PA23/05202: Plans for the erection of an agricultural storage shed on land near Bude has been rejected by Cornwall Council’s planning department. 

Mr Shane May applied to the local authority for permission to undertake the works on land at Shop, Bude. 

The applicants told Cornwall Council: “The applicants are seeking the proposed development as they require an agricultural storage building, for the secure internal storage of planting and packaging equipment, used in connection with the Lavender Plants business operating at the site, with no other buildings suitable for this purpose available on the site. 

“The proposed storage shed will be sited towards the southern side of the site. Given the existing natural screening, this is considered the best possible location within the site. The small-scale proposal is considered necessary for agricultural purposes in line with policy five and results in no adverse visual impact being created, as well as being able to utilise the existing site access.”

Morwenstow Parish Council felt it had to object to the application, saying: “Morwenstow Parish Council would like to be able to support any business going forward; but have reservations about this application. We feel that access is completely unsuitable; and in fact dangerous. We ask that Highways do not use a desktop survey, but attend a site meeting with the Parish Councillors. 

“The map does not represent the current state of overgrown foliage; which is a result of the neglect for maintenance over many years by the custodian of the overall site. 

“We feel that the building suitable for agriculture - as it is, is large for the small amount of acreage there is at the site. We feel that the County Land Agent should be consulted to ascertain whether the finances produced, are in fact viable. 

“The Parish Council has shown concerns going forward that the business may struggle, therefore leaving opportunity for the building to become a ‘Q Application’. 

“This could set a precedent for the other 34 enclosures on this site, of somewhat sporadic development. 

“There does not appear to be any yellow site notice displayed; one may have been present, but is no longer and hasn’t been there for the required statutory time scale. 

“We would like to bring an enforcement investigation case to your attention from May of this year - reference: EN23/00592. Recommendations from the pre application advice from 2021 were to consult with Morwenstow Parish Council and the Ward Member. No consultation with the Parish Council has taken place, regarding any proposal going forward.”

An objection was also received from Highway Development management who said they had serious concerns about the road safety of the application: “Following an assessment of the submitted plans and information, I have the highway comments below. 

“The access has significantly constrained emerging visibility by virtue of the adjoining boundary hedge. Forward visibility of the access is also constrained, situated on the inner curve of a bend in the C30. 

“Land to improve the visibility splays appears outside the ownership and/or control of the applicants. 

“The C30 is subject to the national speed limit and although vehicular speeds passing the site are lower than this, the absence of emerging and forward visibility, resulting in a lack of inter-visibility, presents a significant risk of collision.

“The proposal is considered an intensification in use over the sites historic use as a green field and if granted permission there would little control over the number of associated vehicle movements. Based on the above, I object to this application, considering it contrary to Policy 27 of the Cornwall Local Plan resulting in an intensification in use of a significantly sub-standard access.”

In an officer report accompanying the planning refusal, one of the council’s planning officers said: “The proposed works are largely for the construction of an agricultural shed which is stated as being necessary in order to provide an “agricultural storage building, for the secure internal storage of planting and packaging equipment, used in connection with the Lavender Plants business operating at the site”. The proposed building will consist of: a sheet metal roof with the addition of solar panels; box profile metal cladding to the walls; roller shutter doors to the north elevation; a steel door to the east elevation; and transparent box profile fibreglass sheets to the south elevation. The works will also see the introduction of gravel hardstanding within the immediate surrounding area of the building.

Appraising the application, they added: “It is mentioned that the proposed building is to be used in connection with the Lavender Plants business operating at the site, however from a site visit it did not appear that there was any Lavender business operating from the site. Nonetheless, agricultural businesses such as the one mentioned in this application are generally considered to be appropriate within a rural countryside setting. 

“However, from viewing previous aerial imagery for this area, it is apparent that the site was a part of a larger field until this strip of land was sectioned off in around 2021. 

“The use of this strip of land alone is relatively recent and this land, from which the Lavender business is to operate, is relatively small in scale, measuring at approximately 0.15 hectares. Consequently, the LPA has concerns over whether this small section of land alone can support the Lavender Plant business. Whilst it is noted that some market analysis and costings have been provided to offer some support for the sustainability of the business from the site, there is very limited information provided in the application that justifies if this small recent section of land can in fact support the proposed business. 

“Therefore, whilst generally agricultural businesses in the countryside are supported, it is considered that at present there is insufficient information to suggest that this small section of land can support the Lavender business. 

“Consequently, in the absence of this justification, it cannot be determined that any subsequent identified impacts on the landscape (considered below) are justified.

Rejecting the application, Cornwall Council told Mr May: “Insufficient information has been provided to determine whether the recently sectioned off small strip of land to which this application relates can support a sustainable Lavender Plant business. “In the absence of such justification, the proposed development, due to its location, size and design, would result in a prominent feature, which would intrude on this rural and open landscape. 

“The proposal would not reflect local vernacular, nor would it maintain the character and distinctive landscape qualities of this designated landscape within the Gooseham to Launcells Area of Great Landscape Value. 

“Due to the location of the existing access on the inner curve of a bend in the road, along with the presence of existing established hedgerows on either side of the access, there is extremely limited emerging and forward visibility of the highway and any oncoming vehicles. The site appears to have been previously used as a part of a wider unit, which would of involved minimal trips across this access as a result of the land being potentially farmed as part of a wider holding. 

“Therefore, it is considered that the proposal would result in the intensified use of this unsafe access in order to run the Lavender Plant business from this small section of land alone. 

“Consequently, the intensified use of this unsafe access will have an adverse impact on the local road network that cannot be managed or mitigated. Hence the proposal does not accord with the provisions, aims and intentions of policies 1, 12 and 27 of the Cornwall Local Plan Strategic Policies 2010-2030 (Adopted November 22, 2016) and paragraphs 8 and 110 of the National Planning Policy Framework 2023.”