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Development Comments

As “Comments” to the application for “Change of use of agricultural land for the siting of 7 holiday lodges” are posted on the City Council Planning Department Website, I will copy them to this section of the Blog. The contributions to date are:

  1. Whittington Parish Council
  2. Graham Williams
  3. Alister Reid
  4. Erica Wright
  5. Mark Wright
  6. Jane Reid
  7. R Murray
  8. John Keegan
  9. Michael Asher
  10. Jason Braithwaite
  11. George Bell
  12. Michael Redmond
  13. Iain Sutherland
  14. Georgina Grundy Campbell MBE
  15. Susan Kimber
  16. Kirkby Lonsdale Town Council
  17. LCC Highways Development Control

1). Whittington Parish Council:
The proposed development is within open countryside, the site does not sit on the “brownfield” (previously developed) part of the site, despite the planning statement making play of this. Lancaster City Council’s policy does not support development in the open countryside. Brownfield sites must be used up first. In the pre-application advice received by the applicant from LCC, they were advised that the adjacent brownfield site was not sustainable due to the development’s impact on the open countryside.

Development of this type can only be supported where there is clear evidence of benefit to the rural economy. No detail is submitted to demonstrate this benefit. The development is not diversification of a local’s current business plan and does not appear to benefit existing local businesses.

The proposed new access is on a stretch of road with limited visibility and heavy plant usage eg: log carrying wagons and agricultural contractors. There is no safe walking route for visitors to join public footpaths and none of the nearby footpaths link to Kirkby Lonsdale, the main service centre for the area, without walking along roads with no footpaths or pavements and with the need to cross busy A and B roads with limited visibility.

There is provision of lodge accommodation at Kirkby Lonsdale, which is closer to this site than the village of Whittington. There is sufficient capacity in the immediate area for this type of holiday accommodation. The proposed development calls for the approval of 7 lodges – all the same size, type and layout. The statements prepared in the support of the application suggest a mixed use, interesting layout and sustainable development. This is not the case – the detail is again a repetitive “rubber stamp” approach and offers no options for small / medium / large groups and absolutely no provision for the disabled – as a new development this is unacceptable.

The design of the lodges does not promote good design of local distinctiveness, this is another failure of LCC policy allowing development in the open countryside. There is no detail submitted as to the development’s impact on the adjacent heritage assets, Grade 2 listed building Sellet Hall, or the array of buildings surrounding the site that are more than 100 years old.

The proposal is presented as sustainable, however it is backed up by very little evidence, other than electric bike / car charging points. Cars are an essential part of the countryside living and particularly for tourism based activity where, in this case, there is no direct link to public services or to transport links. Practically every trip to and from this site will involve vehicle use.

The proposed site layout does not reflect the detail of the planning statement, big play is made on sustainability and the fact there are only 7 cars to be on site. The site clearly shows and expects 14 cars to be present. The proposed site layout indicates the access drive / route extending through the development site to the field beyond with no justification. It is important that this is not established to allow for a Phase 2 development if this application is successful. There is no provision on site for the turning head for fire engine access requirements.

There is no detail of how the site will be managed, maintained or visitors and the site be kept safe and secure. It is not clear what the layby behind the new access entrance point is designated for.

Historically, in the locale, discreet laybys such as these are generally occupied by vehicles and their occupants for longer periods of time than for allowing other traffic to pass, and as litter dumps.

There is no electricity supply on the site, nor access readily available to connect to the nearest electricity grid supply. Details of how this connection is proposed should be made available in order to assess the context of this to the open countryside.

The submitted drainage report is not consistent with the detail submitted with the planning application. The development is for maximum 42 persons (based on 7 lodges each with 6 beds). The treatment plan is specified for 35 persons.

In conclusion the Parish Council object to the proposed development of the land and fails to satisfy the safety and development guidelines published by Lancaster City Council.
Gillian Newton
Clerk to the Parish Council

2). Graham Williams:
The South Lakes area is immediately adjacent to the area for which planning consent is being sought. It is an area of outstanding beauty which is very popular with tourists as is clearly recognised by this application which seeks to provide accommodation for the tourist.

Unfortunately the proposed structures, which can best be described as tin sheds, would substantially reduce the visual amenity of this area.

While I appreciate that Lancaster City Council has previously given its approval for applications based on similar structures, I feel strongly that the visual impact of these developments is such that this application should be rejected.
Graham Williams,

3). Alister Reid
This development must show clear evidence that it benefits the local rural economy as it is within the open countryside. There is no evidence that this proposal can benefit the rural economy. In addition this development will create a vehicle nuisance on the already dangerous and restricted country lanes surrounding the site.

It is  not possible, whether on bikes or foot, to safely reach any public footpath and more importantly get to the main shopping and eating facilities at Kirkby Lonsdale. Cars will be used for every journey. There are no details submitted, as is required, on the impact on the adjacent heritage assets of Sellet Hall (grade 2 listed) and my property built in 1832. There is a complete lack of detail on how this site is to be managed, maintained or visitors kept safe. All in all this is no more than a poor attempt to brow beat the local authority to give a permission for development in open agricultural land.
Alister Reid

4). Erica Wright
Having studied and read the submitted supporting evidence to this planning re-application for the 7 holiday lodges I feel that I must write and express my deep concern as to the poor quality of the submission and the lack of supporting planning policy – be it LCC’s adopted local plan policy or policy in accordance with the wider NPPF.

I would advise the planning officer to carefully read the detail of the documents submitted as there are a number of errors and inaccuracies which undoubtedly have arisen during the attempt to ‘refresh’ the resubmission detail. I believe the detail of the submitted design and access statement does nothing to actually clarify or expand on any detail that isn’t already within the planning statement. I would have thought that with a proposal which is clearly within the strict confines of open countryside development, the applicant should be able to demonstrate, far more clearly and concisely, with all the supporting evidence required, just how this proposal is deemed justifiable.

From the planning statement submitted I query the following:
SC1 – there is nothing within the submitted application that demonstrates the proposals support the sustainable policy of SC1. It would appear that the applicant is suggesting that electric charging points for bikes and cars hits the sustainable targets of this policy. The site is not accessible safely by foot to either Kirkby Lonsdale or Whittington as it does not link to any footpath provision that has a safe footpath pavement route. Provision of electric bike charging is just tinkering with policy when it is clear that the fundamentals of the scheme are not sustainable

SC5 – the application does not reflect quality design or distinctiveness. The lodges proposed are a ‘bought off the shelf’ solution provided by Cambrian, there is nothing about the detail that reflects the area, context or heritage. There is even suggestion in the planning statement that the lodges are easily removed as if even the applicant believes their life will be short lived – not ideally sustainable!

DM7 – the site forming the application site IS NOT brownfield land nor has it ever been. Land adjacent to  the site was historically used for raising ducks (never chickens – another error of the planning statement) but development of the brownfield site was ruled out by LCC in the pre app advice due to overbearing impact. It is not possible to move the development to the adjacent open countryside and still claim brownfield development rights.

DM9 – support from this policy is only possible when the proposed provision is limited in the area. The applicant pays no regard for the positioning of the site and the available provision of this accommodation in the immediate area of Kirkby Lonsdale. The provision on the Cumbria side of the immediate boundary is at saturation point and no further approvals are available in the area under diversification of rural economy. LCC must take this into consideration to safeguard the existing provision and view of their neighbouring Authority.

DM14 – this policy supports reuse of brownfield sites and in this case is taken out of context given that this is NOT a brownfield site – it has no relevance.

DM20 – THIS POLICY CONSIDERS THAT PROPOSALS SHOULD MINIMISE THE NEED TO TRAVEL – the applicant relies again on the ability to use electric bikes as a key feature of the application. Just how far do they think people are going to be able to bike from this site – The Lake District? The Yorkshire Dales?

DM21 – the planning officer should be aware that the footpath closest to the proposed site does not link directly to Kirkby Lonsdale – it takes you to Sellet Mill and then it is a dangerous walk along the Whittington to Kirkby Lonsdale road or alternatively the footpath continues to Whittington and then doubles back along the river Lune to Kirkby Lonsdale.Visitors will be at risk on this route as they will undoubtedly take the shorter route to Kirkby Lonsdale along the main road with no footpath / pavement provision. The alternative route is to walk into High Biggins and then take the footpath to Kirkby Lonsdale but again this involves long stretches of walks along main roads with no footpaths and the crossing of the main A65 road with no traffic calming measures or safe crossing points.

DM22 – parking provision – another error within theapplication – the planning statement refers to one parking space per unit suggesting 7 vehicles to site but the proposals clearly indicate 14 – which is it to be?

DM28 – landscape, DM29 – trees / hedgerow – the detail presented continues the rubber stamp approach to layout screened by domestic style hedge lines which do nothing to preserve the nature of the landscape. The scheme is nothing short of boring and a blight on this attractive pocket of land.

DM35 – design, reading the planning statement and then assessing the proposed site layout makes me nervous that there has been a failure in communication here – the layout of the scheme does not create a central space onto which all units look…. The units are orientated with their principal elevations to the south aspect and then are surrounded by hedging to provide privacy and screening. The planning statement is at complete odds with the design proposal and this ripples into the design and access statement which should be a robust document which evidences and demonstrates the appropriate design solution to the site context – all of which is sadly missing from this application.

DM39 – the drainage report is incorrect as it uses the wrong capacity of visitors to site.

NPPF – It is noted that the application has cited very little NPPF support and it is not clear as to which NPPF paragraphs it relies upon. No evidence is submitted with this application that demonstrates how the proposal is to be managed and what benefit that will bring, in real terms to the rural economy. The application is for holiday cottages but doesn’t stipulate ownership details. There is a disparity to the implication to rural economy if these properties are run as proper holiday lets i.e. with 42 person turnover per week bring spending power to the area and providing jobs in terms of management, maintenance, cleaning, gardening, servicing etc as opposed to these being sold as second ‘holiday homes’ with the same 7 families returning on an ad hoc basis. I would also flag up the recent approval to allow the “holiday cottages” to the rear of The Whoop Hall Hotel to become full residential dwellings – in short I have no confidence in LCC being able to secure the use of the proposed scheme for the long term.

Contrary to the applicant admission – the proposed scheme fails paragraph 34 of NPPF due to the essential use of vehicles to and from site, the lack of safe walking routes not to mention the confusion as to just how many parking spaces the application is calling for. The applicant and his advisers have had chance to consider the local views and comments to proposal by virtue of the responses to the first planning application. There has been no effort made to engage on a local level nor deal with any of the concerns raised – if only to try and alleviate some of the concerns by providing essential information.

The proposal is not in accordance with either local of national planning policy and LCC should be keen to ensure that their adopted policy is used properly and not just flaunted to suite elements of a proposal. This site is not right for development and this application has all the hallmarks of a low key proposal that will, with approval, be sold on and within years a much bigger scheme in place on site akin to all the development around Pine Lake.

For all the policy failure mentioned above, I would urge the planning authority to refuse the application.

Yours sincerely
Erica Wright RIBA

5). Mark Wright

The main planning issues that concern me include:

  1. The reference to this being a brown field site – whilst there may have been some activity in the past on the land – this did not include the site of the current planning application. It is my understanding that this activity was short lived and whilst may have been the applicants preferred site for the application for the lodges, LCC advised in their PAA it was not a suitable area for development due to its open aspect and the impact of such development on the landscape to this area. Simply repositioning the development over the brow of the hill does not allow the reference to brown field development to be extended to suit policy requirement. The site in question is similarly open country side and the proposed lodges will have an intrusive impact on the landscape and setting.
  2. The application site is tucked away at the top of the Lancashire boundary to Cumbria. The development of this site will impact the immediate SLDC residents who look towards the site, namely Biggins Manor, Red Lodge, The Gatehouse, Annabanks, The Biggins, The Hardings and Long Mead. All of the property listed above have a clear view of the development site from either their ground or first floor accommodation and given that this is to the south of their properties, the proposed development is visually predominant from their main living spaces and the impact of the change of use of this very natural pocket of land and the light interference including lodge lighting and car head lights all distract from dark sky strategy which is unacceptable. The reality of the situation is that there is already sufficient provision for this type of accommodation in the immediate Kirkby Lonsdale area which is closer to the site and main tourist center than Whittington. The introduction of further accommodation in this location will simply rob Peter to pay Paul. There is already good, established providers of lodge accommodation in the area and there is no evidence to suggest there is any need for more – particularly in a location where their siting will be to the distinct detriment of the landscape.
  3. No assessment has been made or information submitted as to the impact of the development on the immediately adjacent Grade II* listed building – Sellet Hall, nor any of the surrounding heritage buildings which are more than 100 years old.
  4. The planning statement suggests that great care and emphasis has been placed in the siting and layout of the lodges on site but the plan submitted shows the lodges lined up along the access track, which interestingly, extends to the boundary of the site to the area which was the applicant’s first choice for any application. I would suggest that this is simply the start of a much bigger proposal which with an approval at this stage, would limit the planners control over the ultimate development size.
  5. Throughout the supporting information reference is made to ‘sustainability’ yet I see no evidence as to what element of the application is sustainable. There is no public transport anywhere nearby and all journeys to this site will generate vehicle movement. Pedestrian footfall will be along the highways to either Whittington but most likely Kirkby Lonsdale where there is more tourist activity. The most direct route to Kirkby Lonsdale is via the main road NOT the public footpath and this road has no footpath nor safe walking route around blind corners – god forbid if holiday makers, unused to the area, meet the wood wagons servicing the Hutton Roof wood yard en-route, either when on foot or in a car.
  6. Electric bike and car charging points seems to be the highlight of the submitted detail in some sort of attempt to gain sustainability brownie points. I would point out that there is no nearby electric supply to the site and the infrastructure charges of getting power here will be a key point for viability. If power is to be brought in from either the Whittington end or from the supply in Low Biggins then the impact of this must also form part of the planning application detail as, undoubtedly, an overhead solution will prove more affordable but will leave a bigger visual scar to the even wider landscape.
  7. I am concerned that there does not appear to be any management strategy for the development. Essentially, every week, there could be 7 sets of holiday makers lost, following the sat nav directions up Hosticle Lane causing issues and disturbance to established residents. More importantly the lack of emergency services and distance for blue light response is beyond what would be considered reasonable for such development. I raise this as I am concerned as to where this development leads and we all need to be very clear that if approved, these lodges function alone without the need for a subsequent planning application for managers accommodation. There needs to be a robust and defendable management strategy submitted with this application to which a planning condition can be attached and relied upon, should the application be approved.
  8. I find the design of the lodges inappropriate – they may well be of a current trend but they do not provide local distinctiveness nor do they do anything to respect the existing local vernacular detail. To me they represent everything that is wrong with the short term, quick fix solution as part of a bigger development and I worry that we accept this type of ‘modern / contemporary’ design thinking that it will add anything to our heritage. If we are looking at developing sites in such landscape setting then the detail and design must be extraordinary and wholly engaging with the immediate site context. In reality these lodges could sit anywhere in the country and be equally disturbing!

I would urge the planning department to refuse this application as it is most definitely the thin edge of the wedge and this site is simply too precious.

Yours sincerely
Mr Mark Wright

6). Jane Reid:
The application should be refused for the following reasons.

It is no economic benefit to the local rural economy to justify the change from agricultural land to a holiday

chalet development. There are many holiday chalets nearer to Kirkby Lonsdale to provide for holiday demand. There is no ability to walk from this site to the shops or restaurants or other necessary facilities on public footpaths to Kirkby Lonsdale. No family would allow their children to walk or cycle on the increasing busy and dangerous Biggins Lane. This a blatant attempt to get a change of use from agricultural land to a commercial caravan/chalet use.

This rural area of north Lancashire needs protection as much as the adjacent national parks. To loose precious agricultural land on the grounds that the local area needs holiday homes is not proven and in any case this site is totally unsuitable and it will only increase the number of car journeys on an already insufficient road system.
Jane Reid

8). R Murray
As a resident living within 1.5 miles of land to the west of Sellet Hall, Whittington for which a Planning Application has been submitted to Lancaster City Council Planning Development Team, I wish to submit my opinion on the above Application for consideration by the Planning Authority.

Introduction and general preamble.
This Application seeks permission to erect seven timber lodges, each with hard standing for parking two cars and a hardcore vehicular access track from Saddler Nook Lane, to be sited in a permanent grassland field opposite Sellet Hall in the Parish of Whittington. The settlements of High and Low Biggins in Kirkby Lonsdale Parish are approximately 400 metres away and all traffic accessing this proposed development has to use single track lanes with passing places – Biggins Lane, Saddlers Nook Lane and Hosticle Lane.

The seven lodges have parking spaces for 14 cars – two for each lodge – but no accommodation for the site caretaker/manager: the period for their use/occupation throughout the year is not stated. There is no access to the site using public footpaths, only narrow lanes without any designated pedestrian walkway: this poses a considerable risk for walkers and inexperienced cyclists who may stay in the lodges, as the lane is used frequently by heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) carrying timber to and from Irving’s Wood yard at Hutton Roof, some four kilometres away. These lanes are used by all local traffic travelling from Kirkby Lonsdale to Hutton Roof Crags, and the villages of Hutton Roof, Clawthorpe, Newbiggin and Burton-in-Kendal; the national speed limit is 60mph.

There are no tourist or other leisure attractions in Whittington: neighbouring Kirkby Lonsdale, 1.5 km away, has the popular tourist attractions of ‘Devil’s Bridge’, Ruskin’s View, and a riverside walk by the R. Lune: there is no direct pedestrian pavement adjacent to any road or public footpath from Sellet Hall to K. Lonsdale so that most journeys from the proposed development will be by car. There is no direct access to the R. Lune from the Sellet Hall site: a public footpath from Sellet Hall meets the B 6254 at Sellet Mill but there is no access from there to the river except by walking on this busy B- road, that has no pavement, to either K. Lonsdale or Whittington were paths across fields take walkers to the river.

Local Planning policy in relation to this application
a). location. The proposal suggests the development is associated with a ‘brown field’ site. Examination of the plans submitted shows the lodges will be sited in a green field, currently grazed by livestock. There is nothing visually attractive in the site or its isolated position within the local countryside. It will be visible from Biggins Hall and the Lodge. Light pollution from the site at night will be visible from the Yorkshire Dales National Park (YDNP) on the east side of the R. Lune, creating light pollution in a sensitive rural location.

b) there are no public footpaths near the proposed lodges: the only walking routes are on unprotected narrow lanes, except for a public footpath to Sellet Mill that goes as far as the B 6254 and no further. To risk the safety of families with young children walking the single track lanes in this area, used by HGVs to get to Irving’s woodyard in Hutton Roof, is unacceptable in terms of Health and Safety.

c) it is unreasonable to encourage families to cycle on narrow lanes which are used frequently by HGVs. These lanes go to either the A65 (a very busy major trunk road that cyclists use rarely), the B 6254 (used by HGVs as a ‘rat run’ from the quarries near Carnforth to access the A65 going southwards), or the A 6070 (used by all types of traffic travelling between Carnforth and Burton-in-Kendal, Holme and Crooklands). Saddler Nook Lane is used by approximately 50 HGVs travelling to Irvine’s wood yard at Hutton Roof each week, weighing up to 44 tones and often travelling at some speed.

d) the design of the seven lodges is inconsistent with that of caravans and is incompatible with Policy SC5. The timber cladding between two caravan sections will be removed to form one lodge that will form a semi-permanent structure and cannot be moved as a whole on wheels: the grey roofing material will be visible from the YDNP. The applicant acknowledges in 3.5 (Local Planning Policy) that some of the ground near the development site is boggy which is inconsistent with the claim that the water table is below a depth of 3500mm throughout the site.

e) the claim regarding DM7, economic development in rural areas, is exaggerated. The development of this site will not assist significantly economic growth in this area: it offers full-time employment for one person and part-time employment for another. Except for cafes and public houses in K. Lonsdale, there are no leisure facilities as such in the surrounding area which is on the periphery of the Lake District; most holiday makers head out of the town for tourist and leisure activities. The proposed development does not provide a new facility for tourism in the area: the existing Woodpark Caravan Park in Casterton is a well-run, similar, expanding facility in the area offering better organisation and an on-site manager compared to this current proposal.

f) the evidence submitted regarding DM14 and DM27 is mostly unsubstantiated opinion, speculation, and not supported by fact. The Ecological Report gives evidence only regarding Great Crested Newts but even that is incomplete: no dates for sampling the pond water are given, only the date of the Report itself. Of the other paragraphs presented in the Report, there is absence of fact and only conjecture regarding the impact on wildlife near the development site. No audit of the wildlife living on or near the site has been carried out: local residents have seen numerous Brown Hares in the field and the bird life living in the permanent woodland is not identified. Hence, bird species like Mistle Thrushes could be endangered, as well as mammals such as water voles living near the three ponds adjacent to the site. No plan has been submitted to mitigate the impact of this development on wildlife existing in the area.

g) Regarding Policy DM9, this current proposal will provide little additional holiday accommodation for visitors to this area. Significantly greater opportunities exist at Woodpark Caravan Park for campers, visitors towing caravans, holiday makers wanting chalet-type, and those owning permanently-sited caravans: a manager is present on this site 24 hours daily, together with a shop, showers and toilet facilities. There is no shortage of this type of holiday accommodation in the area.

h) the proposed development site is not re-use of previously developed land, as defined in DM19. The land is permanent grazing pasture, as seen in photograph 4.2 submitted in the Application. To describe the adjacent area, where chicken sheds have been allowed to fall into disrepair, as ‘….more sensitive in landscape terms…’ than an open-field permanent pasture site defies logic.

i) this current proposal does not respond to Policy DM7: it provides aa additional visitor facility in the area, duplicating that that already exists at Woodpark Caravan Park and at High House near the A65 in Leck parish. The employment of one full time person for the site will have little impact on employment opportunities for local people and minimal impact on economic growth related to tourism in the area since most of the income generated by this development will go to the Applicant.

j) since there is no on-site reception/office facility proposed in this Plan, there are no details given for keeping a register of residents, their duration of stay, names and addresses, so that the Local Planning Authority can interrogate it. If foreign visitors stay in the lodges, where will their passports be held securely? As there is no site office planned, these official documents will not be held securely on-site and this is unacceptable.

k) Policy DM20 relates to accessibility and transport links. The proposed site is in a rural location without access by public transport: therefore, all visitors to the site must access it by car which will create additional usage of the Biggins Lane and Saddler Nook Lane with more than 28 additional vehicle movements per day along narrow lanes with passing places. Those employed to manage the site will also travel there by car and there is no space provided for them to park their cars. Since a hedge flanks the access from the site onto Saddlers Nook Lane on both sides, movement of cars on and off the site could be a safety issue, especially with HGVs travelling at speed down the slight incline towards Low Biggins. To the best of my knowledge, the only crash on that lane occurred some ten years ago, roughly at the proposed access site identified in the Application.

l) the walking and cycling opportunities outlined in the proposal for visitors, described under DM21, are incorrect. No public footpaths pass through the site, and only one exists near Sellet Hall that leads to the B 6254 and NOT directly to the R. Lune. There is no footpath to K. Lonsdale other than from High Biggins through ‘The Hyning’ to Low Biggins, and walkers must cross the A65 – unprotected by a pedestrian crossing – to access K. Lonsdale. None of the narrow lanes serving the site have pavements, and there is a safety issue with children accompanied by adults walking on the highway for several hundred metres and avoiding oncoming traffic. HGVs use these lanes, adding to the risk. There are also hazards for cyclists, especially children: on the west of the development site there is a steep hill from OS 595774 (on a blind left hand bend) up to OS 593773. Most cyclists struggle up this incline slowly, progressing in an eccentric fashion and even electric bikes are challenged. However, children do not use electric bikes and must dismount and walk which presents an additional safety issue.

m) the Drainage Report relating to Policy DM39 and surface water run-off is flawed. The time of sampling was May 2017 which was relatively dry, enabling farmers to cut spring grass for silage in favourable weather conditions. On the map provided, four test sites are described but only three reported on. The test sites are only 40 – 55 metres apart, all sited on an open flatter area of land between existing tree plantations: this does not reflect surface water movement throughout the 1.9 hectare site. Within percolation test site results, the Standard Deviation (SD) is + 1.1, equivalent to a 3% variation: between sites, the SD is + 2.0, equivalent to 6% variation. Analysis of the results of this natural phenomena suggests that each of the three samples collected at each site was by simple repetition, rather than sampling under different conditions and at different times. The highest value, at sample site 2, is where there are no tree roots to take away water, unlike the other two sample locations. No sample site was chosen where the hardcore track would be placed for the access road to the lodge site, which will pass through or near boggy ground and this is admitted by the applicant. If this track is not constructed properly, constructing a trench containing stone aggregate of increasing size from top to bottom surrounded by a ‘terram’ membrane and proper drainage, this part of the development site will become unfit for purpose.

n) there is no location shown for a water treatment plant on any map provided or how such water will be discharged into the pond. The affect of this increased discharge – from seven families using two bathrooms and toilets with an estimated total water usage of over a thousand litres per day (UK Water Council estimate) – on the pond and surrounding wet area is unknown.

National Planning Policy Framework considerations
a) the site of the proposed development is isolated from any similar enterprise in the topography of the area, in the middle of countryside. No leisure facilities exist on-site and visitors must travel by car to participate in all tourist activities associated with the YDNP or the Lake District. There is no public transport immediately available for visitors to do this, and the emphasis of this Application on walking and cycling in the surrounding countryside is misplaced and misdirected because of the narrow lanes serving the development site.

b) the applicant who has submitted this Application does not live locally and there is no immediate economic benefit to the local business community from this proposal. Whittington has no cafe, pub or shop: the nearest town is K. Lonsdale with limited visitor attractions, and it is probable that any economic benefit will be manifest in the Lake District or Lancaster – not locally.

c) an estimated increase of >20% in car movements, competing with 50 HGV movements each week using Saddlers Nook Lane and Biggins Lane – which are both single track roads – is not insignificant as stated in the Application

Other Planning considerations
a) there has been no wildlife audit of the 1.9 hectares that includes the development site. Whilst the issue of Great Crested Newts has been addressed correctly, the profile of other species such as dragonflies, frogs and toads, birds such as summer migrants to the area, hedgerow dwellers and birds of prey, pond dwellers and small fish, ferns and other flora has not been described. The impact of discharging daily more than1000 litres of treated water into the pond has not been considered.

b) no mention has been made of the facilities necessary to support the full-time and part-time employees managing the seven lodges. No toilet or associated personal hygiene facilities, no rest area or shelter provided where visitors can be processed when they arrive at the lodge site, and no under-cover storage area for keeping cleaning equipment necessary to service the lodges has been planned. No plans have been submitted for detecting and preventing fires breaking out during any 24 hour period throughout the year, contrary to the Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960, especially relevant with seven lodges placed near to tree plantations.

c) the present land owner of the development site has allowed the adjacent brown field site where chickens were housed to fall into disrepair. This fact does not support the opinion submitted, that re-locating the seven lodges to a green field site will enhance this rural setting and attract visitors.

d) no plan has been submitted for supplying water, gas, electricity, telephone or broadband to the seven lodges. Because no leisure site manager will live on-site, visitors must rely on mobile or a fixed-wire telephones to contact the outside world in case of emergency. No evidence of the strength of signal available to all mobile phone users has been submitted: the Planning Authority has no idea whether any reliable means of communications at the development site exist with the emergency services throughout a 24 hour period, or the site manager. No means of fighting fire has been submitted in this Application, contrary to the Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960.
R Murray

8). John Keegan
I would like to object to the Application in the following terms:

The applicant has obtained a report suggesting that Great Crested Newts, are not in evidence on the site concerned in this application. The fact that there is active pond life, cannot be contested because it is some ten years since I personally printed signs that continue to be placed every year in Hosticle Lane warning of the presence of toads and frogs crossing the road. As mentioned, these signs continue to be used to this very day.

It is possible that the spell of severe winter weather, with very low temperatures from late February to early March 2018 being reported by the Met Office, may have impacted on the breeding program of the Great Crested Newt thus challenging the validity of the conventional eDNA test carried out to establish their presence, or otherwise.

Further to that am I not right in saying that the conventional eDNA tests can establish the presence of Great Crested Newts, but cannot be relied on as an instrument to categorically establish the absence of the creatures, especially when physical observations of their presence is an accepted fact?

The test sample, mentioned in the Application, was received at the Laboratory on the 18/04/18. There is no record of when the sample was taken, but clearly it was at the period of exceptionally cold weather mentioned above. The work of Rees, Baker, Gardner and Gough shows the variance of eDNA detection from samples taken at different periods of the year (Published 26 July 2017) with samples taken in late February and early March exhibiting a markedly lower incidence of positive detection, as compared to the same ponds at other times of the year.

Whilst respecting the work of SureScreen Scientifics I would suggests that, for the reasons mentioned above, their conclusion that there are no Great Crested Newts present on the site in question is suspect, when their physical presence has been observed over a period of years. The report cannot be relied upon as being conclusive.
John Keegan

9). Michael Asher
I am writing to register my OBJECTION to the planning application detailed above. The reasons for my objection are as follows:

1) The proposed development appears to be in the open country and not on ground which has previouslybeen built upon. I object to the use of green fields for the development of further accommodation units.

2) I believe that current planning and development policy does not support development of greenfield sites stating instead that any new developments should in the first instance be on brownfield sites. We cannot continue to encroach on our fields and countryside constructing ever more buildings which will forever change for the worse the look and feel of our countryside.

3) To my knowledge there is currently no supply of electricity to the proposed site and this would require yet further construction and changes to the surrounding countryside. I am not in favour of running high power electric cables either above ground or underground to the site.

4) There is no evidence that this proposed development will be of any benefit to our local and rural economy. Whilst it might benefit the person wishing to develop this area, any development will only negatively impact all the other residents in the area.

5) Traffic and congestion is already an issue on the mostly small and narrow lanes in the area. The development will clearly bring more cars and congestion, more air pollution and more hazards to the roads already crowded with lorries transporting logs, agricultural vehicles and the cars driven by local residents who need them as they travel and work to contribute to the local economy.

6) There is already an oversupply of similar accommodation across the local area and there is no need increase the supply. It is wasteful, harms the peace and tranquillity of the countryside and detracts from the natural beauty of the land.

7) The planning application seeks agreement for 7 lodges, all of the same design and type. This is ugly, will seriously detract from the natural beauty of the area, and lower the value of our natural environment. There is no appeal to 7 uniform lodges offering no visual attraction, no options for anything other than providing a bed for a night, and there also appears to be no thought put towards access for the disabled.

8) There are no footpaths or safe walking routes for occupants of the proposed lodges save for the congested and already busy lanes which have no pedestrian provisions. Anyone who has ever tried to walk on our local roads will know that activity verges on suicide.

9) I am very concerned that this proposed development will carry a serious and negative effect on the character of the area. Currently the area contains many buildings of historic interest, including several Grade I, II, and II* structures. These buildings are lovingly preserved and maintained at no small cost by their current owners and having holiday lodges springing up in their midst can only detract and degrade both the value of these buildings but will also significantly detract from the appeal of the local area as a place for people to come and visit. I certainly would not want to drive through the Lune Valley area on my holiday, admiring the lovely and unique countryside with its glorious vistas and pleasant and quaint villages only to come upon a random collection of modern, uniform and completely out of character lodges.

10) In addition to the point above, the planning application appears to call for a new pull in layby. With ever increasing numbers of travellers in the area, these laybys have become a magnet for transients who generally then leave piles of trash and garbage in their wake. Additionally, we know that at certain times of the year crime rates rise in concert with increased numbers of travellers making all our lives that much more uncertain and dangerous. I believe the Council bears a great responsibility to preserve our health, safety and the security of our property and should not sanction any developments which put these at any further risk.

There are many other issues with this proposed panning application. The lodges do not fit with local architecture, will look out of place, and will not be built from the local standard materials of stone.

There is an apparent contradiction in regards to how many vehicles this development will attract, with statements about 7 vehicle but accommodation proposed for double that number. We all carry a joint responsibility to preserve and protect our natural environment for the future. Encouraging ever more local development will put all our services and the natural environment under yet more pressure.

There is already insufficient local policing, the postal services are under pressure, demand for power and natural resources is ever increasing and this development will serve only to reduce the value of our local amenities, increase pollution (air, light, noise), increase congestion on small and narrow lanes raising hazard levels for both people and wildlife; all of this without any equal counterbalance of benefits to our environment or local rural economy. It is a one-sided transaction with only one winner and the hundreds of local current residents the losers.

This development should not be allowed to happen.
Michael Asher

10). Jason Braithwaite
I am writing to inform you of my strong objection to the revised planning application detailed above (I have already responded to you with regards the original application, my response dated; 21/10/2017). I relate my concerns and reservations below. To my mind the location itself is wholly unsuitable for such a proposed development and would almost certainly require significant additional infrastructure investment from Lancaster City Council itself to provide the public / council services that the project will require in order to address my main concerns. However, even then, there would be many unresolved issues not only for me, but my neighbours and others in the local community. As a consequence, I believe this proposal to be ill conceived and detrimental to the local community. My main reservations (as also noted previously, but with some additional ones here as well) are as follows:

1) Hosticle lane is a single track lane and is totally unsuitable for any increase in traffic. The lane itself is popular with ramblers, walkers and cyclists and even with the existing traffic I witness many ‘near misses’ between all users of the lane (as well as many temporary traffic jams due to the narrowness of the lane). Any increase in volume of traffic (which would occur with the proposed development) would require a significant expansion and investment into widening this lane, coupled to further investment for signage and lighting (currently there is none of either).

2) As a resident located right alongside the proposed site, I can say with confidence that Sadler’s Nook lane is particularly busy with large timber wagons, farm machinery vehicles and HGV deliveries to Hutton Roof (and is especially busy at school time with additional traffic from the major Grammar school in Kirkby Lonsdale) making progression along its route arduous at certain times. Even the current access provision is insufficient and I can see no provision for increased volume mapped into the current application beyond that at the proposed site itself. The scope of this proposal is thus woefully inadequate with serious implications for road safety for all users. Note – as an additional point, current Sat Nav systems send motorists / delivery vans erroneously down Hosticle Lane leading to increased traffic and many impassable situations. This is taking place now and would be compounded even further with the proposed development.

3) As well as the increased traffic, the proposed development would lead to a large and significant increase in noise levels and light pollution for the area.

4) Although there is a proposed new access road onto Sadler’s Nook Lane, it is inevitable that the existing track will still be used.

5) Several holiday lodges and caravan sites already exist within a 2 mile radius of the proposed site – making the premise for this site redundant.

6) The applicant is not a farmer trying to diversify but an individual with no connection to farming in the area and is not resident in the area. In addition, any income generated by the development would be lost to the area’s economy.

7) Modern holiday lodges do not fit into what is predominantly an agricultural and greenfield site.

8) There appears to be a complete lack of supervision or management for what would be over 30 holidaymakers on site. No consideration to this has been given.

9) The proposal is detrimental to the character and appearance of the area.

10) The site is home to a variety of important wildlife species, including the Brown Hare which I see regularly (two or three times a week) from my cottage which over-looks onto the proposed site. Other species I’ve noted include Buzzards, Deer, Badger, and Red Kites.

11) My neighbours have also informed me that previously there have been cases of dead badgers on Hosticle Lane and a dead Roe Deer on Saddlers Nook Lane (collisions with vehicles) – which are evidenced and on record in a communication to the Environmental Department (and should be accessible to you to view and consider).

12) There will be a treatment plant within 100 yards of my cottage with implications of smell and air pollution (my wife is medically diagnosed with Asthma and takes daily treatment for it).

13) There does not appear to be any economic benefit to Whittington as people will not use the village as it has no facilities.

14) There is no consideration for the historical and archaeological importance of the area including Grade II star listed building Sellet Hall.

These are my main reservations for which I contend the application and hope the Council reject the planning application in full.
Jason Braithwaite

11). George Bell
I write to object to the above planning application on the same grounds as before

My house overlooks the proposed site and I have lived here since 1963. I am a farmer by occupation and am familiar with the site as I have farmed and rented it in the past.

Can I reiterate there have never been any chicken sheds on the site as suggested in the application and it is not a brownfieid site as again mentioned in the application. More than 25 years ago there were a few polytunnels housing a duck enterprise where top soil was scraped to one side but this site has always been used for sheep grazing and the duck project only lasted a short time.

I am concerned about the development of the site which will bring increased activity to the area and have a detrimental effect to all farmers surrounding the site. The site appears to have no supervision and at least three sheep farmers have stock adjacent. This will obviously lead to an increase in the possibility of stock interference..

With over 30 occupants on site traffic levels are bound to increase through High Biggins and Low Biggins already blighted by wood yard lorries and H.G.V. deliveries to the Buckle House development in Hutton Roof.

Traffic travelling to Whittington down Hosticle Lane will encounter serious problems as this is a narrow single track lane almost impassable at the best of times.

By the way Whittington will not benefit from this development in any way, it doesn’t have a pub, and limited bus service so most traffic will be to Kirkby Lonsdale.

The proposed lodges are of modern design that I feel would be detrimental to the unique character of this historical site, especially with light pollution and associated signs that would be erected.

I note that the screening to the North of the site is created by a belt of Leylandii. These were planted over 30 years ago and are nearing the end of their life. Occasionally they are blown over by high winds and will sooner rather than later have to be felled. This will cause even more detrimental visual impact to properties overlooking the site

We farmers are encouraged to diversify but as far as I can see if this development is approved then the local farmer who uses the land to graze will lose out and a businessman with no connection to the area will benefit.

I understand that a proposal has to be sustainable but I am concerned that there is no on site supervision in what is a very vulnerable area.

The site is relatively small but once change of land use has been granted there is danger of the site being expanded with the need for on site management and a permanent dwelling which I believe is contrary to planning guidelines.

I have read the ecology report that doesn’t mention the presence of great crested newts, roe deer that live in the adjacent wood or that the pond that is ear marked to take water from the treatment plant can dry up in the summer.

In conclusion whilst much emphasis in the application has been given to blending in with the landscape, being economically beneficial to the area and suggesting that its diversifying to improve a depressed rural area is misleading.

No one will benefit from this locally either economically socially or visually
Yours faithfully
George Bell

12). Michael Redmond
I write with regard to the above application, which proposes the establishment of a number of caravan style chalets for holiday accommodation adjacent to Sadlers Nook Lane, close to the village of Whittington.

Having read the application and many of the comments received from local residents, I too would like to object to this proposal. The application makes a number of erroneous statements, which have been challenged in many of the other responses, and also asserts that the provision of these temporary caravan style lodges will both enhance the local area and contribute to local businesses. From a brief study of the proposed layout of the site and materials to be used then I challenge the first assertion.

As there is no indication of how local businesses might benefit, apart from an unstated assumption that visitors might spend money in the local area, then the issue of financial benefit to the local area is unproven.

There are many other issues that have been raised in other responses and I do not propose to repeat them

here. The simple fact is that there is no recognised need for this development; the application does not reference any document that indicates a shortage of suitable visitor accommodation in the local area. The applicant does not appear to be a local resident (i.e. a person who lives in the area that will be affected by these proposed dwellings) and so it is not clear what personal investment will be made in ensuring that local concerns could be addressed.

In his book ‘The Road to Little Dribbling”, the author Bill Bryson observes “The Lune Valley is as fine as anything in the Lakes….or the neighbouring Dales”. It would be a shame if ill thought through developments of this nature were allowed in the vain hope that they might ‘improve’ the local area. The development proposed in this application will be of no benefit to local residents and other accommodation providers and may well adversely impact the area.
Michael Redmond

13). Iain Sutherland
I object in the strongest possible terms to this application.

One of the main access routes would be along Church Street Whittington, a residential road already extensively used by Heavy Good Vehicles, Log Transports and a variety of large Farm Machinery. To add any further traffic to this residential route would be totally irresponsible and have no consideration for local residents. Hosticle Lane is so narrow as to be almost impassable to all but the smallest of vehicles eg postal vans thereby compounding the problem.

The Package Treatment Plant would require further vehicle movements adding to an already difficult situation
Iain Sutherland

14). Georgina Grundy Campbell MBE
I am writing to lodge my objection to the revised planning application detailed above.

I believe the location of the proposed holiday loges is wholly unsuitable and would only disrupt the local community rather than add to it.

  1. As a resident located right alongside the proposed site I believe the associated increase in traffic that the holiday lodges will bring will create a new risk for my young daughter. Sadler’s Nook lane is already a particularly busy road with large timber wagons, farm machinery and HGVs travelling along the lane quickly on their way to and from Hutton Roof. There is already limited visibility along this route which makes driving precarious but makes walking almost impossible. As a result there are currently no safe walking routes I can use with my daughter and a pushchair to get to Kirkby Lonsdale (the main service centre), and the proposed holiday lodges would exacerbate this problem as an increase in holiday makers would create more traffic as well as potentially force more people to take their lives in their hands and attempt to walk down an unsafe road to get to Kirkby Lonsdale. There appears nothing in these plans that would create any safe footpaths or crossings points that would mitigate these risks.
  2. There are no details of how the site will be managed, maintained or visitors kept safe and as a mother of a young daughter I would worry about that impacts an increase in an unmanaged holiday site would have on her safety.
  3. The area surrounding the proposed site is currently open countryside and agricultural sites and the proposed modern holiday cottages would not fit in with the environment. Instead they would lead to an increase in noise and light population that would negatively impact on bird and animals populations.
  4. Hosticle Lane is a single track lane unable to cope with an increase in traffic. The lane is popular with ramblers, walkers and cyclists and it is a wonderful place to walk with my daughter. Once again the proposed application would jeopardise that with increased traffic, yet no proposals to widen the lane or keep the lane protected. Thus suggesting that the proposed application appears to only increase the potential damage to the community rather than add to it.

These are my main objections to the proposed planning application and I hope that the Council rejects the application in full.
Yours truly
Georgina Grundy Campbell MBE

15 ). Susan Kimber
With regard to this planning application, I would like to object for the following reasons.

  1. The proposed development is within open countryside. The application site is not on the ‘brownfield’ (previously developed) part of the site, despite the planning statement referring to this.
  2. This type of development can only be supported where there is clear evidence of benefit to the rural economy. Nothing has been submitted to demonstrate this benefit.
  3. The proposed new access is on a stretch of road with limited visibility, and there is a constant stream of heavy wagons going to the local timber yard as well the farmers tractors.
  4. There is no consideration regarding the impact on an adjacent grade 1 listed building.
  5. The design of the lodges is not in keeping with the local area.
  6. There is already plenty of capacity in the local area for this type of holiday accommodation. I would sincerely hope that this application will be rejected by your committee.

Yours truly,
Susan Kimber

16). Kirkby Lonsdale Town Council
The Council supports the objections of Whittington Parish Council and recommends refusal on the grounds that:

  1. The site is not a brown field site and there is no justification for developing a green field site in this location;
  2. There are no demonstrable benefits to the rural economy, as required by planning policy;
  3. The development would set a precedent for similar undesirable developments on agricultural land in the area;
  4. Access to Biggins Lane would result in highway safety issues given the limited visibility available and the amount of large vehicles and agricultural machinery which use Biggins Lane.

Kevin Price
Kirkby Lonsdale Town Council

17). Lancashire County Council Highways
I refer to the afore-mentioned application and would like to thank you for the opportunity to comment on the proposal. I have viewed submitted plans and associated highway related documentation and have the following comments to make with regards to the merits of the proposal:

The applicant is seeking consent for the change of use of former agricultural land to that for amenity purposes and the sighting of seven chalet style holiday lodges on the same. Access arrangements are to be taken from the C593 (Biggins Lane) public highway. It is the intention of the applicant to form a new access track from Biggins Lane to service the site with provision for the parking of fourteen vehicles.

Given the sites location in a rural environment it is important that the following +points of note are given due consideration:

    • Use of the holiday chalets to be defined as “holiday accommodation only”. The nature of Biggins Lane and surrounding highway network is not conducive to anything other than the movement of low volumes of traffic. As a consequence, any attempts to establish the site for more permanent means of occupation must be strongly resisted.
    • Communal secure and lockable cycle rack facilities to be provided for the benefit of residents of the site.
    • Measures are included within any proposed development to formalise the point of access and to include:

o  Creation of an oversized length of driveway to allow two vehicles to pass unhindered prior accessing / egressing to / from the adjacent public highway.

o  Laying of limited area of metaled surfacing such as to reduce the likelihood of loose material from the sites access track – tracking out onto surrounding areas of public highway.

o  Creation of an appropriate view line envelope taking into consideration 85% speeds on Biggins Lane in the vicinity of the sites point of access.

  • Should planning approval be granted – has any thought been given to the routeing of caravan sections to the site?
  • Given the sites location in a rural environment there are obvious disadvantages to increased pedestrian movements over lengths of the surrounding network lacking in street lighting or contiguous lengths of footway. That said, it could be construed that many lengths of rural carriageway have similar issues. From this perspective while I would not wish to see increased pedestrian movements along the immediate highway network, a lack of highway facilities should not always be a barrier to a potential development scheme particularly when alternatives arrangements may be available. Consideration to be given to the upgrading of Public Right of Way 1/37/FP1 & Bridleway 1/37/BW21 – (Parish of Whittington, District of Lancaster) as part of any off-site improvement works.

Conclusion:
Afore-mentioned notes indicate a requirement to review applicant proposals on the grounds of a potential for increased risk to users of the network – (pedestrians & cyclists) with the same having a number of notable draw backs & disadvantages in the form of a lack of street lighting, contiguous lengths of footway or the ability of pedestrians to step aside from vehicle running lanes. With the same should planning approval be granted adversely affecting the operation of the surrounding public highway increasing the likelihood of risk to all of its users.

In its current format, I would wish to raise an objection to applicant proposals as submitted though I would be open to further discussions as to how issues outlined could be overcome.

Yours faithfully
Michael Doran
Engineer, Highways Development Control.

In Memoriam

I have used this photograph on a number of occasions over recent years.

However the service for John Haston, to be held at St. Michael the Archangel, Whittington at 12:30 today, gives us an opportunity to dwell on the fact that four of our friends, in this photograph, will be gathering inside the Pearly Gates this afternoon, bemoaning that fact that they can’t attend the Pensioners Lunches at the Dragons Head on a Tuesday.

Requiescat in pace

John Keegan

Gerald’s November Blog

What a happy night we had at the Harvest Supper, good company, good food, and surrounded by fellow villagers – far more enjoyable than sitting at home watching TV.

Congratulations to Malcolm Fell for winning the prize for the Best Managed Farm at the Westmorland County Show. Well done for all the hard work it must have required to reach such a high standard.
Once again the Church was beautifully decorated for the Harvest Festival, each individual window was so nicely decorated and the screen and altar flowers were once again superbly crafted – it really is a pleasure to view these colourful displays.

This month we will be commemorating Remembrance Sunday when we recall the lives of the young men who left our village to fight for their country and never returned. They never got to enjoy the world as we know it today. But for their sacrifices we may never have enjoyed the freedom we take for granted. [Services start in each church at 10.30am – Ed.]

A word of advice to the young man we passed one dark night riding his bike dressed in dark clothing and with no lights to warn other road users – he is an accident statistic waiting to happen. Your parents should have more sense than allow you out on a bike so poorly prepared for the conditions, what a pity we no longer have a local policeman, he would certainly have given you a dressing down and made you walk home!

The next dance at the Village Hall is on Saturday 18 November when Dennis Westmorland will be providing the music.

Gerald Hodgson