Report shows it IS worth objecting: ‘The value of the site is clearly demonstrated by the strength of feeling expressed by the numerous objectors.’
Some detail from the officer report on the field planning application:
‘Coastal Preservation Area
‘The site lies in the CPA as defined in the LP . Strategy 44 states:
‘Land around the coast and estuaries of East Devon, as identified on the Proposals Map, is designated as a Coastal Preservation Area. Development or any change of use will not be allowed if it would damage the undeveloped/open status of the designated area or where visually connected to any adjoining areas. The coastal Preservation Area is defined on the basis of visual openness and views to and from the sea.
‘The Planning Statement (para 6.2.5) disagrees with not just one but both Planning Inspectors decisions on the adjoining site. It downplays the quality of the character of the site, being poor quality agricultural land and surrounded by existing residential development. The Planning Statement is considered to be completely wrong in this respect and the value of the character of the site is clearly demonstrated by the strength of feeling expressed by the numerous objectors. The Council does not in any way disagree with the appeal decisions and there is no basis to do so.
‘The agent suggests that as a fall-back position a 2 metre high fence could be erected along the site boundary (set back from the highway) under permitted development rights and that this would in itself obscure the views over the site from the highway. To that end the applicant has recently obtained a Certificate of Lawfulness for such a development (21/1086/CPL).
‘To be a proper fall-back position regard must be had to whether such a development is likely to ever be implemented, otherwise it is not a meaningful comparison. The proposed fence serves no obvious purpose and the site appears to be fenced already along this boundary with a post and wire fence which affords views across it. Erecting a fence as proposed is not impossible but were planning permission refused, it is not considered likely that a 2m high closed boarded fence would subsequently be erected being that it serves no additional purpose and would be expensive to erect.
‘Furthermore, the erection of a fence is likely to require the retention of some form of access to the land, through which views would still be possible. Although the applicant has suggested a low level house could be used so that it remains below the height of the 2m fence and is therefore not visible, if a dwelling were erected on site, views of it would still be possible through the access point and other domestic items would
‘The issue of a potential fall-back position is premised on the basis of a misunderstanding of Strategy 44 by the applicant. Development is not allowed in the CPA if it would damage the undeveloped/open status of the designated area. There is no requirement in the policy that this test relies on it being publicly visible. And even if it were held to be so, the second part of the Strategy clearly states that the CPA is defined on the basis of visual openness and views to and from the sea. Fence along the roadside will do nothing to obscure views of the site from the sea. There are also views of the site from the Coastal Footpath leading from Seaton Hole to Beer which can clearly be seen running along the clifftops in the photograph below. Again, a fence along the road will have no bearing on these views as compared to a dwelling.’