The Planning History

The planning history for the slurry lagoon (below) is a typical example of how Parkham Farms has runs rings around our Local Planning Authority. We finally have a planning application that we hope you will help us have refused. It has taken four years for this to happen. Even after five months of 'negotiations' by the District Council the application that was submitted was invalid and it took a further month for a proper application to be submitted.

There is a very similar story at another farm belonging to Mr Willes. Sedborough farm. Here an equally large lagoon still has no cover eight years after it was built without authorisation. This lagoon was taken out of use about a month ago (as of Nov 10, 2015) to finally prepare it for a cover and to avoid a Breach of Condition Notice. So now the slurry from 1000 cows is going into a very small pit which is then being transported to a lagoon some 7 miles away. It is the one at Beckland Farm, the one we are campaigning against! But because it has taken nine months of 'negotiations' by the Council to force Mr Willes to agree to put a cover on the lagoon, we are now into November. So it is now winter, which means is unlikely to be suitable for fitting a cover for sometime. There is therefore a real danger of having to spread on saturated ground should storage Beckland become full due to slurry from 2 x 1000+ cows. The possibility of run-off polluting streams is very real in these circumstances. The responsible course of action would have been to fit the cover in the summer!. The even more responsible thing would have been to have fitted the cover eight years ago! And so it goes on... and on.

Timeline of the earth bank slurry lagoon at Beckland Farm, Hartland, Devon EX39 6AP
2010:While investigating a pollution incident (see pollution) the Environment Agency also determined that there was insufficient slurry storage at Beckland Farm to support the herd of 1000 cows. PF was therefore advised that it needed to increase the slurry storage facilities.
2011:Application 1/0735/2011/FUL submitted on 26 Jul 2011 for a 70m x 70m slurry lagoon and withdrawn on 06 Oct 2011 after 6 weeks.
2011:A slurry lagoon of 140m x 86m is built without planning permission at a different location to application 1/0735/2011/FUL and twice the size. Note: cf. building of lagoon at Sedborough in 2008 (above).
2012:Retrospective application 1/0046/2012/FULM for 140m x 86m lagoon submitted on 23 Jan 2012.
2014:Despite numerous requests by the Council for information from PF nothing was ever received for nearly 3 years and the application was eventually refused by a unanimous vote of the Plans Committee in Nov 2014.
2015:Retrospective application 1/0011/2015/FULM was submitted on 07 Jan 2015. Again information was not provided as requested. The application was withdrawn on 5 May 2015.
2015:TDC enters negotiations with Mr Willes because of the perceived success of the negotiations over the Sedborough lagoon. We were informed that the objective was to ensure that all the information is provided for a fresh application.
2015:On 7 Aug 2015 we are advised by the Council that a new application will be submitted within 2 to 3 weeks. That is by 28 August 2015.
2015:As of 14 Sep 2015, we have not been informed of any application being submitted and there is no application registered on the planning portal. The lagoon is still in use.
2015:On 18 Sep 2015, after threats of official complaints and FOI requests, we were finally informed that the deadline for the application is now the end of September. We were not told why the deadline had been extended for a month. The end of September then passed without an application being submitted.
2015:On 5 October 2015, we were informed that there was no deadline but that an application was expected to be submitted very soon.
2015:On 13 October 2015, an application was submitted but it was not valid.
2015:On 3 November 2015, the application is finally validated.

Intentional Unauthorised Development

Interestingly, from 31 August 2015, Local Planning Authorities in the UK can now give weight to the fact that a development was an "Intentional Unauthorised Development". For more information on this change of policy click here