STOP LOG CABINS BEING ERECTED ON HORN HILL IN HARTSHORNE
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“Erect log cabins in woods...not on our hill and gardens!”
“Would you want log cabins erected next to your property? Would you?!”
“Would you want strangers at the bottom of the garden?”
“Do you want to hear the F-word day after day?”
“Builda real house, for a real family - not log cabins!”
“Sewerage?! Getting into the water supply? Let's risk it and see!”
“Do residents views and opinions matter at all?!”
Please support us in our fight to prevent a developer erecting four log cabins in Hartshorne in South Derbyshire. Log cabins for holiday makers.
The application was previously refused in June 2017 for the same reason it should be refused again and again, that is, it constitutes an alien pattern of development and an unwarranted intrusion into the landscape and countryside.
However, the developer - a parish councillor for the nearby village of Melbourne - intends to keep re-submitting the planning application until he has (shall we say) more friendly councillors at one of the decision meetings. Then, once planning consent is approved, that's it! The residents have no right of appeal.
There are many reasons why the residents, the Parish Council, and Hartshorne Village Residents Association, object to log cabins being erected on this site.
Our reasons for concern include: Intrusion into landscape and countryside; alien development pattern; loss of historic landscape. anti-social behaviour; noise; pollution; sewage and drainage issues; loss of resident's amenity; security an theft issues; lack of on-site management; danger to holiday makers.
The proposed site for the cabins is on historic Glebe land on the lower slope of a hill called Horn Hill from which the village gets it's name. The site is adjacent to several properties that make up a small 'ribbon' of residential houses along Manchester Lane.
The village has no tourist attractions, and no shops. It's only amenities are a village hall, three public houses, and a church.
The area is visited for days out - not for whole week stays.
Unwarranted intrusion into landscape and countryside
The reasons for the planning application to be refused in June 2017 have not changed. The re-submitted plans are basically a tweak of the original plan.
The council's local plan policy states...“New tourism development that is likely to give rise to undue impacts on the local landscape, natural environment, or cultural heritage assets will be refused”. Our cultural heritage is a stake!
The Residents Association considers that Horn Hill and its surrounding area have historical significance and the landscape, and should be protected. To this end, a dossier has been handed over to the Council’s Conservation Officer for them to carry out a Conservation Appraisal of Horn Hill and its surrounding area.
If the area is to be protected then it would be short-sighted to erect cabins at this moment in time.
Neither does the application meet the council's Local Plan policy in that it is neither a rural based activity or appropriate rural diversification.
Also, the site can clearly be seen from the National Forest Way (a public footpath) despite dubious tactics by the developer in recently getting a Tree Preservation Order placed on the hedge along the site's north-east boundary in an attempt to hide the eyesore from sight.
Alien devoplement pattern
The existing houses (constructed from brick and tile) are all built along the western slope of Horn Hill alongside Manchester Lane, whilst the proposed site for the log cabins is on the eastern side of the slope behind the houses. The site is outside the village settlement boundary and the siting of log cabins will be inappropriate to the landscape.
Why log cabins?
The so-called National Forest is identified as 200 square miles in the heart of England. The area was proposed here because of the amount of abandoned industrialist sites following the loss of the area's mining and mining communities.
However, the National Forest Company itself admits it owns very little land, and does not own any of the visitor centres, or attractions. Nearly all the woodland is in the ownership of private and public sector landowners – where there is no public right of access.
When you drive into the so-called National Forest the first thing you notice is a lack of any forest. The amount of land available for the planting of more trees is shrinking each year, and the grants that pay the landowners to plant and maintain the trees is no longer attractive enough to entice them to do so. The National Forest itself may one day become unsustainable!
The developer's plan to erect four log cabins as holiday accommodation is a cynical use of flawed National Forest policies that persuade councils to allow the development of holiday accommodation on a site where normal residential properties would not be permitted.
The plan states the cabins are intended for family accommodation, but are surely too big! (One five, two four, and one three bedroomed.) We fear the cabins are designed to cater more for single sex groups such as stag and hen parties to spend a weekend in rather than those planning a family tourist pursuit.
Well managed sites such as Centre Parcs or Rosliston Forestry Centre are hidden well within forest, away from peoples’ homes, not next to residential properties and open arable fields Additionally, these sites have policies of no single sex groups, noise curfews and have on site staff resident.
The occupants will be left to their own devices in a non-holiday environment surounded by high hawthorn hedges and un-friendly residents.
The site will have no on-site management, but a proposed 24 hour call number. But a 24 hour call out isn't of any use if the required parts or tradesmen aren't available!
The unwritten assumption is that the lettings will be to like-minded people with a love of the countryside and walking, well behaved and possibly from Rambling or associated clubs.
The reality is more likely to be lettings for stag or hen parties, or family celebrations with antisocial behaviour, drunkenness, loud music and noise into the small hours with no regard for neighbours. Informative instructions such as respect the residents will be of no consequence, and with no on-site management the occupants will have free reign!
The total number of residents in the nearby dwellings is sixteen. With the full complement of lettings of 32 people, the local residents will be outnumbered 2 to 1. In such a small area we do not feel this is acceptable.
It should be noted that neither Centre Parcs or Roliston Forestry Centre provide hot tubs for customers, and with good reason. Hot tubs encourage all year use of outdoor space, whilst consuming alcohol, leading to the increased likelihood of disturbance issues and health and safety risks. With no requirement to prevent single sex groups, no curfews and no resident staff to manage such situations this will create a perfect storm for anti-social behaviour disputes and increased health and safety risks.
A worrying point for the residents is that the Company that is to mange the site instructs it's workers how to safety handle, and dispose of, 'needles'. Another worrying reality as to the type of persons who could be renting the cabins.
Whilst the developer can retire to his quiet residence many miles away in Melbourne the local residents will be left with a far noisier scenario.
Occupiers of the cabins will be on holiday - with all that that normally entails, that is, the possibility of more boisterous and noisy activities than in normal situations. The close proximity of residents and their properties will mean that such behaviour will intrude into the normal daily life's and activities of the residents, causing conflict and friction between the two parties.
In outdoor play and recreational areas people often communicate with raised or very loud voices. We have calculated that the noise level produced from the site will exceed the recommended noise level of 55decibels and thus removing from the residents the right to enjoy the amenity of their own gardens.
The current ambient noise levels in the residents' gardens are around 30 decibels (dbs) at most hours of the day. That's pretty quiet! That's why we live here! It is considered that an increase of 10dB is likely to be a trigger that generates complaints. The expected increase in our gardens of 20dbs will increase the noise levels in our gardens four-fold.
Noise experts recommends that a noise level of 35 to 40dB outside a dwelling is acceptable and a maximum of 45dB should be adhered to in order to prevent disturbance to residents.
The plan proposes to provide a hot tub for each of the four log cabins. The hot tubs will inevitably create noise, anti-social behaviour, and, with free reign, the hot tubs may well be used at unacceptable hours.
The council's environmental team have stated the hot tubs will require emptying after each occupancy, or, at least, once a week, and that this water should not be combined with sewerage. Does that imply two separate pumping stations – who knows?
Water from four hot tubs will need to be pumped up into the sewerage pipe on Manchester Lane. When (not if) this pump fails, foul water will overflow from the site. The slope on the site means that any flow of fluid from the site will be downhill, across the arable crops, and end up in the watercourse at the bottom of the field.
The environmental team also state that conditions such as enclosing the hot tubs and limiting use times.
Sewage and drainage
Due to the slope of the site the cabins are lower than that of the residential properties and the combined sewerage and drainage water would have to be pumped up to the drain in Manchester.
Lane using a sewerage pumping station.
The plans do not show how foul and surface water is to be removed from site. They should! The council have been asked about the lack of information in regards to foul and surface water drainage several times, but they have not responded.
Sewerage pumping stations always eventually fail and raw sewerage will inevitably overflow the station and flow down the slope to the field and water courses below the site. The usual practice is to fit an amber beacon to give warning of a high well level, however this is only of any use if acted upon, and then only if the pumping station can be repaired quickly. Even though there is a warning light normally fitted, because of no on-site personnel no-one will contact the maintenance team, and any spillage could go unnoticed for quite a while.
The plans do not shown a pumping station or it's location, but a 15m radius easement area (exclusion zone) is required around the station in which no structures can be sited. However, the site does not afford an unobstructed easement area without overlapping into adjoining properties.
Ninety percent of the region has experienced sewer flooding. Old Victorian combined sewerage pipes are still in use in Manchester Lane. In Oct/Nov this year the combined sewerage pipe was found to be broken and had to be repaired. The addition of 32 people out-letting to this pipe will add roughly 4800 litres of foul water passing through the pipe, tripling the amount of foul water currently flowing each day. Emptying the four hot tubs on a particular day will contribute a further 6000 litres of foul water. Meaning the sewerage pipe would need to be able to cope with over 14 times it's current flow rate. This is not practical!
The sewerage pipe and mains water supply pipes under the lane run parallel, and very close, to each other. A crack in the sewerage pipe may cause contamination of the mains water supply.
The lane is too dangerous to walk!
The lane is used as a 'rat run' and get quite busy during commuting hours. The lane has no pavement in the vicinity of the site entrance and one section of the lane has only steep banks onto which to scramble should you need to avoid an oncoming vehicle.
The plan states that the site will generate only two additional person trips on foot along the lane. But surely, if 16 residents generate two daily movements then 32 holiday makers would logically generate 4 trips on foot (or more) - and we fear substantially more when families or group of friends walk into the village.
The lane is narrow and cars and pedestrians on the road have to recognise and avoid each other whilst passing.
These verges consist of a mixture of uneven grass strips and driveways with obstacles such as drain and utility covers etc. Residents, who are aware of the dangers of the road, only reluctantly walk to the village and at night only if necessary.
Use of wheelchairs and pushchairs on the verges would be very problematic, on the steep bank impossible, and on the road a danger!
There have been four road traffic accidents on the lane during the last few weeks causing road closure and lengthy diversions.
We fear that strangers who are unaware of the lane's narrow and winding nature, with several blind spots, will be at risk of serious accident.
It is not stated in the plans whether pets will be allowed on the site but, in any case, boundary security will become an issue to the residents due to itinerant persons occupying cabins at the rear of their property. At present the rear of the residents properties seem fairly secure in the fact that there's no-one there! Only hedges and fields.
The risk of persons renting living accommodation just over a hedge makes the properties far more open to theft.
The Parish Council are aware of the strong objections of the residents of Manchester Lane and fully support their objections.
It is a pity that the developer - and some councillors - do not take into account the opinions or feelings of residents in respect to planning matters. They are, after all, there to help us!
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