Help Protect our AONB

Lower Pertwood Farm is distressed to note that a dump site which is located between three of our farms (Lower Pertwood Farm, Manor Farm and Haycombe Down Farm) has put in an application to extend the dumping period for another 3.5 years

We are in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and we urge our friends, visitors and supporters to oppose this request to extend the dumping licence.

An official objection has been lodged by one of our directors who has a Master’s Degree in Town Planning and that appears below.

Dear Sirs,

Re: Objection to Application Reference PL/2022/01141 Application to vary Condition 10 to Planning Permission reference 17/03155/VAR to amend the approved plans in respect of buildings 4 and 5

In response to the letter dated 10th February 2022 by Brimble Lea (BL) that accompanied this rather short application (given its widespread impact, more justification would have been welcome), we Lower Pertwood Farm (LPF) would like to address the following inaccuracies as a matter of great importance:-

  1. BL: “There is no documented reason as to why the Council decided that a 3-year period for completing the deposit of waste and earthwork was necessary and the Council approved the application in 2017 to extend the period by a further 5 years without any concerns (confirming that the initial 3-year period was unnecessary).”

LPF: The reason the Council set a Condition for three years initially is plainly obvious. The esteemed Planning Officer would have known how much disruption this site was about to cause on Lord’s Hill. They would have wanted it completed in a timely manner so the site could be remediated, and peace restored to the roads, land and greater environment as quickly as possible. This is what Planning Conditions are for. Development commenced with the Condition in place.

The applicants are now seeking an extension until the end of 2025. This is FIFTEEN long years after approval. If the Local Planning Authority had known this landfilling would take this long, we have serious doubts it would ever have been allowed. This is an unreasonable timescale for any development, let alone one that has been so unpopular with the local population, caused so much traffic and mud on the A350 and has never felt like the right decision for this undulating, open and scenic part of an AONB. It has looked messy and out of keeping with the wider landscape for twelve years and now they want yet more time. It is holding up the remediation of the landscape and so the scar will continue to affect yet another generation of people. This is an injustice and is against the sound principles of good Planning practice.

  1. BL: “Unfortunately, there has been a continued shortage of waste material due to increased competition for waste material and construction-related activity slowed down considerably during the covid pandemic.”

LPF: We cannot comment on how much competition there has been for waste material, but the pandemic has not slowed developments as much as the applicant is trying to claim. You need only watch how much many lorries leave the Somerset quarries every day. There is a boom in building. The applicant is looking for an additional 1,283 days in which to continue this disruption. That is 3.5 years. The Covid-19 pandemic has not caused this length of disruption. Also, has anyone any assurances they won’t ask for more time at the end of 2025? Will there be controls in place to assure the public this latest target is not again ‘false’?

  1. BL: “The development has been ongoing for almost 10 years without causing any harm to local residents and the wider environment, and it is in the Applicants’ interest to complete the development as soon as they possibly can to provide much-needed space for storage and housing livestock.”

LPF: The above quote is one of the most inaccurate statements ever written down, in our opinion. Have the applicants and their agents forgotten already how opposed the residents of this area have been to this site? You cannot just say “no one is bothered” – as this is not true. It does lead one to the conclusion that the remaining contents of this letter by BL are not to be dependable as are incredibly subjective and forgetful.

This site is causing harm to residents, the landscape and environment for the record, again.

We further object to this extension application for the following planning reasons:-

AMENITY

  1. In planning terms, ‘amenity’ is often used to refer to the quality or character of an area and elements that contribute to the overall enjoyment of an area. The landfill at Kingsdown Farm has had a huge detrimental impact on this whole area due to dust, noise, vibration and emissions of the HGV’s accessing the site. There is no peace and quiet to be found near this site when active.
  2. Site restoration – this area still remains a scar on our beautiful landscape and it is naïve to believe it is not being noticed and commented upon by local people and those who come to this area for its loveliness from further afield. The site is part of an incredibly special AONB – one like no other in the UK and a Landscape we should be protecting with every resource we have to hand.

ACCESS

  1. Safety – we have made this point a number of times. The site has dangerous access points and there are real risks of serious road accidents from slow and long HGV’s leaving and re-joining a fast  trunk road, the A350 (60 MPH) on the brow of a hill. These have been witnessed first-hand, and we can provide a schedule of accidents where vehicles have skidded off the road and through our fences and hedges. All this has had to be attended to at our cost.
  2. There are numerous complaints registered on your Wiltshire Highways website from residents, many of whom have been involved in accidents due to the large volume of mud being deposited on the road by large HGV’s.

TRAFFIC

  1. HGV volumes – this problem will only be exacerbated if the application is approved. It will lead to increased congestion again and more delays on the A350, and for surrounding areas for an additional 3.5 years.  Dozens of lorries a day come and go at peak times.

ENVIRONMENT

  1. Potential for additional harm to the environment – instead of being at the end of its “receiving life”,  the applicants wish for this tip to remain active, and this therefore increases the risk of land slippage, toxic gases leaking and water contamination to name a few, which we all know come as a potential side effect of landfill.
  2. The financial and staff pressure on the Environment Agency and Local Planning Authority to ensure this site is staying within its set of rules will be demanded for another 3.5 years.

HEALTH & WELLBEING

  1. Material health concerns – increased levels of pollutants from an extra few thousand lorry diesel engines, labouring up and down Lord’s Hill, could damage the health and wellbeing of local residents.  Dust particles released from the site will also have a negative impact.
  2. Your own Council have warned residents that the water in this area is not fit for human consumption. We would feel much more assured if we knew this was not from unsatisfactory substances oozing from a dumpsite, which soak away into the ancient chalk down lands and the underground water systems.

Given the contentious nature of this site and our history of objecting to this ‘development’ we were a bit dismayed that as the major neighbour on the western side of the Site we weren’t a named consultee (from your list of six). You may want to consider widening your list of consultees to include Longbridge Deverill Parish Council (a large number of the trucks only access is through Longbridge Deverill) and other private stakeholders and landowners during the consultation period, as am confident they would want to consider this application.

We thank you for your time.

Yours faithfully,

Tamara Webster (Director) and the team at Lower Pertwood Organic Farm Ltd.

All of us need to join forces to protect the English countryside against this type of unnecessary development.

Should you wish to object, you can do so via the following link: https://development.wiltshire.gov.uk/pr/s/planning-application/a0i3z000017S4k8AAC/pl202201141?tabset-8903c=3

Flower Planting programme 2022

Lower Pertwood Farm is well renowned for the flowers that we plant. These are for our birds, for our bees and for the general enjoyment of the public.  Many of our compliments come from people using the A350.

This year we are being much more ambitious in terms of what we plan to do with a wider variety of flowers, more locations and also staggered planting so that the actual period of flowering is extended as far as possible into late summer.

We welcome visitors to the farm.  We do not do organised tours so visitors simply park and walk through the farm on a self-guided basis.  Obviously, our flowers will not be there for people to enjoy for some months but we will use the opportunity to keep people updated via our web site.

Should you have any queries or should you wish to visit, please contact either Louise Norton at the Farm Office on T: 01747 820499 or David Scales, our Chief Security Officer, on T: 07802 726028.

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