(This page last updated 9th Sept 2010).

Overview

There are two linked appeals which will be heard together. The developer has appealed:

  1. Against the decision of the DMC on April 16th to reject Planning Application NP10/033 (Appeal No 2128919, submitted 19th May)
  2. Against the enforcement notice. (Appeal No 2131835. Start date July 6th).

This page gives information about the appeals and our position in response.

The appeal will be held starting on 20th October 2010 in the Newport Memorial Hall and is scheduled to run on 20, 21, 22 and 26 and 27 October. Click here to see a copy of the National Park Letter announcing the appeal details.

All documentation for both appeals is available online, via the Planning Casework Service (on the UK Government Planning Portal) at
             http://www.pcs.planningportal.gov.uk/pcsportal/

This web site has been changed so that we can no longer give direct links.

To see the case summary page for an appeal go to the portal, and enter the appropriate case number in the case reference field. Then click "Search for cases".

Appeal 1: (2128919) Against the refusal of the latest application. See PCNPA letter.

Appeal 2: (2131835) Against the Enforcement Notice. See letter from PCNPA.

This will take you to the Case Summary Page for each appeal, which has links to all the submitted documents for both appeals.

In particular you may be interested to read the Developer's Appeal Form, and the National Park's completed questionnaire, as well as look at the third party comments where you can see our own submissions (under appeal 1) and your own letters.

Other links:

View from public footpath above Bettws Newydd

Grounds for appeal

The appellants’ grounds for Appeal 1 can be found at section H on the Appeal Form.

The appellant is claiming that

  • the NPA did not base the decision to refuse consent on “proper and reasonable consideration” of National or Local Development Plan policies and other material considerations.
  • Officers recommended approval but Members of the Development Management Committee chose to ignore their professional advice.
  • The “scheme subject to this appeal” was originally granted planning permission in October 2006 That permission remains extant until October 2011 and the NPA have acknowledged that this "planning fall-back" is a material consideration "in determination of the appeal proposal"
  • JUDP policies 56, 67, 76 and 78 were relevant during the determination of the “original 2006 scheme” when the principle of development was considered acceptable. The policy framework for the as-built scheme is identical and there have been only “minor changes” to the design and location.
  • The comprehensive landscaping proposal which the NPA considers "well considered, significant and therefore acceptable" will mitigate the impact of the building in the landscape.

For the second appeal you can see the grounds on page 2 of the form. These are that Planning Permission should be granted for the building. The developer again stresses the 2006 permission is the fallback, that this could be implemented and that this is little different from what has in fact been built. The changes are stated to be relatively minor. The developer asserts that they were mostly agreed to by the planning authority, and this will be fully explained at the enquiry, as will the reasons for the mistakes and changes. The form states that with the additional proposed landscaping the visual impact will be reduced compared to the approved scheme. (We disagree with all these points).

These therefore are the points to answer when writing to the Inspectorate.

Documents submitted to the Inspectorate

BNOG submissions: We have submitted input to the Inspectorate opposing the appeals and have also requested that a number of members should be allowed to speak on various matters. The links below take you to the copies on the Planning Portal.

  1. Submission letter (1/4)
  2. BNOG Full submission (including pictures) (2/4)
  3. Respecting the 27th July 2007 letter. (3/4)
  4. National Planning Policy Considerations (4/4)

The appellants initial documents for Appeal 1 include

  • The NP/10/033 planning application form. This still gives incorrect information, for instance it states that foul sewage is to a septic tank and that surface water drainage is to an existing watercourse; that the proposal is not within 20 m of an existing watercourse and has no affect on important habitats. (No information on levels and heights is given and not requested).
  • The Design and Access Statement, Landscape and Visual Appraisal Report, Application Drawings corrected to above ordnance datum (AOD).
  • PCNPA Refusal Notice
  • Some correspondence (mostly emails), mostly between the applicant’s agent and the Authority between December and April 2010. These shed some light on the struggle to agree levels.
  • No information on Meetings with Officers, even for the pre-application meeting (cited on the application form) when levels and position of the building were agreed.

The Authority sent the completed questionnaire to the Inspectorate on 7th June, stating that the statement of case (and also a list of any conditions or limitations that the Authority would favour should the appeal be allowed) would follow in due course.

A set of the original NP/10/033 application papers have been sent (Q2-Q11) as well as a set when corrected to give levels AOD (Q12-Q16).

The accompanying documents do not include, as did the appellant’s above, copies of correspondence between the two parties, save for one letter from the applicant’s agent dated 12th Jan 2010 (Q1). We reproduce this here. There are no Planning File Notes submitted.

The objectors’ correspondence supplied seems to be only that which was sent to Development Management and also made direct reference to the application (Q17, Q19). Thus for instance, considerable interchanges that took place between one objector and the Development Management Officer concerning levels are not included, nor is the correspondence between BNOG and the National Park solicitor concerning handling of the application, nor for that matter, are the letters sent to the DMC Chairman and Members (though both were copied to Development Management Officers)

There are copies of 100 letters of objection, although there were probably several more sent to the National Park. (There are well over 100 names on the contact list supplied (Q24))  Only one or two of those letters written after objectors were notified that levels had to be corrected to AOD (so that the difference between Jimmy’s ridge height and the as-built dwelling is even greater than thought), appear to have been submitted to the Inspectorate. It seems that there were no letters in support to be sent.

Documents submitted by PCNPA include, besides the NP/10/033 application papers (already sent in by the appellant) (Qs 2-16):

  • the PCNPA notification letter of 3rd June to objectors stating that the appeal has been lodged with a start date of 21st May (Q24),
  • relevant policy extracts from the JUDP (Q24)
  • the April 2010 Officer Report (which includes the October 2009 and Jan 2010 Officer Reports,
  • The 26 July 2007 letter (repeated from the applicant’s papers)
  • The 20th Feb 2008 “survey”,
  • The applicant’s drawings of as-built and 2006 schemes compared, the landscape scheme) (Q20-Q21)
  • The Refusal Notice for NP/10/033 and covering letter and stamped refused plans (not including a site plan (Q23)
  • The 2006 application form plus the submitted design statement for NP06/076 (Q25)
  • The March 2006 Officer Report and some application drawings (Q25)
  • The “Delegated Decision by Vicki Hirst”
  • Stamped approved drawings including the site plan (Q26 and 27)
  • The 17th October 2006 Consent Notice (Q25)
  • The July 2008 application form for NP/08/361, and submitted drawings dated July 2008
  • The June 2009 Officer Report and the Refusal Notice dated 2nd July 2009 (Q28).
  • Finally, the recently issued Enforcement Notice of 3rd June 2010 (Q29)

Our initial comments

It is difficult to see how an Inspector will be able to fathom a true picture of what has happened from this long list of documents. We have spotted a number of omissions and have a number of concerns about the documentation presented.

The 2006 Architect’s Design Statement submitted with the application would make amusing reading, were this not so serious, when it includes

“The dwelling is designed as of the 21st century but with sensitive use of natural materials and quality craftsmanship and good scale. The Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Information Centre at St Davids is our bench-mark”

The distorted Site Plan, plans and elevations showing the building set into the ground presented to the DMC in March 2006 are not included, just perspectives.

To be remarked upon is the fact that the second page (page 2) of Vicki Hirst’s highly inadequate Delegated Decision Statement in 2006 has been omitted - so we reproduce it here.

The Officer Report to the October 2007 Development Management Committee (when Bettws Newydd came up under Enforcement and Other Matters following a series of complaints) is not included.

No information or file records of meetings with the applicant and his agents is included.

The July 2008 drawings supplied here were not those eventually considered with the application as they were withdrawn following a complaint because the stamped approved drawings had been distorted so that the as-built dwelling was shown to have the same ridge height as that which the applicant considered to be approved.

The June 2009 Officer Report is shortened from 9 pages to 6 and altered in part. Most of the 3rd and 4th pages of the original concerning objectors concerns that policy 56 had not been properly applied in the April Report have been omitted. The full report can be seen on the PCNPA web site here or we have a copy if needed.

The wording of the DMC decision in April 2009 differs between the two Reports. The Town Council’s response has been shortened omitting for instance the comment that “This Council totally shares the anger felt by many of the people that we represent at the decisions your Authority has taken over the new huge house on the very prominent site of the late Mr William’s modest home...”  Most of the original pages 6, 7 and 8 giving objector’s comments on the landscaping scheme and the Authority’s Woodland Officer’s response is also curiously absent. The appendices originally attached including the April 2009 Officer Report are not included.

The April 2010 Officer Report is missing the first page giving consultee responses including Newport Town Council’s latest comment that “We believe that this application is not well designed in terms of siting, layout, form, bulk, height, materials, detailing and contextual relationship with existing landscape and townscape characteristics” and also the fact of 98 letters of objection received (PCNPA Development Management counting).

The Supplementary Officer Report to the April 2010 DMC distributed at and read to the Meeting is not included as is Counsel’s Advice concerning the significance of the 26th July 2007 letter which was also distributed at the Meeting.

None of the application forms for all three applications has given a clear and true statement of relative heights/levels of the proposal compared to the original dwelling. There is very little information in any documents received by the Inspectorate about the original dwelling, Jimmy’s house and the site as it existed in 2006. No photographs, no site survey drawing.

It is concerning that the Inspectorate has been supplied with a mass of information by both the applicant and the Authority, much of which concentrates on the applicant’s view of the approved plans in respect of levels and heights.

Buried amongst all of this are the comments in the letters from objectors to Development Management and the few reports in the PCNPA minutes of the April 2010 DMC of speakers who objected to the application at that Meeting. The balance is very one sided.

There is little indication from all of this of the extent and strength of opposition to the development, of the hundreds of well thought out letters commenting on material planning matters that have been sent to the National Park and of the official complaints, including one from the Town Council calling for an investigation.

We also cannot see mention of the Petition that was signed by just under 500 people opposing this development, and was submitted to the National Park Authority in April 2009.

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