of a temporary consent recognises the need for a comprehensive and evidenced based strategy for car parking serving Lyme Regis. Due to landscape harm, further temporary consents are unlikely to be supported and the applicants should, therefore, use this opportunity to develop an appropriate strategy.”

10.4. In any event, a park and ride site need has only ever been suggested for use Easter and summer school holidays, plus weekends between Easter and the end of September. Currently the facility signage is removed outside this period, recognising the adverse impact on the East Devon AONB.

10.5. The application suggests an enhancement of the facility to include toilets and tourist information. Establishment of any permanent facility in a location, for which even a seasonal need remains to be adequately demonstrated, would add further unnecessary adverse landscape impact between October and April when the broadleaved vegetation is bare.

10.5.1. West Dorset is currently considering closure of the main Lyme Regis Tourist Centre.

11. Care Home Provision

11.1. The scheme suggests a possible 60 bed care home facility.

11.2. An aging population is an issue faced by many coastal towns. It concerns me that the nearest significant hospitals to meet the medical needs of Lyme Regis and Uplyme residents are in Exeter, Taunton and Dorchester, approximately 30 miles away in any direction. It has been reported this week that Dorchester Hospital is considering withdrawal of its stroke and heart attack cover outside normal hours. This would mean a journey to Bournemouth which, because of the extra distance to be travelled and time would be expected to reduce the chances of recovery.

11.3. I question the prudence of significant Care Home provision, beyond that required to satisfy local needs. Should this be developed in any location so remote from medical facilities and the related wider infrastructure we are increasingly likely to require, as we age?

11.4. Para 8.48 in the applicant’s Planning Statement suggests;

“Affordable housing would be provided in response to policy H4, potentially through the care home within the scheme, otherwise, as housing on site…”

This statement requires clarification, in that it would appear to imply that Care Home provision would offer an alternative to ‘affordable’ housing provision?

I assume that this is a reference to Section 6.12 of the latest draft of the East Devon Local Plan, Page 35, which in heading 7 states;

“Care/extra care bed spaces are counted as dwelling equivalents in the above assessment. Every 2 care bed spaces created is assumed to free up an existing dwelling….”

I would appreciate clarification of this aspect of the application as, it may at face value be taken to suggest that provision of 60 ‘affordable’ care home spaces could equate to 30 ‘affordable’ dwellings?

12. Additional Notes

12.1. Flood risk & drainage

12.1.1. Consultee, DCC Flood Risk has raised concerns which should be addressed to ensure that not only does run-off from the site cause additional flood risk to the north, but also that it does not contribute to an increase in the rate of land slippage in the intrinsically unstable Undercliff area of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site to the south.

12.1.2. Uplyme Village has experienced severe flooding recently with several instances of damage to property in two locations centred around Cooksmead and Venlake

12.1.3. Gore Lane has been flooded so as to become unpassable to vehicles for short times and for several days at a time to pedestrians.

12.1.4. Ware Lane has experienced a flash flood during which significant amounts of water from Ware Cross and the A3052 followed the road line.

12.1.5. The Crow’s Nest, (400 metres south of the application site) was lost in significant land movement coincidental with high slip activity in Ware Cliffs above Monmouth Beach Lyme Regis. 

12.1.6. The area around Monmouth Beach in Lyme Regis has seen increased levels of cliff fall, and landslip in the Undercliff with the loss of beach huts and further risk of damage to property and life.

12.1.7. Para 103 of the NPPF requires that, when determining planning applications, local planning authorities should ensure that flood risk is not increased elsewhere.

12.1.8. Para 105 & 106 may also be relevant in the context of ‘inappropriate development’ in a vulnerable area

12.2. Archaeology

12.2.1. Consultee, Devon County Archaeologist has identified the potential for the site to contain archaeological evidence of earlier land use and, in the absence of sufficient information objects to the applicant, recommends refusal under East Devon Plan Policy EN8 and NPPF para 128.

13. Conclusions to Ward Members Initial View.

Recommend Refusal

I have considered the ‘weighty’ case presented by the applicant in the context of guidance from;


2. Adopted and Emerging Local Plans for East Devon & West Dorset

3. Uplyme Village Plan and emerging Neighbourhood Plan.

Together with other relevant evidence.

The proposed urbanisation of this prominent skyline site in the East Devon AONB is contrary to numerous policies and strategies at all plan levels, as detailed in this report.

The result is a fundamentally unsuitable proposal for a structurally unsustainable location. Whilst the site is adjacent to the county boundary, and Lyme Regis BUAB, it is effectively detached from communities in both Uplyme and Lyme Regis, their supporting infrastructure and that beyond.

Whilst the site has been extensively and enthusiastically promoted by the developer and agent in both the East Devon and West Dorset Local Plan processes, consultation and inspection, it has found no favour, either as a strategic or reserve site.

At the time of finalisation of this report, public and consultee comments have produced a virtually total lack of support, with concern for the impact on Uplyme and Lyme Regis, together with possible future residents of the location, should the proposed development proceed.

There are numerous material planning reasons to justify refusal which I am confident could be sustained at appeal.

In the event EDDC Officers do not concur with my assessment, I ask that the application be called to Development Management for determination.

Should further information come to light I will of course revisit my views in any future report and maintain an open mind in that respect

Note : I draw attention to my declaration of interests, published on the East Devon website. I am submitting views as Ward Member, under the guidance of the EDDC Monitoring Officer.

Ian M. Thomas
Ward Member – Trinity 
18th June 2015

14. Main References

14.1. National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF, 2012)

14.2. East Devon Adopted Plan 2006

14.3. East Devon Emerging Local Plan 2015 and supporting documents

14.4. West Dorset Adopted Plan 2006

14.5. West Dorset Emerging Local Plan 2015 and supporting documents

14.6. Application file to 15/0851/MOUT

14.7. Planning Support Statement – Document No 1853556

14.8. Report of Joint Assessment of potential housing sites in Uplyme and Lyme Regis, July 2014

14.9. Officer’s Report to West Dorset Application WD/D/14/003254 16th April 2015

14.10. Uplyme Neighbourhood Plan, Housing needs survey, November 2014

14.11. X53 Bus Timetable

14.12. Google Earth



  • Ian M.Thomas
    Ian M.Thomas Friday, 19 June 2015 17:08 Comment Link

    Thanks for your supportive comment. It is much appreciated. I am similarly sure it will be appreciated by those we both represent as a real step forward.

  • Daryl Turner
    Daryl Turner Friday, 19 June 2015 15:19 Comment Link

    Cllr. Daryl Turner Dorset County Member for the Marshwood Vale & Ward Member for Lyme Regis & Charmouth. 19th June 2015

    In respect to the Planning Application 15/0851/MOUT for land West of Shire Lane, Uplyme

    Having read Cllr Ian Thomas’s comprehensive & well written report on the above mentioned matter I would make the following comments:
    1. As The County & District Councillor for Lyme I do not have any part in the Decision making process at EDDC but as this development would impact on Lyme & it’s infrastructure I feel it important to lay down my personal views as an Individual.
    2. I have always felt some level of “expansion” of Lyme Regis would reach into this area, but the numbers would be significantly fewer than those proposed.
    3. WDDC Housing register does not include those deemed “adequately housed” within the Private sector. These additions may alter the Housing needs figures quoted.
    4. I will maintain an open mind now & in the future.
    5. Although I have some minor issues with the points made, these do not alter the thrust of the document and its conclusion. I find Cllrs Thomas findings sound in relation to the NPPF & it’s guidance & endorse his recommendation.

  • Jo
    Jo Friday, 19 June 2015 13:19 Comment Link

    Thankyou for all your hard work
    In putting this together.

  • Toni West
    Toni West Thursday, 18 June 2015 19:16 Comment Link

    This a a comprehensive, concise and excellently researched document that reflects local opinion, and comprehensively deals with the numerous flaws in the developer's application, and reassuringly addresses the available evidence to overcome an appeal. Thank you Ian for your time and effort.

  • Geoff  Angie Baugh
    Geoff Angie Baugh Thursday, 18 June 2015 18:48 Comment Link

    An excellent and comprehensive report, Ian. Well done, and we hope the Planners/DMC take note.

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