Residents of a lodge park in rural Broadland are up in arms against the operator – who they say has acted recklessly and without proper consultation.
Work in the last week to install a new sewage pumping system at Haveringland Hall Country Park has had to be aborted as excavations revealed a shallow water table whose shifting sand made it impossible to carry on. And other works affecting the two lakes- important wildlife havens- have resulted in a serious loss of water – it is feared that many fish and other aquatic life have been killed or otherwise harmed.
‘This latest fiasco is typical of those involved in operating this site,’ said Parish Chair, Nigel Boldero. ‘There have been several breaches of planning controls over the years (including the mis selling of holiday lodges for residential accommodation) and a reckless and uncaring approach to managing the site has consistently ignored those living here.’
‘Royale Life have not even acknowledged, let alone formally recognised and communicated with the Residents Association’, he said.
The latest issues come on top of a planning application to place 280 additional holiday units alongside the 100, mainly elderly, residents on the site. Nearly 3 years ago Alton Towers developer John Broome presented his plans for a ‘five star’ resort at the Park, which would see the holiday lodges and associated facilities placed alongside existing residences and holiday homes on the site.
The original plans raised many objections from local people and key agencies such as Highways, Woodland Trust, Natural England, the Environment Agency and the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England; as well as an online petition of nearly 2000 people. The plans would result in the felling of hundreds of trees, some in ‘Ancient Woodland’ considered in national policies to be ‘irreplaceable’, damage to a County Wildlife Site which includes large lakes that would be lined with densely packed holiday lodges and a water course that feeds other important wildlife conservation areas.
As a result of the objections, over the last year the application has been undergoing a revamp; but local people have complained at the impact the slow pace and missed deadlines are having on those living on the site and further afield. Revised plans are still awaited.
Nigel Boldero said:
‘This has been a painful process for everyone in the local area, but especially those elderly and sometimes frail people living on the site. People have felt under siege for a long time and I have heard that several have sought medical help to cope with the anxiety and stress the delays are causing. The applicants have already missed at least 4 deadlines for submitting revised plans.’
A top-level meeting of planners, local Councillors and Mr. Boldero last week resulted in confirmation that Broadland District Council is now setting a firm date for when the application- in whatever form- will be considered by the Council.
‘There is now an expectation that the applicants will submit revised plans by 28th May and that Broadland ‘s Planning Committee will consider it on 14th July’, said Mr. Boldero
Haveringland (population around 200), perhaps better known for its ancient Stocks and ‘Church in the Fields’, is gearing up for the fight. ‘We are grateful for the support shown for our campaign ‘Line in the Sand’, including from other local parishes’, said Mr. Boldero. ‘We are convinced that ANY more development here is totally inappropriate and will only exacerbate existing problems’, he said.
The Old School, School Road, Haveringland, NR10 4QE
Tel: 01603 754250
AGENDA ITEM 2
Haveringland Parish Meeting -Thursday 27th May 2021
6 parishioners were in attendance online and were joined by Councillor Peter Bulman.
1. Apologies for absence-received from: Jason Hilldrup, Dave Watson, Andrew Whetung, Ann Excell, Stuart Beadle, George Shippam, Councillor Greg Peck.
Chair– Nigel Boldero was proposed and seconded and unanimously elected. Nigel thanked those present and said that he accepted the further term but subject to finding a Clerk soon to fill the vacancy.
Vice chair- Andre Korulus was proposed and seconded and unanimously elected.
Clerk– Those present gave a round of applause in appreciation of Lorna Wilson’s contributions as Clerk over the last 5 years. Nigel had delivered a token of the Parish’s appreciation of her fantastic work earlier in the day. Nigel advised the meeting that he had not received any nominations for Clerk and no one present was proposed. Nigel repeated his concern about the Parish being able to function properly without a clerk, and there was discussion of options including payment, combining with another parish , etc. It was agreed to hold off any action to give a little more time for someone to come forward- ideally by the time of our next scheduled meeting in July.
3. Minutes of the Parish Meeting held on 19th November 2020
These were agreed as an accurate record. There was one matter arising; Deborah Boldero confirmed that she had in hand the engagement of an internal auditor for the Parish accounts.
4.Finance– A report on the current position was received, and the Clerk thanked for this. It was noted that the parish clerk did not wish to submit a claim for expenses during the 2020-2021 financial year as most business had been conducted online.
1. Haveringland Hall Country Park. Nigel gave a verbal update on the application for 280 holiday units at Haveringland Hall Country Park. A set of revised documents were expected to be submitted imminently, and we await what these contain. It was expected that the plans would be determined by Broadland Council’s Planning Committee on 14th July 2021. The role of the ‘Line in the Sand’ Campaign Group was discussed and it was agreed that this Group should prepare the Parish statement on the revised application, with the Haveringland Planning Committee consulted on the draft before its submission.
2. Off shore Windfarms. Andre Korulus gave an update on the various plans for cables to come across the County connecting offshore windfarms. He was keeping the matter under close review and it looked like significant heavy traffic would be generated in the local area during construction in a few years time.
6. Soil dumping on land owned by Hillside Animal Sanctuary- A report on this was received including comments from Norfolk County Council Planning Department. The Parish had been asked to comment on the action to be taken. It was agreed to submit the following comments to Norfolk County Council:
1. We wish to see complete removal of the bunds along Norwich and School Roads which are unsightly and difficult to maintain. We note that newly planted hedgelines along the highway side of these on Norwich Road should in due course provide a barrier for the fields, but fencing will be required in the meantime assuming the field is to be used for grazing animals. We suggest that the landowner is asked to plant a line of native trees (say 2-3 year old saplings at 3-4 metre spacing) on the field side of this hedgeline along Norwich Road (i.e. where the bunds are currently sited) which in due course will provide some shelter to the field and will be beneficial to promoting biodiversity.
2. If the soil in the bunds and all of the piles on the field is NOT contaminated we suggest that this should be spread over the field evenly and immediately, with a view to sowing in the early autumn. However, we request that this spreading be limited to ensure that the ground level next to the trackway running through the field is sloped gently to the edges of this trackwayand that the new gradients of this soil are shallow. This will avoid the need for many/any lorry movements to remove soil, and the nuisance and risks to road safety these would bring.
3. If any of the soil is deemed to be contaminated it should be removed.
4. The proposed routing of any lorry movements should be discussed with the Parish so as to minimise its impact on residents and road safety. We also feel strongly that some form of compensation is due to properties particularly affected by the initial soil dumping and any removal; this is especially the case for properties in Haveringland Road towards the southern boundary of the Parish at or near Stocks Green.
5. We also request, if possible, that the ‘offenders’ be asked to undertake further compensatory action by taking further measures to improve biodiversity; e.g. creation of one or more ponds and associated planting to provide different habitats (these may have to be secured away from any horses or livestock grazing the fields), and additional hedging/tree planting around the edges of the fields. Specific advice (e.g. from Norfolk Wildlife Trust) could be sought on this.
7. Footpaths- a possible application to record a right of way from Norwich Road to the Church was discussed; the gate to the main track was being locked and whilst Hillside had previously agreed for this to be kept unlocked during daylight hours, it had been found to be locked on several occasions recently, and the code for the lock had been changed without notice. The importance of vehicular access to the church for those tending graves, attending services etc. was noted. It was noted that the Clerk had previously commenced working on this and had been advised that any right of way needed to join a public road at either end, so requiring registration of the complete semi circular track that approaches the church and then rejoins Norwich Road near its junction with School Road. It was also noted that the deadline for registration of rights of way had been extended to 2026. The wish of the Church Action Group to see this right of way established was also noted. The need for a permissive path from the Country Park to the Church was also noted. It was agreed to pursue the right of way, once a new Clerk was in post or someone else was willing to pursue this on behalf of the Parish.
8.Updates– summer litter pick– Deborah Boldero proposed this and the idea was supported. Deborah would publicise this shortly.
9.Any other urgent business:
Policing Priorities- Nigel noted a meeting of the Safer neighbourhoods Partnership was due soon and he sought views on local policing priorities. Those present mentioned speeding traffic and road safety as the two priorities.
10. Date of next meeting: agreed as 22nd July 7pm in order to approve necessary financial documents (venue or online to be confirmed)
Nigel Boldero, Chair – June 7th 2021
AGENDA ITEM 3.1
Haveringland Parish Meeting, Norfolk
Bank reconciliation 2020-21
Annual Governance and Accountability Return
Financial year ending 31st March 2021
Balance at bank statement at 16 June 2020 (end of year*)
Petty cash float
Balance end of year*
* Reconciled against statement to include all income and expenditure for financial year ending 31st March 2021. No further financial transactions from 16 June 2020 to 31 March 2021.
The village sign is on the village green adjacent to the stocks. An insurance policy has been taken out with Zurich Insurance which includes public liability.
The stocks are a grade 2 listed monument. The stocks are on the village green. The land on which they stand is not highway land, nor is it on the deeds of any residents. They are not insurable.
The well on the village green is on the deeds of Stocks Cottage, Haveringland and is the responsibility of the three houses which have right to draw water from the well.
Haveringland Parish Meeting has no petty cash.
The Clerk to Haveringland Parish meeting receives expenses.
Data protection policy
Haveringland Parish Meeting has adopted a Data Protection Policy. All officers of the Parish Meeting are aware of this policy. The Parish clerk will act as Data Protection Officer.
The clerk resigned on 1 April 2021, the Parish is taking steps to appoint a new clerk
Asset Register 2020-2021
Haveringland Parish Meeting has erected a village sign which is covered by an insurance policy.
AGENDA ITEM 3.4.1
AGENDA ITEM 3.4.2
AGENDA ITEM 3.4.3
AGENDA ITEM 3.4.4
AGENDA ITEM 3.4.5
AGENDA ITEM 3.4.6
Haveringland Parish Meeting, Norfolk Notice of Public Right to View
Annual Governance and Accountability Return
for the year ended 31st March 2021
1. Haveringland Parish Meeting has completed the Annual Governance and Accountability Return for the year ended 31st March 2021 and the accounts have been published.
2. The Annual Governance and Accountability Return is available for inspection by any local government elector between Monday 2 August and Monday 13 September 2021, on Mondays to Fridays (at a mutually agreed time), when any local government elector may make copies of the Annual Return.
Please apply to:
3. Copies will be provided to any local government elector on payment of £1 for each copy of the Annual Governance and Accountability Return. It is available to view on the parish meeting’s website.
1. The statement of accounts prepared by the authority (i.e. the Annual Governance & Accountability Return (AGAR) Part 2PM), the accounting records for the financial year to which the audit relates and all books, deeds, contracts, bills, vouchers, receipts and other documents relating to those records must be made available for inspection by any person interested, during a period of 30 working days set by the smaller authority (i.e. the parish meeting) and including the first 10 working days of July.
2. The period referred to in paragraph (1) starts with the day on which the period for the exercise of public rights is treated as having been commenced i.e. the day following the day on which all of the obligations in paragraph (3) below have been fulfilled.
3. The Chair must, on behalf of that authority, publish (which must include publication on the authority’s website where the parish meeting has a website):
(a) the Accounting Statements (i.e. Section 2 of the AGAR Part 2), accompanied by:
(i) a declaration, signed by that officer to the effect that the statement of accounts will not be audited on account of that authority’s self-certified status as exempt, unless either a request for an opportunity to question the auditor about the authority’s accounting records under section 26(2) or an objection under section 27(1) of the Act, results in the involvement of the local auditor;
(ii) the Annual Governance Statement (i.e. Section 1 of the AGAR Part 2PM); and
(iii) the Certificate of Exemption (i.e. Page 3 of the AGAR Part 2PM); and
(b) a statement that sets out—
(i) the period for the exercise of public rights;
(ii) details of the manner in which notice should be given of an intention to inspect the accounting records and other documents;
(iii) the name and address of the local auditor;
(iv) the provisions contained in section 25 (inspection of statements of accounts etc), section 26 (inspection of documents etc) and section 27 (right to make objections at audit) of the Act, as they have effect in relation to the authority in question;
HOW DO YOU DO IT?
1. You will meet statutory requirements if you fully and accurately complete the notice of public rights pro forma in this document, and
2. If the parish meeting has a website, publish the following documents on the website, the day before the public rights period commences. It the parish meeting has no website, the following documents must simply be displayed in the local area for 14 days:
the approved Sections 1 and 2 of Part 2PM of the AGAR; and
the completed Notice of Public Rights and Publication of Annual Governance & Accountability Return (Exempt Authority). Please note that we have pre-completed it with the following suggested dates: Monday 14 June – Friday 23 July 2021. (The latest possible dates that comply with the statutory requirements are Thursday 1 July – Wednesday 11 August 2021); and
the notes which accompany the Notice (Local authority accounts: a summary of your rights).
HAVERINGLAND PARISH MEETING
NOTICE OF PUBLIC RIGHTS AND PUBLICATION OF ANNUAL GOVERNANCE & ACCOUNTABILITY RETURN (EXEMPT AUTHORITY)
ACCOUNTS FOR THE YEAR ENDED 31 MARCH 2021
Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014 Sections 25, 26 and 27
The Accounts and Audit Regulations 2015 (SI 2015/234)
1. Date of announcement 22 July 2021 (a) 2. Each year the smaller authority prepares an Annual Governance and Accountability Return (AGAR). The AGAR has been published with this notice. It will not be reviewed by the appointed auditor, since the smaller authority has certified itself as exempt from the appointed auditor’s review.Any person interested has the right to inspect and make copies of the AGAR, the accounting records for the financial year to which it relates and all books, deeds, contracts, bills, vouchers, receipts and other documents relating to those records must be made available for inspection by any person interested. For the year ended 31 March 2021, these documents will be available on reasonable notice by application to: (b) Andre Korolus, Vice Chair, Stocks House, Haveringland Road, Haveringland commencing on (c) Monday 2 August 2021 and ending on (d) Monday 13 September 20213. Local government electors and their representatives also have: The opportunity to question the appointed auditor about the accounting records; andThe right to make an objection which concerns a matter in respect of which the appointed auditor could either make a public interest report or apply to the court for a declaration that an item of account is unlawful. Written notice of an objection must first be given to the auditor and a copy sent to the smaller authority. The appointed auditor can be contacted at the address in paragraph 4 below for this purpose between the above dates only. 4. The smaller authority’s AGAR is only subject to review by the appointed auditor if questions or objections raised under the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014 lead to the involvement of the auditor. The appointed auditor is:PKF Littlejohn LLP (Ref: SBA Team)15 Westferry CircusCanary WharfLondon E14 4HD (firstname.lastname@example.org) 5. This announcement is made by (e) Nigel Boldero, Chair, Haveringland Parish Meeting
(a) Insert date of placing of the notice which must be not less than 1 day before the date in (c) below (b) Insert name, position and address/telephone number/ email address, as appropriate, of the Chair or other person to which any person may apply to inspect the accounts (c) Insert date, which must be at least 1 day after the date of announcement in (a) above and at least 30 working days before the date appointed in (d) below (d) The inspection period between (c) and (d) must be 30 working days inclusive and must include the first 10 working days of July. (e) Insert name and position of person placing the notice – this person must be the Chair of the parish meeting
LOCAL AUTHORITY ACCOUNTS: A SUMMARY OF YOUR RIGHTS
Please note that this summary applies to all relevant smaller authorities, including parish meetings where there is no parish council.
The basic position
The Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014 (the Act) governs the work of auditors appointed to smaller authorities. This summary explains the provisions contained in Sections 26 and 27 of the Act. The Act and the Accounts and Audit Regulations 2015 also cover the duties, responsibilities and rights of smaller authorities, other organisations and the public concerning the accounts being audited.
As a local elector, or an interested person, you have certain legal rights in respect of the accounting records of smaller authorities. As an interested person you can inspect accounting records and related documents. If you are a local government elector for the area to which the accounts relate you can also ask questions about the accounts and object to them. You do not have to pay directly for exercising your rights. However, any resulting costs incurred by the smaller authority form part of its running costs. Therefore, indirectly, local residents pay for the cost of you exercising your rights through their council tax.
The right to inspect the accounting records
Any interested person can inspect the accounting records, which includes but is not limited to local electors. You can inspect the accounting records for the financial year to which the audit relates and all books, deeds, contracts, bills, vouchers, receipts and other documents relating to those records. You can copy all, or part, of these records or documents. Your inspection must be about the accounts, or relate to an item in the accounts. You cannot, for example, inspect or copy documents unrelated to the accounts, or that include personal information (Section 26 (6) – (10) of the Act explains what is meant by personal information). You cannot inspect information which is protected by commercial confidentiality. This is information which would prejudice commercial confidentiality if it was released to the public and there is not, set against this, a very strong reason in the public interest why it should nevertheless be disclosed.
When smaller authorities have finished preparing accounts for the financial year and approved them, they must publish them (including on a website). There must be a 30 working day period, called the ‘period for the exercise of public rights’, during which you can exercise your statutory right to inspect the accounting records. Smaller authorities must tell the public, including advertising this on their website, that the accounting records and related documents are available to inspect. By arrangement you will then have 30 working days to inspect and make copies of the accounting records. You may have to pay a copying charge. The 30 working day period must include a common period of inspection during which all smaller authorities’ accounting records are available to inspect. This will be 1-14 July 2021 for 2020/21 accounts. The advertisement must set out the dates of the period for the exercise of public rights, how you can communicate to the smaller authority that you wish to inspect the accounting records and related documents, the name and address of the auditor, and the relevant legislation that governs the inspection of accounts and objections.
The right to ask the auditor questions about the accounting records
You should first ask your smaller authority about the accounting records, since they hold all the details. If you are a local elector, your right to ask questions of the external auditor is enshrined in law. However, while the auditor will answer your questions where possible, they are not always obliged to do so. For example, the question might be better answered by another organisation, require investigation beyond the auditor’s remit, or involve disproportionate cost (which is borne by the local taxpayer). Give your smaller authority the opportunity first to explain anything in the accounting records that you are unsure about. If you are not satisfied with their explanation, you can question the external auditor about the accounting records.
The law limits the time available for you formally to ask questions. This must be done in the period for the exercise of public rights, so let the external auditor know your concern as soon as possible. The advertisement or notice that tells you the accounting records are available to inspect will also give the period for the exercise of public rights during which you may ask the auditor questions, which here means formally asking questions under the Act. You can ask someone to represent you when asking the external auditor questions.
Before you ask the external auditor any questions, inspect the accounting records fully, so you know what they contain. Please remember that you cannot formally ask questions, under the Act, after the end of the period for the exercise of public rights. You may ask your smaller authority other questions about their accounts for any year, at any time. But these are not questions under the Act.
You can ask the external auditor questions about an item in the accounting records for the financial year being audited. However, your right to ask the external auditor questions is limited. The external auditor can only answer ‘what’ questions, not ‘why’ questions. The external auditor cannot answer questions about policies, finances, procedures or anything else unless it is directly relevant to an item in the accounting records. Remember that your questions must always be about facts, not opinions. To avoid misunderstanding, we recommend that you always put your questions in writing.
The right to make objections at audit
You have inspected the accounting records and asked your questions of the smaller authority. Now you may wish to object to the accounts on the basis that an item in them is in your view unlawful or there are matters of wider concern arising from the smaller authority’s finances. A local government elector can ask the external auditor to apply to the High Court for a declaration that an item of account is unlawful, or to issue a report on matters which are in the public interest. You must tell the external auditor which specific item in the accounts you object to and why you think the item is unlawful, or why you think that a public interest report should be made about it. You must provide the external auditor with the evidence you have to support your objection. Disagreeing with income or spending does not make it unlawful. To object to the accounts you must write to the external auditor stating you want to make an objection, including the information and evidence below and you must send a copy to the smaller authority. The notice must include:
confirmation that you are an elector in the smaller authority’s area;
why you are objecting to the accounts and the facts on which you rely;
details of any item in the accounts that you think is unlawful; and
details of any matter about which you think the external auditor should make a public interest report.
Other than it must be in writing, there is no set format for objecting. You can only ask the external auditor to act within the powers available under the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014.
A final word
You may not use this ‘right to object’ to make a personal complaint or claim against your smaller authority. You should take such complaints to your local Citizens’ Advice Bureau, local Law Centre or to your solicitor. Smaller authorities, and so local taxpayers, meet the costs of dealing with questions and objections. In deciding whether to take your objection forward, one of a series of factors the auditor must take into account is the cost that will be involved, they will only continue with the objection if it is in the public interest to do so. They may also decide not to consider an objection if they think that it is frivolous or vexatious, or if it repeats an objection already considered. If you appeal to the courts against an auditor’s decision not to apply to the courts for a declaration that an item of account is unlawful, you will have to pay for the action yourself.
If you wish to contact your authority’s appointed external auditor please write to the address in paragraph 4 of the Notice of Public Rights and Publication of Unaudited Annual Governance & Accountability Return.
All Haveringland residents are welcome to attend this Parish Meeting
1. To receive apologies for absence
2. To elect:
3. Minutes of the Parish Meeting held on 19th November 2020 (attached)
To agree as an accurate record
Matters arising not dealt with elsewhere on the agenda
4. Finance– to receive an update (report attached)
5. Planning– to receive a verbal update on the application for 280 holiday units at Haveringland Hall Country Park and to discuss authorising the ‘Line in the Sand’ Campaign Group to speak on behalf of the Parish
6. Soil dumping on land owned by Hillside Animal Sanctuary- to receive a report and agree Parish comments to be made to Norfolk County Council (report attached)
7. Footpaths– to discuss a possible application to record a right of way from Norwich Road to the Church
summer litter pick
9. Any other urgent business previously notified
10. Date of next meeting: suggested as 22nd July 7pm in order to approve necessary financial documents (venue or online to be confirmed)
Soil dumping at Haveringland on land owned by Hillside Animal Sanctuary
Following the reporting of the soil dumping to Norfolk County Council the following message has been received by the Chair from the Planning Officer dealing with the matter:
‘I am deeply concerned by the tipping of soil on the field but also concerned by the establishment of the bund around the land. To deal with the bund first:
It is my understanding that the bund was constructed in 2018. A bund may be used as a means of enclosure of land and express planning permission is not required provided it falls within certain criteria; if the bund is adjacent to the highway it must be no more than 1 metre high and in all other cases no more than 2 metres high. The bund is adjacent to the highway and it is approx. 2.5 metres high. There is no express planning permission in place for the bund.
The tipping of waste for agricultural improvement is permitted in certain circumstances. It is understood that the landowner wants to improve the land for use as part of the Horse Sanctuary operation. The land has been raised by approx. 1 metre. The permitted development right requires that the tipping of waste must be ‘reasonably necessary’ for the purposes of agriculture.
I would argue that there are more reasonable ways of improving the land than tipping 1m depth of waste on it. The preferable way of improving the land is to stone-pick it, level it and seed it. If tipping of soil is the method to be employed, then a layer of no more than 300mm would be sufficient to give an appropriate growing medium for a crop. The fact that a layer of 1000mm has been spread indicates to me that this is not an agricultural improvement exercise, it is a waste disposal exercise and is unlawful.
The question is what we should do about all of this. It is my understanding that the Environment Agency are talking to the waste carrier and have stopped the import of further volumes of soil. The construction of the bund is an engineering operation and the decision about whether to take any action falls to Broadland District Council.
With regard to the deposit of waste on land, I would be guided by the Parish Council and the Environment Agency. While it is a breach of planning control, I must deal with the issues in accordance with the County Council’s Planning Enforcement Protocol. The primary purposes of the protocol is to ensure that any harm to land is remedied and to ensure that no one operator gains an unfair commercial advantage through failing to comply with planning law. I will be taking the views of all parties into account but the primary considerations will be:
Is the soil likely to be a pollution risk?
Is the tipping of the soil likely to cause an unacceptable harm to the landscape?
Is the removal of the soil likely to cause greater harm than leaving it in place? (Traffic, noise, traversing across the land repeatedly)
Is the offender likely to re-offend if we take no action?
Has the offender gained an unfair commercial advantage thereby disadvantaging responsible operators?
I would very much appreciate it if you could consult your Parish Council on these matters and give me your collective opinion.
Any decision I take will need to be endorsed by a senior manager of the Planning Services team. The County Council’s decision will not prevent Broadland District Council or the Environment Agency from taking action as they see fit.’
The Parish Meeting is asked to consider its response to the matter. At the time of writing no further information on the state of the soil or comments from other agencies have been received (an update will be given at the meeting). Here is a suggested draft Parish response:
We seek complete removal of the bunds along Norwich and School Roads which are unsightly and difficult to maintain – also, hedgelines have been planted on the highway side of these on Norwich Road which will in due course provide a barrier for the fields- fencing will be required in the mean time.
If the soil is NOT contaminated (all piles and the bunds) this should be spread over the field evenly and immediately, with a view to sowing in the early autumn. (This will avoid the need for many lorry trips to remove it).
The ‘offender’ (this is considered by the County Council to be both the landowner and contractor) provides for the planting of a decent row of trees (say 2- 3 year old native species at 4 metre spacing) on the field edges where the bunds are on Norwich Road (on the field side of the new hedgeline)- this can be done in the early autumn at the same time as seeding the fields and will in time provide a positive contribution to biodiversity and in due course help to provide shelter from the west.
We request consideration be given to further compensatory action by ‘the offender’ by further measures to improve biodiversity; e.g. creation of one or more ponds and associated planting to provide different habitats (these may have to be secured away from any horses or livestock grazing the fields), and additional hedging/tree planting around the edges of the fields.
The application was submitted in May 2020. Nearly 200 letters of objection and consultee comments (including one from the Parish Meeting), an online and written petitions with nearly 1800 names against the proposals were lodged with Broadland Council.
Since then the applicants have been in discussion with the Council about the need for additional information and key concerns. The latest information is that the applicants intend to submit a large number of additional or revised documents, including a new layout plan, in ‘early January’ 2021. Council officers have provisionally timetabled the application for consideration by the Council’s Planning Committee on 24th February.
The Haveringland Parish Meeting has been monitoring the process through a ‘Campaign Group’ made up of the Parish Planning Committee and a number of other local residents who have special skills or experience or live close to the application site. This group has contacted the Council’s Planning officers on several occasions over recent months and has raised a number of points and concerns:
1.The inadequacy of the Council’s assessment of the application when submitted, including the lack of an Environmental Impact Assessment given the potential impact of the proposals on important, protected ecological sites beyond the immediate area. This lack of assessment and acceptance of the application for registration has resulted in an application which lacks a number of critical assessments or permissions.
2.The inadequacy of the Council’s consultation process, given the scale and potential impact of the proposals. This involved sending 116 letters to local residents (a number of these were not received), the posting of one site notice and a local newspaper advertisement and consultation requests to other organisations. The Council also failed to gain adequate assurance from the Applicants that all landowners directly affected by the proposals had been formally notified by them. The Parish Meeting publicised the proposal and contacted a number of organisations with a legitimate interest in them such as adjoining parish councils and a range of other organisations such as the Norfolk Wildlife Trust, Campaign for the Protection of Rural England and Woodland Trust.
3. The lack of a proactive approach to managing the further discussions and work on the proposals with a poor response to requests for information from the Parish Meeting. This has resulted in the escalation of anxiety and stress for many elderly and vulnerable residents already living on the site and elsewhere, a loss of trust in the independence of the Council and a considerable expense of time and resources which could have been avoided if the application had not been accepted until it had the necessary documentation and assessments in place. The national ‘Planning Guarantee’ that all applications should be determined within 26 weeks of registration has not been met. The Council has appointed a new Case Officer for the application, arguing that workload issues had affected the responsiveness of the former Case Officer. Given the scale of the additional or revised information and documentation being proposed, the Parish Meeting has urged the Council to request the applicants to withdraw the current application and to submit a new one, after ensuring that the necessary assessments and documentation are in place. The Council have rejected this request.
4.The lack of clarity over the ownership, management and other roles of the large number of companies or individuals involved in the application or on the current site. These number at least 6 companies, some of which are apparently insolvent, and others which have a poor track record of dealing with previous site development conditions or management issues on this site and others across the UK. The Parish Meeting has urged the Council to ask the applicants for clarity on this, but to date they have chosen not to and argue that this and the history of the site (with a pattern of breaching or ineffective enforcement of planning conditions, mis selling of holiday units for residential use etc.) are not ‘material’ considerations for determining the application. We disagree, and argue that this information is important for determining the application, as, if approved, it is of significant complexity and would likely require a legal agreement between the Council and the relevant company to accompany any approval with conditions. Similarly this knowledge is critical for the Council to fulfill its site licensing responsibilities, and to give those living or owning properties on the site a clear point of accountability for day to day management and operation of the site, something they currently lack.
We now await the submission of revised/new documents, and assuming that the promised date of ‘early January’ is met, the Council have confirmed that a further consultation period of 21 days will be allowed. The Parish Meeting have asked the Council to ensure all those individuals and organisations already submitting comments should be informed of the revised documents and their comments invited, and subject to the nature of the revised plans, to continue to consider these and previous comments as relevant. We await a response on this request.
The Parish Meeting remains committed to its position of ‘A line in the sand- NO more development at Haveringland Hall Country Park’.
We will be considering the revised application early in 2021 and urge all those who have supported this position to renew their commitment to this when the opportunity arises.
1. We are a small parish in mid Norfolk and have had experiences of the current planning system which have informed our response to this consultation.
2. Whilst welcoming the wish to simplify and streamline the current planning system, we have serious reservations about whether this can be achieved without resulting in poorer planning decisions, made without proper assessment and scrutiny.
3. The questions arising over development of most if not all sites are invariably complex, and the Government’s wish to speed things up runs the very real risk of oversimplifying matters, and reducing the scope for proper scrutiny and evaluation. Having one 6-week period of public consultation in the shortened Local Plan-making process does not provide an adequate opportunity for this assessment to be undertaken.
4. The proposals would also appear to allow new settlements to come forward under the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIP) regime, which would divorce them from the local planning process and therefore local scrutiny.
5. Furthermore, it is clear that after many years of reducing resources and capacity, the local authorities and other bodies in place to properly inform and enforce planning decisions and designations (for wildlife etc.) are in a very poor position to inform the planning process in an effective way. Significant investment in enhancing this capacity is required before any major changes to the planning system are brought in.
6. We also feel that the current proposals focus too much on the need for more housing (important though this is), and at the same time blames the current planning process for the lack of new housing. It is clear that landowners and developers are most at fault through land hoarding and constraining supply to maximise their returns; i.e. it is an unregulated housing market that is the main reason why the necessary housing (including much needed affordable and social housing) is not being built quickly enough.
7. We are pleased to see proposals to prioritise brownfield development, setting higher standards in design and improving the mechanisms by which planning gain is captured for the benefit of communities. However, we feel that there are a number of other issues that any fundamental reform of the system should address:
The requirement for multi local authority local plans to replace single local authority plans where this makes strategic sense (as is the case in Norwich and its surrounding areas)- this should remove the complicated overlapping and duplication of planning policies at local level.
Any shift from the application for outline planning permission to sites being given ‘in principle’ approval through the proposed local plan zoning system should be accompanied by the necessary resources and adequate time (more than 6 weeks) for effective assessment and consultation (including the local community).
Confirmation that Ancient Woodlands and other protected sites (e.g. SSSI’s and County Wildlife sites) are afforded automatic national protection prior to their inclusion in local plan zoning discussions.
The protection, recovery or improvement of the natural environment and biodiversity in any site to be a key requirement at the stage of considering full planning permission for any site, wherever it is in terms of any zoning.
Stronger sanctions and adequately resourced enforcement of planning decisions, conditions and other authorisations that run in parallel with planning decisions; e.g water extraction, sewage treatment and disposal, natural environment management.
Any approved development to be given a defined timescale for a start on site plus the continuation and completion of development and the enforcement of financial penalties and/or revocation of permissions if these timescales are not adhered to.
A requirement that Planning authorities have a duty to both work constructively with applicants, but also to keeping local communities informed of planning discussions and developments, and for applications to be dealt with in a timely way, without open ended discussion with applicants that prolongs uncertainty.
Encouraging a wide range of ways of engaging local communities in all aspects of the planning process, but recognising that some people are not ‘digitally skilled’ and will require face to face and other ways of being informed and having the opportunity to have their voices heard.
The establishment of minimum standards to apply to all new housing provision in terms of space for different functions, access to open space, net zero in terms of energy consumption and pollution, etc.
The application of design standards and expectations to all forms of development, not just housing. e.g industry, commercial and holiday/residential parks.
The regularisation of the planning position of ‘mobile homes’ should be grasped, including distinguishing between caravans (which can be moved easily and towed by motor vehicles) and prefabricated units that can only be moved infrequently and then by larger vehicles/tow trucks etc. The latter should be treated as equivalent to new housing development and linked to this there should also be measures to prevent the unauthorised residential occupation of ‘holiday homes/lodges’ as residences.
Infrastructure levy- we welcome a national scheme to ensure consistency in charges etc. but these charges should be collected at the point of granting planning permission. This would both incentivise an early commencement of development and avoid situations where a Local Authority commits to the early provision of infrastructure but the developer may not develop the site for some time after this. ‘Social infrastructure’ should be included in the eligible spend of infrastructure charges; e.g. community facilities, plus community development activity, support for voluntary groups , especially important in large new housing developments.