Planning has again dominated Mendip District Councillor Gloria Cawood’s work over the last month.
Councillor Gloria Cawood, who represents Cranmore, Doulting and Nunney on Mendip District Council, has written a report on her activities for October 2013:
There is clearly a lot of pressure on officers and it seems that agency planners are being brought in an attempt to improve the targets. We have been told that the official target for completion of applications is 140 per month and that this has been exceeded, but there are obviously still problems.
We have some very committed planning officers at Mendip, but they can’t produce miracles and under-staffing seems to be a real problem. The same issue has been casting a shadow over the Planning Enforcement Team which was at one time down to just 1 officer and still seem to be having to play catch-up.
Mendip’s Cabinet needs to ensure adequate resources are available to support frontline staff if the reputation of the Council as a planning authority is to improve.
Martin’s Paddock, Cranmore – The Parish Council had objected to an application to build houses at Martin’s Paddock, an objection upheld by Mendip Planners. There were two letters of support – neither of which was signed – but the application, which never came to me, was out of time and is now with the Planning Inspectorate for decision. Three copies of any letters of support or objection must reach the Planning Inspectorate at Temple Quay, Bristol by November 5th. Cranmore PC will consider this at their meeting on 14th Oct.
Meadow View, Chantry – Enforcement issue – this was being built contrary to the planning decision. Alterations have been achieved so that it is now compliant in most respects. However, there are still on-site drainage issues to be resolved before the house may be occupied.
Stoney Lane –Enforcement issue – the matter is with solicitors for consideration of court action for this build without planning permission
St Aldhelm’s School, Doulting, new classroom – was referred to me as there were objections – and I agreed delegation to officers for approval. The school clearly needed the room because of pressure of numbers, which meant that library space was being used for group/classroom purposes.
Slait Hill to Cranmore Wood Bridleway – Claire Haskins has confirmed that there can be no improvement of a bridleway without the permission of ALL adjoining landowners following fears that such improvement could encourage those without rights of access to fields to use it to the detriment of walkers, horse riders and cyclists.
Fracking: I have mentioned to some parishes that the Mendip Lib Dems were working on a motion on fracking to present to the September 30th Full Council. We had received a number of letters, e-mails etc on this matter from concerned members of the public. I was able to add to these the comments made at my Parish Council and by members of my electorate. After some to-and-fro, the Conservatives agreed to support our amended motion and it went through. So, Mendip now has a stance when consulted by County on any proposals.
The motion is very long, but I can send on a copy separately.
Mendip Community Environment Grants: Subject to details being submitted, the £2,000 available is now spent. Nunney has received its grant for goal posts and the Doulting notice board well on its way.
Solar and Wind Farms: Following the Inspector’s visit to Hurlingpot Solar Farm on 17th September 2013, I have been advised that a decision is expected in 6 to 8 weeks.
Bath and West Turbine: The application went to Planning Board on October 2nd. With an Officer recommendation for approval. There was robust opposition to the proposal from Parish Chairman, Paula Fidge, Chris Norman and myself. Our item was the first on the agenda – and we won convincingly.
It was a little worrying that I had to battle to speak on the issue, following a claim from officers and the Chairman that the application site was in Creech Ward. (It is clearly on the boundary between the two Wards and affects Prestleigh (part of Doulting Parish) most. I wonder whether I will be allowed to speak on the Torr Works application – or indeed whether other parishes outside Wanstrow will be given that opportunity either.
Manor Farm, Prestleigh Wind Turbine is now out for consultation.
Little Sharpshaw Solar Farm and Torr Works Wind Farm – are currently expected to go to the Planning Board on November 6th.
Don’t Forget……………….. 6.30pm, Local Choices/Rural Forum
Councillor Gloria Cawood
The Gardener’s Cottage
East Cranmore BA4 4SG
Mobile 07815 181 393
Email [email protected]