Chudleigh Town Council
Chudleigh Town Hall, Market Way, Chudleigh, Devon TQ13 0HL
Email: clerk@chudleigh-tc.gov.uk / Telephone: 01626 853 140
Opening Hours: Monday - Friday 9:00 - 15:00

Rock Nursery update

On 4 November we received an open letter from Dainton Services regarding their application to create a garden centre, farm shop, café and play area on the now derelict Rock Nursery site. Since this open letter was already doing the rounds on social media I took the decision to also publish it on our website and Facebook page. I think it fair to say that anyone reading the letter would have assumed that Dainton Services had taken the decision to withdraw their application.

However, on 5 November I received a call advising me that Dainton were not withdrawing the application. Instead, they wanted the application determined so that they could consider whether they had grounds to appeal the application. In the open letter Dainton made clear that they considered that the District Council planning team were wholly to blame for the delay in determining the application. As with most issues the reality is rather more complicated than it seems. The current state of play with the application is that it is waiting determination. I am reliably informed that this is because the Planning team are awaiting information and documentation from the applicant and have been waiting for this since mid-summer. To summarise:-

  • Whilst a retail impact assessment has been completed the District Council require more detail. This has been requested and is still outstanding
  • DCC Highways require a highway safety audit to be completed and have stated that a safe and suitable informal pedestrian crossing point needs to be provided.
  • The Devon County Archaeologist requires a topographic survey of the site and a programme of intrusive field investigations to be completed.
  • Historic England advise that a good quality assessment of the impact of the development on the designed landscape and Chudleigh Rocks is required.
  • Natural England require that an ecological assessment needs to be completed due to the sensitivity of the site

Given the amount of information required from the applicant it is hard to see how the planning officer can determine this application at this moment. The highways safety audit and the ecological assessment are particularly important and need to be undertaken. Nobody would want an application granted consent that does not meet road safety criteria or endangers the future of the various species of bat that have roosting sites adjacent to the proposed development. It is, perhaps, worth adding that none of the requirements listed above are unusual for a major planning application, whether that be for housing or economic development.

John Carlton

Town Clerk

Chudleigh Town Council

13 November 2019