Members of the Dartington community have stepped up to support one local resident who has initiated legal action to oppose development plans for the Broom Park field in Dartington. Papers have been served in early June to both South Hams District Council (SHDC) and Baker Estates as part of an application for a Judicial Review of the development planning process.
The legal team bringing the action have found legitimate concerns about the lawfulness of the consultation process in respect of the environment (heritage and design). There is no evidence that an internal consultation, formal or otherwise, with the Heritage Officer was carried out. This is important input at this stage of the planning process, where the suitability of the proposed appearance, scale and layout of the dwellings, the landscaping of the site, as well as the amount of open space are being decided on.
The community strongly feels that their concerns have largely been ignored. Local residents are not opposing the development of new housing on the site, but rather the low standard of consultation by SHDC and Baker Estates and the current plans that SHDC planning committee recently approved. There also remain questions regarding potential flood risk given the latest figures from the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report which will inform the requirements of future developments. And there are ongoing concerns about the impact on air quality and wildlife.
Cllr Jacqi Hodgson, who vehemently opposed the current proposals at the Planning Committee in April said; “It’s a real disappointment that my request to the planning committee for a deferral at the time was not supported. This would have allowed these important issues which were raised then, to be reconsidered and a better planning development that could be a benefit to Dartington and support local housing needs, be brought forward. Local Planning Authorities should ensure that they follow their own policies, not leave it to residents to call them out.”
The renowned rural area of Dartington grew from a number of ancient hamlets and farms around the Dartington Estate, which has long been known as a “centre for progressive learning in arts, ecology and social justice”, as stated on the Dartington Trust website. Recent years have seen a number of new developments and a sharp rise in population density, to the detriment of the local environment. Locals believe that the Dartington ethos should be infused in this development, which sits in the heart of Dartington Village and, that with creative and progressive input, could offer a world class example of social, ecological and environmental design that would be a credit to the locals, the developers and the former landowners, Dartington Trust.
Residents demand a more respectful and sincere engagement from SHDC and from Baker Estates, to create a more appropriate design that better serves the unique heritage of this area. Results of the application for the Judicial Review will be known in about 6 weeks.
More information can be found on; heartofdartington.com; Facebook Group ‘Heart of Dartington’; Instagram (@heartofdartington); and Twitter (@heartofdartington); #heartofdartington