Councillor Gloria Cawood, who represents Cranmore, Doulting and Nunney on Mendip District Council, has written a report on her activities.
New Bath and West Turbine Application: The first application went to Planning Board on October 2nd. and was rejected unanimously by it despite the Officer recommendation for approval. A new application was put in almost immediately with the following main changes:
- A double line of trees west of Prestleigh to protect the view from the pub and housing.
- A car park for the village/Nursery behind Broadclose, the latter being offered to the Nursery as a better and safer location. Access will be from the Purple Entrance.
The new application will be fast tracked to the December 11th. Planning Board. The applicants are keen to move forward before the current tariffs are cut in January 2014. The Community Benefit offer to Doulting and Evercreech Parish Councils remains the same – £40K, with £20K to be paid up front for Parishes to decide and £20k through the life of the project.
At my meeting on November 12th with Brian Woodman from PEP, Jane Guise from B&W and Creech District Councillor Peter Bradshaw, it was noted that the Government’s feed tariff would reduce by up to 20% next year and mean a less generous Community Benefit. The applicant would go to appeal should this be refused. Given that the previous application was recommended for Approval and that the offer looks to mitigate the visual impact, which was a major plank of our Objection, the applicant is likely to have a strong case. Peter Bradshaw said that he would be voting in favour this time and that he would try to convince Evercreech PC to support it. I have no vote, but am determined to listen to what Doulting Parish Council and local people say first. Doulting PC is to be held on November 14th.
Manor Farm, Prestleigh Wind Turbine has been withdrawn following objections from the MOD.
Little Sharpshaw Solar Farm– is to go to Planning Board at Wells Town Hall on November 20th. and the Recommendation is to Refuse. The Officer has made a very strong case which I believe would be held at Appeal. Nunney, Trudoxhill and Selwood Parishes have all Objected, but Frome Town Council is in favour, although it affects very little of the town. As the Planning Board date was moved and I am elsewhere committed, I will send a written representation. Nunney PC area is most affected by the proposal and has asked to send a representative. At the time of publication of the Planning Board Agenda, no-one had asked for it to be raised.
Torr Works Wind Farm – is now anticipated to go to Planning Board in January 2014.
Bath and West Business Growth and Planning Meeting November 11th – Mendip has developed a strategy for business growth and planning, which they have recently agreed. As part of this, Mendip has identified the Bath and West site as their first Enterprise Zone, drawing down funding from National Government to allow rate relief for businesses developing on the site.
The reasons Mendip has given for choosing the Bath and West is that there is already an ‘oven-ready’ plan from a developer for this site. The idea would be to encourage new businesses on to the site and increase the number of jobs in the area (the master plan suggested around 600 extra jobs, but this was inflated to up to 1,000 at the meeting.) It was argued that the Parishes (mainly Doulting and Evercreech) had already accepted the principle of this development through the master plan. As I recall, the type of development in that plan was restricted with a stress on rurally sustainable industry.
One of the points Paula Fidge, Chairman of Doulting PC and I have stressed is that the first plan enabled some control over the type of industry/business on this Greenfield site through Planning. We have been concerned that a Local Development Order (LDO) would allow decisions to be made without going through the planning process.
The LDO will cover B1, B2 and B business uses only, so applications for hotels, housing etc. would have to come through the normal planning process. (I have attached business use classes and LDO outline.) The idea would be to market the whole master plan site as an LDO, and agree criteria etc. for adoption at Full Council in May 2014. An LDO provides a big enough site fir a variety of businesses and avoids a 6-9 month delay on planning applications.
One positive point is that at last there was agreement to my request that Paula could be a member of the Bath and West Planning Group. We have been promised Parish and Local Member involvement. This is one Doulting needs to keep a careful eye on and Paula and I will be there to ensure local people’s views are heard.
Local Choices/Rural Forum – I attended this and it was OK, but there was little new. They were looking at various ways Parishes/local communities could help to deliver social care, youth provision, transport schemes, fill the gap where County/District no longer provided services etc. Both authorities are cashed-strapped and looking to cut services/ increase income for them. There were some good examples of voluntary services and groups doing a splendid job, for example the West Somerset Car Scheme.
Minerals Forums – I attended Wainwrights and Aggregate Industries Liaison Meetings where we managed to generate interest and some potential help with the Nunney Old Quarry and Doulting Glebelands Projects. Up-dates were given on the Torr Works Wind Farm, where archaeological investigations have revealed some interesting Mediaeval findings. Both quarries were experiencing an up-turn in business and starting to slowly increase employment.
Councillor Gloria Cawood
The Gardener’s Cottage
East Cranmore BA4 4SG
Mobile 07815 181 393
Email [email protected]