Dear Fremington residents
The following planning application TO BUILD IN THE FIELD ADJACENT TO FREMINGTON CEMETERY has now been submitted by GAYTONS FUNERAL DIRECTOR BUSINESS to North Devon Planning Department
'PLANNING APPLICATION 65724 - (ERECTION OF ONE BUILDING TO PROVIDE FUNERAL PARLOUR WITH ASSOCIATED OFFICES, WORKSHOPS AND GARAGING TOGETHER WITH ERECTION OF SUPERVISORY DWELLING WITH DETACHED GARAGE)'
The most important thing to object about is the fact that this proposed commercial and residential development is COMPLETELY OUTSIDE the Fremington development boundary WITHOUT ANY REAL JUSTIFICATION FOR BUILDING IT THERE.
This has huge significance for THE FUTURE OF FREMINGTON
Because if this application is approved, the Fremington development boundary will be pushed back by up to 300 feet (100 m) ALONG THE VILLAGE BOUNDARY LINE
This would leave a BIG gap of green field area inbetween the new development site and the existing development boundary line,
ready and waiting for developers to move in.
Once anyone is allowed to build outside the boundary, any housing developer could immediately submit planning applications to build in the green fields between Gaytons new site and the existing boundary (basically, to fill in the gap).
These developers will argue - 'why shouldn't we get the same rights to build outside the boundary line if Gaytons can do it' - and the Council will not be able to refuse them!
BUT THIS APPLICATION CAN BE STOPPED!
NEW PLANNING LAWS for NORTH DEVON CAME INTO EFFECT ON OCT 29th ('The LOCAL PLAN') AND THEY EMPHASISE THE NEED TO PROTECT GREEN FIELDS THAT HAVE NOT YET BEEN BUILT IN!
Therefore the Council WILL take into account local public opinion about the development boundary, so PLEASE TAKE THE TIME TO submit an objection now. It doesn't have to be long, just a paragraph will do!
You have until November 21st to get your objections submitted to the Council Planning Department.
SUBMIT YOUR OBJECTIONS ONLINE HERE:
(Use the 'search and comment on a current application' link)
WRITE TO THE PLANNING DEPARTMENT at the following address:
Strategic Development and Planning,
North Devon Council
Barnstaple, EX31 1DG
MAKE SURE YOU INCLUDE THE APPLICATION REFERENCE NUMBER IN YOUR OBJECTION (65724) AND MAKE SURE YOU MAKE IT CLEAR RIGHT FROM THE START THAT YOU 'OBJECT', RATHER THAN AGREE WITH THE APPLICATION (e.g. some people write 'I OBJECT' in capitals at the start of their letter).
EACH PERSON IN YOUR HOUSEHOLD IS ENTITLED TO SUBMIT THEIR OWN INDIVIDUAL OBJECTIONS, SO IF THERE ARE 3 PEOPLE IN YOUR HOUSEHOLD, YOU CAN SUBMIT 3 ENTIRELY SEPARATE LETTERS/ONLINE OBJECTIONS.
If you send a letter, it should include your name and address with your comments on the application, but no other personal details such as phone number, email address or a signature. Remember, the Planning Office consider all comments BUT ONLY MATERIAL PLANNING OBJECTIONS are taken into account.
(More detailed info on what you can include in an objection letter can be seen here)
So what type of MATERIAL OBJECTIONS could you include?
Here are some examples that are relevant to this type of proposed development:
MATERIAL OBJECTION 1. The proposed commercial and residential development is OUTSIDE the Fremington development boundary
The existing development boundary for Fremington runs along the back of the houses and bungalows either side of Old School Lane. New development should take place INSIDE the boundary only. If Gayton's application is approved, the Fremington development boundary will be PUSHED BACK into the green fields by up to 300 feet (100 m) and will leave a BIG gap of green field area inbetween Gaytons site and the existing boundary line. GAYTONS HAVE NO JUSTIFICATION TO BUILD IN THIS FIELD OTHER THAN OWNERSHIP OF THE FIELD. GAYTONS IS A PRIVATE COMMERCIAL BUSINESS. THEY ARE NOT A CHARITY OR PUBLIC SERVICE LIKE THE NHS.
So the fact that the planning application is for a field outside the FREMINGTON development boundary is the most important thing to object to.
ALSO, there is NO reason why planning permission should be granted for a 3-bedroomed residential bungalow in the field either. Gaytons argue that they need a 'family member' to live on site to 'provide security' and 'to be able to do his job as Fremington cemetery superintendent'. We have looked at job descriptions from all around the UK for 'cemetery attendant ' and NOT ONE OF THEM says there is a need to live 'on site' at a cemetery! The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF FUNERAL DIRECTORS also confirmed that Funeral Director businesses DO NOT typically have people live on site to provide 'security'.
Some of us work for the NHS and would like to live closer to our work too, but planning law doesn't allow us to build a house in a rural field for this reason, so Gaytons shouldn't be exempt from this either! If Gaytons application to build a residential property on this site is approved, that will really open the floodgate to housing developers submitting applications to build housing estates in adjacent fields. Therefore this residential bungalow is also a crucial part of their planning application to object to as well.
MATERIAL OBJECTION 2. A need to safeguard the countryside or protected species of plant or animal
We need to protect what is left of the open countryside for future generations. The new planning policies EMPHASISE the importance of USING EXISTING DEVELOPED LAND rather than UNDEVELOPED (agricultural or open field) land, so the Council planning decision SHOULD be guided by this. Therefore, it is worth raising an objection to the needless destruction of another open countryside field when there are existing developed sites WITHIN THE DEVELOPMENT BOUNDARY that are available. The National Association of Funeral Directors have confirmed that THERE IS NO NEED FOR A FUNERAL DIRECTOR BUSINESS TO HAVE ALL ITS BUSINESS BUILDINGS ON ONE SINGLE SITE. All the other North Devon Funeral Directors have their front offices in accessible town-centre locations and their operational buildings located elsewhere on separate sites (usually nearer to the local crematorium). THEREFORE, THERE IS NO REASON why Gaytons should be an exception to this funeral industry standard and this is worth pointing out to the Council too.
MATERIAL OBJECTION 3. Impact on the appearance of the area
The FREMINGTON CEMETERY AND SURROUNDING open countryside landscape will be irreparably changed if the development is allowed to go ahead. Visitors to Fremington Cemetery will no longer look out across the well-managed, regularly trimmed hedgerows, to a landscape of peaceful open fields across to the nature reserve, but will instead be literally feet away from business buildings, including a row of hearse garages, a car-valeting area, offices, a laundry, other operational buildings and a business car park which will include regular delivery vehicles, which will all be HIGHLY VISIBLE. At the north end of the cemetery, the residential bungalow will also be HIGHLY visible across the cemetery low hedgerow and will therefore impact on the landscape appearance also. The development will also be VISIBLE from other surrounding public access places, including Old School Lane, other surrounding lanes and parts of the nature reserve and will therefore impact significantly on the appearance of the Fremington open countryside. The applicants have outlined plans to plant various shrubs and wildflowers in places across the development site to provide a form of 'natural screening', however there is no guarentee that they will maintain these plants etc once planning permission is granted. Also, the shrubs and bushes listed will take MANY YEARS to grow to any sufficient height and density to provide any form of natural screening, therefore the impact on the appearance of the proposed development site on the Fremington Cemetery and open countryside of Fremington will be SIGNIFICANT and this negative impact is worth objecting to.
MATERIAL OBJECTION 4. Conservation of buildings, trees and open land
Once a field has been built on, it is gone forever. We need to conserve open land and protect the natural environment and wildlife. We also need to protect open land for future generations. If this field is developed, then surrounding fields will quickly be developed also. The need to conserve undeveloped land is an important objection to raise, as there is no reason why Gaytons can't relocate their business to existing developed site within the development boundary, just as all the other North Devon Funeral Director businesses have done. They have provided no sound justification as to why they should be a special case.
MATERIAL OBJECTION 5. Highway safety and traffic levels
Gaytons hired an independent survey company to
conduct a traffic speed and volume survey, which was completed on Friday 26th January 2018, to offer proof that their business relocation would not cause traffic problems on Old School Lane. However, since January 2018, many properties on the
Army Camp Fremington estate have been sold and occupied. The increase in commuting traffic using Old School Lane as a 'rat run' has increased significantly over the past 10 months, as well as increasing congestion at the traffic lights at Higher Road, Fremington. This significant increase in (sometimes fast-moving) traffic on the single-track
Old School Lane and build up on the B3233 Higher Road approach has not been accounted for in the traffic report and the traffic monitoring equipment did not register traffic turning into Mill Lane either. Also, the series of blind bends between the village and the proposed site entrance increases the risk of congestion between traffic and funeral procession hearses, as there are NO passing places big enough for two or more hearses to reverse into if cars coming in the opposite direction cannot reverse back round the blind bends. In addition, increasing traffic levels in the village centre also puts residents at risk of increased traffic fumes exposure, affecting health and wellbeing. Therefore the negative impact on highway safety and traffic levels and out-of-date traffic analysis is also worth objecting to.
MATERIAL OBJECTION 6. New developments should be SUSTAINABLE
The LOCAL PLAN states that developers should use EXISTING developed sites (WITHIN development boundaries), rather than undeveloped (open land/field) sites. Planning law also now emphasises that any new development site should offer public transport access and pedestrian access as a priority, rather than only being accessible by private car journey. This is to offset against climate change. The field adjacent to the cemetery has NO public transport access and pedestrian access via Old School Lane is HAZARDOUS, with a series of narrow blind bends with no footpath to provide safe approach on foot. Therefore the proposed site is NOT SUSTAINABLE. Both of these points are worth raising as valid objections to the planning application.
MATERIAL OBJECTION 7. Overlooking and loss of privacy
Building a commercial business directly adjacent to the Fremington Cemetery will result in A COMPLETE LOSS OF PRIVACY AND QUIET FOR THOSE WISHING TO REFLECT IN THE PEACE AND TRANQUILITY OF FREMINGTON CEMETERY GROUNDS, which is a right that the public have to enjoy. The proposed BUILDINGS ARE literally a few feet away from some of the graves, with only a low hedge to partially screen off the bottom half of the buildings. The applicants have stated that they will 'plant' shrubs and wildflowers around various parts of the site, however there is no guarentee that these will be appropriately managed/maintained once permission is granted AND even if the shrubs manage to thrive, they will take MANY YEARS to reach sufficient density and height to provide any degree of privacy to cemetery visitors. The overlooking and loss of privacy to the cemetery is therefore another STRONG point to object to. AND IF THE PROPOSED BUILDINGS WILL OVERLOOK YOUR RESIDENCE IN ANY WAY, then object on the loss of privacy for your own home also.
MATERIAL OBJECTION 8. Noise, disturbance and smells resulting from the proposed development
Members of the public visiting Fremington cemetery have always enjoyed their right to peaceful and tranquil surroundings with an unspoiled natural landscape outlook across the low cemetery hedges (known as the AMENITY of a place). Relocating a growing business, with business-related traffic, vehicle valeting, laundry activities, 7.5 tonne lorry regular deliveries, customer and employee car traffic etc into the field adjacent to the cemetery will result in noise and disturbance to the public who visit the cemetery, as there is only a well-managed hedgerow which separates the main part of the cemetery from the business site and a few inches of slow-growing shrubbery that seperates the new cemetery extension from the entire business operation. Also, a 3-bedroomed bungalow and separate residential garage on-site (literally feet away from the northern part of the cemetery), will also contribute to loss of amenity through light/noise and car pollution. There will also be noise and fumes arising from the increased business-related traffic on Old School Lane, which will have an impact on residents health and wellbeing. In addition, night-time light pollution from both the 24 hour business operation and a 3-bedroomed residence in a normally dark part of the countryside open field will affect local wildlife and local residents in the surrounding quiet residential area also. This could affect sleep quality and therefore impact on health and wellbeing. These points are worth raising too.
Effect on the value of your property
Loss of a private view
Inconvenience or other problems caused by building works
GAYTONS full application details are on the North Devon Planning website
Finally, if you want to chat, get more information, get help with the process of submitting an objection, or get more involved in this Fremington residents campaign, please do get in touch using the email address and/or phone number below. Look out for our media campaign too.
Thank you for coming to our website and caring about this issue.