The sloping land between Glenview and The Lower Glen offered for sale by tender with a closing date of 3 October 2013 has an interesting planning history.
Pre 1975: It was included in the Honiton Report published by Honiton Borough Council and Devon County Council as part of up to (note the words 'up to') 12½ acres of public gardens within a few minutes walk of the New Street shops.
1975: East Devon District Council (EDDC) approved a planning application for the construction of 24 houses and estate road and open space. The open space element was the subject of a planning condition:
'The area of land on the northern side of the estate road shall be laid out, grass seeded and made available as an amenity and play space, details of which previously shall have been submitted to, and approved by, the local Planning Authority. This facility shall be provided within 6 months of the first dwelling being occupied and the land shall be used for no other purpose...'.
The condition was to satisfy a requirement in the outline planning permission.
1980: A planning application to build four pairs of houses was refused by EDDC.
1990: A planning application to build six extendable starter homes with car parking was refused by EDDC as:
'The proposed development will seriously damage the character and amenity and general environment of the area, especially ‘The Glen’ to the south and will spoil not only the setting and natural environment of The Glen, but also the public’s enjoyment of the Glen... the dwellings will be prominent in the locality and will be out of character with the nearby development and be obtrusive and dominant when seen from the Glen.'
1991: An appeal against this refusal was dismissed by a Planning Inspector; the decision included:
‘It was readily apparent from my inspection that the proposed dwellings would be seen as prominent extensions of development onto open land from the estate road, Glenview, and from a wide range of viewpoints within the extensive, attractive, public open space known as The Glen, to the south. In my opinion the prominence of the development now proposed on this site, located on the upper part of the steep slope rising up to Glenview would not only have a significant adverse effect on the appearance and character of the locality generally but also seriously detract from the merits of The Glen as an important local public amenity open space. I am in no doubt that the site should remain part of the whole area of open land required to be laid out as amenity and play space by a condition attached to the planning consent for the development of Glenview.
1993: A planning application for a detached bungalow and garage was refused by EDDC as it was considered that:
'The proposed development will damage the character, amenity and general environment of the area, especially ‘The Glen’ to the south and will spoil not only the setting and natural environment of The Glen, but also the publics enjoyment of The Glen, because of the levels and nature of the site the Local Planning Authority consider that the dwelling will be obtrusive and dominant when seen from The Glen'.
1995: The appeal against this refusal was dismissed by a Planning Inspector; the decision included:
'The appeal site comprises the eastern end of a parcel of undeveloped land running along the southern side of Glenview and was intended to become an open amenity area as part of the development of the houses opposite... I consider it would interfere with the public enjoyment of the open aspect across the valley from the north. This view is important nd contributes to the pleasant qualities of the street scene. Being mindful of the advice at paragraph 27 of Planning Policy Guidance Note No. 3, I consider that this open space is valuable asset which deserves to be retained.... From the pathways next to the brook, even with additional planting, I consider that the dwelling and the engineered and cultivated garden would be intrusive and erode the present character and appearance of this part of the park.'
1999: The Honiton Millennium Green was intended to include this land and planning permission was granted by EDDC. The application included the proposed layout. This would not have been done unless there was a realistic hope, subsequently unfulfilled, of acquiring the land.
2004: EDDC stated that land designated as Land of Local Amenity Importance within the Local Plan is unlikely to be developed other than for community purposes for the foreseeable future...
2010: The Adopted Local Plan designates the land as:
'Land of Local Amenity Importance – Open spaces within or adjoining settlements which make an important contribution to their character and identity by nature of their land form/trees or features. Some have public access.'
2012: The Draft Local Plan April 2012 includes:
'Development of land shown on the Proposals Map as being Land of Local Amenity Importance will not be permitted unless a clear community need for the proposal has been identified and where the development cannot be accommodated elsewhere and would either complement or not undermine the open character of the area'.
and also designates the land as covered by Policy RAAAOS: Recreation Areas, Allotments, Accessible Open Space.
2013: Described in the sale brochure as:
'A small parcel of land strategically situated close to the centre of the town, offering potential for future development (subject to planning).'
Underlining has been added to some of the above for emphasis.
The national population has been rising for several years and the Coalition Government seems to be making it easier for land to be developed. A piece of land in Seaton which a Planning Inspector decided in 2003 should not be built on and recommended should always remain as open space, was subject to a grant of planning permission by EDDC for housing in 2011. Mindful of this, Honiton Town Council nominated the land at Glenview to be registered by EDDC as an Asset of Community Value as allowed by the Coalition Government's Localism Act 2012. The nomination referred to much of the land having common boundaries with other public space: publicly maintained footpath and The Glen, The Honiton Millennium Green and the road Glenview. No barriers have been erected or notices displayed to deter the community from using the land and informal accesses to the public footpath, through the hedge forming part of the property for sale, have not been closed. These are in addition to the planning history repeatedly confirming the community value of the land.
Honiton Town Council was informed at the meeting held on 11 November 2013 that the nomination of the land to be added to the Register of Community Assets had been successful (see News on this website).