Neighbourhood Plan 2014 Consultation

Opinions expressed at the exhibitions held in the village churches, 24 March to 6 April 2014

Comments were made in response to the exhibition display of the Neighbourhood Plan draft dated April 2014.   The exhibition display is permanently available as a pdf file:
Draft plan of April 2014, in brochure format (note that this document is obsolete: development continues).

All comments are listed, as received, after the summary. Apologies for occasional transcription typos. (E) indicates an email submission up to 24 April 2014. 

A summary of the responses


Thirty nine percent of responses concern housing. There is considerable acceptance that some new housing would be good for the parish, depending upon good design, placing, affordability and meeting local needs. Not all the proposed sites are welcomed and a sizeable minority of responses from Harberton consider the village completely unsuitable for any development at all. Many in Harbertonford consider the 50/60 houses proposed by South Hams Council to be excessive for the village. The Old Mill is the favourite site in Harbertonford. The dominant concerns in both villages are that more housing would both increase the risks of flooding and the amount of traffic. Development at Follaton is generally considered positively. One new site has been suggested: the field below Tristford Farm.

Here is an attempt to give a popularity rating to each site.

Site nr. Description Popularity
growth general sentiment 30
4 mill ruin* 58
21 follaton* 23
13 adj meadow close 14
12 adj pendarves 9
6 kiln lane 5
5 woodcourt rd -3
11 vicarage field* -5
3 new cottages field -12
1 n of harbertonford* -15
8 yeoldens stream -17
7 chapel field* -22
2 garage site* -31

Notes: * indicates a site already in the SHDC allocation or offered to the recent SHDC call for sites.

Calculation: add up: strongly support x 2, support x 1, subtract: oppose x 1, strongly oppose x 2. Add together H’ton and H’ford responses.

This elementary statistic is offered merely as a hint for further debate.


Eight percent of the responses are on this topic. Moving the Harberton bus stop attracts three favourable mentions and one against. One comment promotes using the bus instead of a bicycle. Several of the housing section responses identify the narrow roads around Harberton as a reason for not building more houses. In Harbertonford there are complaints about the A381 noise and danger. Parking is also demanded. There is one proposal for an eventual bypass.

Business and IT

Four percent of comments are on this subject. Pressure for high speed broadband (by cable rather than wireless) to support small specialised industries and consultancies. The diversification policy should exclude solar panels.

Social amenities

The two responses received stated that further consideration should be given to supporting community recreation and local facilities.

The built heritage

One response calls for the highest standards of build quality and energy conservation, while the other suggests a more relaxed policy with regard to lesser listed buildings with more help to the best examples.

Rural environment

Eleven percent of all comments concern the rural environment. The proposals find favour, though one comment questions the exact wording of RE2. There is good support for more access to nature. One person remarks on the absence from the exhibition of the special area of conservation for bat flypaths.
Protection of the Harbertonford rookery is advocated and, far above that, protection for our view of the stars.

Sustainable energy

The vast majority of responses to the Neighbourhood Plan have commented on the sustainable energy section and below is a very brief synopsis of the trend.

Overwhelming rejection of the current draft for sustainable energy, based upon the unanimous negative response. Majors on landscape impact, proliferation and size. ‘Community’ benefit questioned.

Solar: Negative comments concerning loss of land for food production, proliferation, blighting the landscape, impact on tourism. No local benefits (employment, energy). Damage to wildlife.

Wind: 50m too large, visual impact too great. Already debated and rejected by overall community. Why Presumption for wind and solar?. Only benefits landowner. Damage to wildlife, tourism. Wind Resource needs to be proven. 15m or 25m more suitable for landscape.

Positive: Solar on Roofs. New Buildings. Brown Field Sites. Biomass – subject to replenishment of woodlands. Two positive comments for wind and solar were subject to grave concerns re current proliferation or large turbines (not specified size)

All submitted comments

Harberton Responses

“I am in support of the creation of new homes, providing that they are built in a manner that is sympathetic with the character of the village. In Harberton, we have numerous historical/listed buildings, so I would like to see special guidelines drawn up for new housing in terms of design, materials, construction, etc – to ensure houses to refect the character and tradition of the existing houses in the village. With regards to low-cost housing, I think that this is better integrated with other types of housing rather than next to existing low-cost housing – to avoid creating large areas/estates of low cost housing. All new houses should be built with energy-conservation in mind, possibly with solar panels.”

“Need more affordable houses under £200,000 for young families.”

“Re site 12, Harberton. I can’t support this..Too visual would really spoil the village. If the housing was very close (ie tucked in behind Pendarves) to Pendarves it would probably be okay BUT extending development up as far as level with the vicarage would in my opinion be visually dreadful. What about the field below Tristford Farm? Less impact than site 12”

“Harberton in particular does not have appropriate access. The lanes are not 2 way and increased volume of traffic will eventually cause accidents.”

“I am not in support of such growth in our village (Harberton). It will just be the beginning of building of houses in our lovely countryside. If it goes ahead I can see the end of out country villages here and elsewhere. Just look at Ivybridge, once a village, now nearly into Plymouth. This is just an example. What about when we get our farming back. No Pasture. What a sad state our country is heading. I am glad I am the age I am, as I cannot come to terms in the future ahead of us. At the moment we have a choice of Countryside or Towns. Please don’t change that. (Thank you for letting me voice my opinion).”

“I support this proposal as it will help keep the village alive!”

“How can it be justified for more houses to be built in a village such as Harberton where there is no shop and other essential facilities. The bus service is very poor, whatever buses there are are unable to reach the top of the village. The access of these intended sites lead out onto narrow lanes, with poor visability to traffic using them. The countryside is being swallowed up with solar panels, turbines etc to the detriment of agriculture and wildlife.”

“As a Harberton resident I only feel able to provide opinions on the sites in this village and Follaton. Site 13 – Feel this is the best choice of site as causes less traffic in the heart of the village which with its narrow entrances up to the village hall/pub etc. Traffic through the narrow section is already challenging. Site 12- If it is essential to have another site this would be better than site 11 as it would follow up the modern housing development on that side of the road rather than break into vicarage field which is untouched at present. Also support the community aspect of site 12 and its ethos. We need to provide housing in villages to keep them available to young families and address the imbalance of town domination of services/facilities/funds.”

“I hope that the housing will be genuinely affordable. I notice that detached dwellings are mentioned –detached houses are rarely affordable. Also do houses really need one parking space per bedroom? Would people in a 3 bedroomed house really have 3 cars?”

“I do not understand the implications of building on each individual site , but generally support the need for more local housing, especially self build and social housing.”

“The existing infrastructure in Harberton is totally unsatisfactory for any further housing development.”

“All three sites proposed will add to the potential for flooding at the bottom of the village Development of the site between the Vicarage and the Village hall may encourage future development of the field below Screw lane. I feel that this could enclose the playing fields and would be detrimental to the current open rural aspect from the field and parking area.”(E)

“ Housing. H12 is too prominently sited in the field above the church and would affect the setting of this grade 1 listed building. Any development in this field should be “tucked away” in the roughly triangular section of land behind Pendarves. This is not an obviously good site for development, and care must be taken on design and sustainability, i.e. will a self-build scheme ever be built, and if not have we simply opened the way for development that would otherwise be opposed? I would support H11 & H13. Harberton’s population is relatively static. There are many people who have lived in the village for 30+ years , and who have raised families here. There is no current opportunity for downsizing within the village, which in itself would release family homes. Perhaps H11, H12 & H13 could be linked to local purchasers in some way. The last thing we need is more 2nd homes.”(E)

“I disagree in principal with the government’s short term quick fix approach to resolving our housing and energy shortages, and that relatively unspoiled landscapes and historical towns and villages such as ours should not have to suffer the consequences of poor polices which will do little to help bring down the cost of housing for local young people. Or in the case of subsidy/profit driven wind and solar, will not provide consistent, reliable cheap renewable energy, and in fact may cause more grid/energy and environmental problems than it solves. What are the ‘benefits to local communities’? Tacking on more and more housing estates to the fringes of existing towns and villages is wrong, our historical villages should be persevered, Harberton is a designated conservation area and it should be ‘conserved’. Totnes and Dartmouth for example are ‘full’ there is no room for 1000’s more people to add to the already congested towns, adding more pressure on services, infrastructure, parking etc. A better idea would be to leave existing towns and villages alone and build whole new self-sufficient towns well away from existing towns and within easy access to the A38 and train lines, developers could be required to include shops, schools and parks etc.” (E)

“There is a lack of provision in the Parish for affordable housing, housing for 1st time purchasers and residents who wish to down size and stay in the community. Site 11 & 13, should be supported for open market housing. Site 12 land north of Pendarves is not shown correctly and is therefore misleading; we understand that the area proposed is the triangle of land below Pendarves not the area opposite the vicarage as shown. This information has been known for some time so why was it incorrectly shown in the draft plan!!!” (E)

“The housing suggestions must not conflict with heritage and character of the area. This must mean that English Heritage be fully consulted on any proposals. The design of the buildings will be critical in making sure it enhances the amenity of the villages, rather than look like a time specific development which will not integrate into the character of both villages. The best integration comes from a blend of styles, and hopefully be to encourage younger people or young families into the community. The character definition of the area means that development on the fringes will need to sit within the valley and not creep onto the distinctive ridges, which remain to the greater extent, undeveloped.” (E)

“We are not averse to a few houses being built in Harberton provided they fit in with the character of the village & are made available to LOCAL people & a price they can afford (possibly with some kind of assistance of which we are totally unfamiliar so will leave this to the experts). What we don’t want is properties being used as second homes/holiday letting or the properties being rented out to people who could bring disorder into our quiet & peaceful village, which is why we enjoy living here. Any more properties will obviously bring many extra vehicles dashing through the village which already experiences its fair share of near misses despite the 20mph limit at the bottom of the village.  Sat nav does not help when it brings people through on their way to Kingsbridge/Dartmouth & Woodlands.” (E)

“Further to my email of the 4th April regarding my objections to turbines and solar panels in the area, I should like to add a comment over the consideration of proposed planning permission to build in the field next to Meadow Close Harberton. We live in Ford Farmhouse Harberton and have been subjected to several periods and continue to do so of flooding in our home and garden. In the fifties the ford outside our property was replaced by a bridge, which at the time was fine as the whole area was surrounded by fields and land that acted as a flood plain in times of heavy rain. However, the area around fordfarm has now been built around ie. Lych Gate House next door which was allotments, Meadow Close which was farm land, Bridge Farm industrial Units which was farmland, and the lovely Orchard area which was opposite our property now has two properties built on it, one of which has built a Devon bank alongside the stream. We were left off the plans when the Harberton flooding works took place, despite being earmarked as a property that flooded and we still contribute on our parish rates to the flood repayments. So, our argument is , if The field next to Meadow Close is built on where will their water go? Into the stream alongside our property, exacerbating our problems that nobody seems to want to help us with. We were flooded 7 times inside our property in 2012, 3 times in the winter of 2013 and in the winter rains of this year.Can I please appeal to the parish council to,put their weight behind some sort of action to cease this flooding of our property, we are past retirement age and wonder how much longer we will be able to cope with running around with sand bags, pumps and staying up all night watching the stream levels rise and flood our property. David and Jennifer Wright” (E)

“I would favour of 1 or 2 of the proposed sites in Harberton but not all 3 sites. Before any new houses are built, the existing, long term problem of flooding in the area around Lark Rise, Church Barn and Ford Farm must be resolved. Ensure any new housing has the necessary infrastructure above and below ground to prevent flooding, light pollution, etc, landscaping, green spaces. Ensure all new constructions are as eco-friendly as possible Their design is in-keeping with traditional materials used in the village and not cheap, soulless boxes Adequate parking Allotments Buildings to allow rental of storage space, visually in keeping with other buildings.”

“We feel there is insufficient infrastructure in Harberton Village and the surrounding access roads to support any new houses” “In Harberton, Vicarage Field and Pendarves Field would spoil existing/adjacent housing. Any development should be adjacent to Meadow Close only.”

“General access to Vicarage Field and adjacent to Pendarves will put more strain on the village roads. Harberton does not have the infrastructure.”

“I would like to comment on the proposed sites for new housing. I am aware that there is a huge demand for new and affordable housing locally, however Harberton is a small village with few facilities and narrow lanes I feel that to build houses here would cause more traffic and again spoil the little village that we have. I feel that adding onto a town nearby such as Totnes would be a much better option because of larger roads more facilities and good infrastructure.”(E)

“I would not like to see more houses being built in Harberton, I feel new housing should be added onto towns and not to small villages.” (E)

“For Vicarage Field and the land north of Pendarves there is mention of the present status as potential sites – one offered and the other under negotiation. It should therefore mention that the site adjacent to Meadow Close has not yet been offered by the owner.” (E)


Harbertonford responses

“All new housing sites need exits that will ensure that the village traffic does not go up. Ie special exit roads that do not enter the village”

“4. The Old Mill: Why can’t the 10 dwellings be contained within the “historic walls””

“We should oppose any development which increases the risk of flooding in Harbertonford. Surface water must be carried away by a storm drain to beyond Crowdy Mill. What does “all outside spaces except roads shall be free daining” (H7) mean? Why is there no input from the Environment Agency? This should be the first consideration.”

“All of Harbertonford’s proposed housing sites have serious implications in terms of water run-off into the river system (Harbourne and tributary streams) inside (ie downstream) of the flood prevention measures at and below Palmer’ Field and dam. I see no proposals in these plans to suggest how this extra run-off will be managed. To illustrate the problem I would like to see a monitoring of the present run-off that streams down Old Road after every downpour into the village centre and thence into the river (below the Bridge level guage). We can expect fiercer, more prolonged downpours in future. Water will not turn upill. I live downstream.”

“Without having any experience of planning or land management I have no informed opinion about development but would think the following:- Development should take particular considerations on impact on flooding in the future Old buildings and vacant properties should be inhabited and developed before new building Any affordable homes should be protected through schemes that keep homes affordable – not sold for massive profit in 10 years time New development should focus on families + building + strengthening he community – not on providing second homes”

“ 2. I do not support demise of out petrol station, rather we should support the business. 7. Concerned re safety onto A381”

“ 1. Dangerous access to A381. Too large an estate for a small village. 2. The garage is a village amenity and is needed. If houses have to be built here they should be of good design and attractive construction (not like Pack’s Close) 3. Again far too many houses for a village, bad access to A381. Access through Packs Close not feasible as Wood Lane is often blocked by stupid parking. I cannot comment on Harberton or Follaton as I don’t know the areas well enough. One car space per bedroom? Surely this should be to a maximum of 2 spaces.”

“ Parish population in 1801 – 1138, In 1901 – 1170, In 2001 – 1285. Why do we need to build this number of houses? Why plan to build more houses than are needed (28) There needs to be employment locally before expansion of housing If the issue is “affordable housing” – there is no such thing, with the price of land and current cost of building materials combined with over regulation. Unfortunately the only way to really provide affordable housing is high density (not 1 parking space per bedroom), and this should happen near to facilities, so the cost of living is kept down for those that can’t afford to live otherwise. Historic efforts to do this are an eyesore. 1How many larger Tor homes houses in Bow Road are occupied by just 1 person?”

“The old mill site is in a very dangerous condition and would be great for some housing there.”

“H6 Car parking – vital to provide at level in policy H7 Drainage – also vital H4 Conversion of redundant agricultural buildings – support”

“The design of Packs Close was TERRIBLE. All the sites are feasible but PLEASE PLEASE spend money on DESIGN”

“I am very worried about development on steep hills unless assurances can be given that drainage will be sufficient so that excess water does not add to Harbertonford flooding”

“Flooding is my main concern!”

“More affordable housing wherever it can go (10 houses max)”

“Housing: I am not sure who has determined what the parish needs 60-70 new houses. Nationally inflated figures are bandied about to do with the “housing shortage” and need to be questioned. Sites 1 & 2: From the start I thought these locations unwise and unsuitable – steep ground, rainwater run-off, poor access in particular access via Old Road would be deplorable. Site 4: The Old Mill cries out to be rescued and turned into housing. Site 5: I should have thought the land above Woodcourt Rd too steep to make sensible housing development, and adding to motor traffic on this very narrow lane inadvisable Site 8: I declare an interest – living as I do at the point where Hernaford Road turns from tarmac into a rough track. I would deplore and oppose any significant increase in traffic of any kind. It is in any case a very rough track and the only Green Lane in the village. A shady retreat in summer for just a few walkers. It is peaceful. Yeoldens Stream fields seems a whimsical location on which to build houses: steep, damp awkward to create a new access off the main A381 which at that point is narrow, congested and dangerous.”

“ Sites 1 and 2 offer safe and easiest access.”

“Chapel Field – very dangerous junction from the green lane into the A381”

“This is an area of outstanding natural beauty. Who are these houses for- a few for first time buyers – fine but the rest?? Our lanes will not support more traffic.”

“3. A land slip waiting to happen. 2. I value the Petrol Station. A valuable second shop.”

“Land north of village: 50 dwellings will create access problems in main road and Old Road. Main road: already overloaded with dangerous traffic levels through Harbertonford. Number of new dwellings in both villages should be reduced.”

“No mention is made of social well-being policies being included or “housing fit for purpose” for older residents waiting to down-size in our increasingly growing ageing population.”

“I believe there is an affordable housing need in both villages. Both villages need new life in them and families need homes. – For me it is a win/win. These developments are people friendly and eco friendly community.”

“ We should spread new housing across the parish – most at Follaton and one site each at Harberton and Harbertonford.”

“I do not support Harbertonford development adjacent to garage – sight lines into/entrance of garaged could be endangered – safety issue.”

“Parking. One per bedroom? So three spaces for a three bedroomed house sounds over the top. What about improving public transport.”

“Sites 1, 2 and 11 offer safest easiest access.”

“The village is very much in need of housing with pedestrian access to the shop and village hall and bus stop. We support Yeoldens Stream plot because the Hernaford direction is a safe walk. The water course and drainage is what causes the most problems lower down, so a solution to this would be to intercept the steam and divert it through large underground culverts in a north-east direction so that it feeds into the River Harbourne below the parsonage. In this way the Yeoldens site could be made flood free, and the houses lower downstream (Bridgeside Villas and the houses opposite Brocade) would no longer have to worry about the storm grate overflowing. Boring water drains horizontally underneath the A381 would be a big logistical task, but the benefits would be immense.”

“Regarding new houses; these are clearly needed and I assume consultation with the immediate neighbours of those locations has been adressed. I look forward to seeing this aspect of the plan in greater detail in due course.” (E)

“I strongly object to the proposed housing sites numbered 7 and 8, page 4 of 9 refers, on the grounds that any development to the south of the village would result in unacceptable levels of rainwater run-off, particularly into Yeoldens stream, resulting in a further risk of flooding to the properties along Moreleigh Road to the junction with the A381. The existing stream which passes under Moreleigh Road via a culvert, cannot cope in extreme weather conditions now and any further hard surface runoff upstream will only exasperate the situation. The entrance to the culvert has to be cleared regularly by the local residence during the winter months to ensure the stream doesn’t surcharge onto Moreleigh Road and flood adjacent prosperities otherwise there would be even more reports of flooding to the centre of the village.

The only people who would benefit from development of these plots are the current landowners of which you are one – I trust you have declared your interest in this respect?

I also have serious reservations above any further development immediately adjoining the River Harbourne as this can only heighten the risk of flooding to the centre of our community. The decision making process for housing sites must take account of extreme weather and the influence of climate change. The 100 year storm is now a regular event and it isn’t good enough just to state that residential sites must be free draining – water can also rise and groundwater flooding is a reality for housing situated in valley bottoms.” (E)


Harberton responses

“I agree with the proposals for relocating the bus stop and a further stop on the main road above Dundridge. I also think that the current junction of the Harberton road with the main road just before Brockhills could do with considerable improvement – a central pedestrian island is a very good idea and may also slow traffic on its way through to Harbertonford. The current visibility from this turning is very poor. Cars have to virtually block the road  to vehicles turning in towards Harberton to be able to see traffic from Totnes ( this wasn’t helped by the positioning of a sign some time ago which completely blocked the view). A further comment, possibly not for the NHP, is the condition of Screw lane (halfway from Belsford Mill cross to Gills cross). The council annually have to repair potholes in the road and the condition this year is as bad as I ever remember (50 years!). The flooding on this road also requires attention. I believe that the highways authority need to spend some money and install some form of pipe/culvert and intercept the springs with French drains or similar below the road surface so that seasonal water pressures do not lift the road surfacing.”(E)

“Moving the busstop would be madness”

“We support all the proposed T1 – T13 particularly item T9 to encourage a more frequent bus service to Harberton” (E).

“With regard to public transport it seems that my concern is shared regarding the reduction in the frequency of buses reaching the centre of the village and anything that can tempt back the bus service more regularly will be a good thing for the aged and parents with young children particularly.” (E)

Harbertonford responses

“T1. Establish 50 mph on A381 through parish: AGAINST (see T5 – 20 mph in the village) Also – site 2 – petrol station could be part of its permission to allow for 8 car parking spaces for village amenities (pay and display for Parish?)”

“The A381. This is currently the greatest problem and neighbourhood challenge. It is very very noisy, and the number of and size of heavy vehicles has increased greatly in recent years. For example, we cannot safely get out of our drive as it is completely blind to traffic coming from Totnes, and the gaps in the traffic are too few, so that it can take ten minutes to get out. The larger vehicles, including the new Gold buses are wider and heavier than ever, with the result that buses parked at the vus stop overhang the carriageway, and the traffic coming from the south has to pass by going over to the opposite side of the road and hence the traffic coming from the north is at times forced onto the already narrow pavement. I have personally been forced to jump on the wall to avoid a passing caravan. The listed front garden wall has been hit in several places and I can’t afford to have it rebuilt. The access out of Old Road is blind to traffic from Totnes, because of the position of the Maltsters Arms. There is a pinch point at the start of the flood culvert by the church car park which is regularly hit, and causes heavy traffic to have to stop, this in turn means lots of braking, acceleration and gear changing which in turn causes a lot of noise and vibration. I really don’t think at 20 mph speed limit will help (apart from not being legally enforceable, or allowed on an A road), as the gaps will become fewer and the gear changing increased. The road requires complete re-engineering of its course, and the culvert extending northwards to allow the road to be widened. If there is to be economic growth south of the village, in Dartmouth and Kingsbridge areas, then we will get a lot more heavy traffic growth, and I feel this should be not allowed without a suitable investment in road infrastructure all the way from the A38. The end point must surely be a by-pass. I don’t support a 50 mph limit on the open A381, as I believe in improving safety through improved driver training, rather than slowing every one to an uneconomic pace. It is drivers that cause accidents, so go for the root causes. We are already highly over-regulated in all ways.”

“The village desperately needs more parking. Wood Lane and Moreleigh Road being regularly blocked by bad parking. Use one of the proposed housing sites for this.”

“T 13 Resident parking must be kept for mothers and children who cannot be expected to walk with carriages, young children and shopping and the elderly from a distance. So, Old Road should be marked for “cycles and residents only””.

“People are STILL dicing with their lives at the Pub Zebre Crossing. A lot has been done to make motorists more aware. What is it about this site that seems to cause some motorists to completely ignor it! Let’s hope proposal no 3 in transport section makes a difference.”

“Blanket 20 mph speed limit through the whole village is welcome and not before time.”

Social amenities

Harbertonford responses

“There is little in the plan to promote a sense of community or indeed to provide community recreation and local facilities. We have a poor, failin public house, we have lost the only restaurant, we haven’t got a café and the library now calls only once a month. You promote the loss of our petrol station and shop by including it as a housing option. We need to address these issues.”

“Sports and recreation space need more consideration.”

Business and employment

Harberton Responses

“I entirely agree that we need to push for high speed internet access although we at Belsford are unlikely to benefit as we are on a separate line to the village.”(E)

“BE4. When Dundridge House was used as a centre for training, amongst other things for Air traffic Control, they had fibre optics run to the building. I was wondering if that still existed and if this would be a route to follow. Generally Harberton would benefit from higher speed broadband.”(E)

Harbertonford responses

 “Where is the evidence that a relatively high proportion of people work from home, I don’t know anyone who does! I think this is a sweeping assumption. Our main future lies with very small specialised manufacturing and design businesses and agriculture and tourism with their respective support services. We should be growing food, not setting aside, or converting land to solar panel industrialisation.”

“Re BE1 policy. Diversification does not mean acres of solar panels.”

“BE4. Must we all be bombarded by wifi? Please can it be via cable”

Built Heritage

Harberton responses

“All alteration, additions and new builds must conform to the highest standards of build quality and energy conservation.” (E)

Harbertonford Responses

“I live in a listed building, it was my choice, so I can’t really moan too much, but its character and integrity was compromised long ago before it was listed. It is slowly suffering badly from the vibration due to the proximity of the A381. In general we should not try and preserve every old building, as eventually we turn the country into a museum. No one ever comes to enjoy our building so who is it listed for? Additionally there is very little help with the special upkeep of such buildings. We should choose to keep the best examples, help to maintain them (or else no-one will want to buy and live in them and they will not survive, and then we should be more relaxed about the rest.”

Rural Environment

Harberton responses

“Public Access. We should be actively promoting better access to the countryside on foot and particularly for cyclists to have safe routes away from the main roads. The landscape in this area is particularly beautiful and areas around rural green lanes and footpaths should be protected from inappropriate development.”(E)

“Footpaths. As we have so few Green Lanes/public footpaths, I would like to see these being protected from developments in adjoining land, so that community can have a “green” experience when out walking.”

“Public access policies. I strongly support the aims of increasing and at the very least maintaining the footpaths, green lanes and permissive pathways. For a rural area, relying heavily on tourism I think it is vital to ensure we continue to provide the most interesting scenery and wildlife for walkers and residents and preserve the valley and plateau landscape. Of course the conservation aspects are important as well and it is noticeable that we are rather poorly served at present for good walks/horse rides compared with other rural locations.”

“We support all the proposed RE1 – RE8” (E)

“Much of the parish is an area of Greater Landscape Value, (AGLV) which seemed to have been ignored. Since we are surrounded by large areas of AONB, this area is very important as the buffer zone and as such needs to be acknowledged as a valuable characteristic. Therefore any development in such a sensitive area must be greeted with caution.” (E)

“It is alarming that no mention has been made regarding the extensive coverage of SAC’s and the inter connecting paths which crisscross our parish.

We are guardians of the land for the future generations, lets not leave it devoid of many of the delights of the countryside we all so value.  We should not be creating ever more inventive ways of killing our wildlife.” (E)

Harbertonford Responses

Very few people cycle to and from Totnes. Why so much emphasis on this? Buses are excellent.”

“Policy RE2. Among natural fauna to be safeguarded in any development is the roolery in Factory Wood beside the woollen mill. It supports at present some 200 birds and is among the major nesting sites in the South Hams. In all development, I should like to see severe restriction upon street lighting. I do not wish see starlight above the hills replaced by street lights as is happening in Bridgetown.”

“Nature conservation. RE2 –who do the “managers” answer to?”

“Green lanes / footpaths / cycle paths. We need more –need to encourage enjoyment of the countryside.”

“If re-designating Hernaford Road as a “cycle path/ Green Lane might help to preserve its character then I would support this, though I have no idea whether any future new householders at Hernaford Farm might either require or value this. I am puzzled by the reference to designating Old Road as a “cycleway”; surely no-one prooses to restrict motor vehicles on this established tarmac highway and I dare say Old Road’s residents might be rather upset.”

“We require more foot/cycle and bridlepaths if the population is to be increased. I understand that the “Green Lane” between Harbertonfored –Bow Bridge is/was an existing public right of way. (Kiln Lane and Beenleigh) This would make a great cycle route for families away from the danger of cars flying down Bow Road.”

“In terms of public access and the Harbourne trail, I look forward to hearing more regarding the availability of routes and access across private land.” (E)

“It is a good plan. Especially turning the joiners land into a village space rather than the environmental hazard zone it is now.” (E)

Sustainable energy

Harberton Responses

“I am concerned about the rapid development of “solar farms” in the Parish. Already we have 4 large solar parks in the Parish (or on the boundary). This has ruined the visual aspect of the landscape, has had a massive impact on the flora and fauna, and is destroying local businesses which rely on tourism. I would like to see these being allowed on brown field sites only and not on productive farmland, or grazing land.”

“The inclusion in the plan of the support/tolerance of smaller turbine/turbines in the parish for the use of say a farmer, up to 50m, that is / are measured in kilowatts rather than megawatts must be removed from our local plan. REASON: Foales Leigh wind turbine application made by a local farmer , total height less than 50m ; just the parameters that you describe was vigorously opposed by Harberton parishioners and refused planning. (Also kilowatt and megawatts are both measures of output and it is simply a question of where the decimal point is put) Therefore in this parish, Harberton, both large and small turbines have been decisively voted against and this point needs to be put/made in this local plan. V definitely put I would say.”

“I don’t agree with the blanket support for sustainable energy projects. The existing solar panel schemes in and around the neighbourhood only benefit the landowner. There is no definable local benefit and if anything they will adversely affect tourism. The longer term financial case for renewables is being proven with water and wind proving to be far more efficient than solar. Arable farm land is also a precious resource and something to protect for future generations of farmers. I would support a sustainable energy project by the community and for the community and not just for the landowner. The Competition Commission review of the Big 6 emonstrates that any renewable benefits aren’t passed onto the consumer.”

“I am very concerned about solar panel fields which have been forced on local residents who gain nothing from them. These projects should involve and benefit local people and small scale companies providing local employment not just landowners and large companies.The site near Hazard has employed no local people from what I can see, and local people were not given any opportunity to invest/be employed by it.”

“SE1- I think we’ve seen enough large scale solar farms in this parish. We already have 4 either in or on the actual boundary. We are or must have already seriously impacted on the “interesting scenery” that other policies are keen to protect so why is that not mentioned in this policy – yes of course the projects must be “compatible” – not harm surely but the environment includes the public access policies, landscape and wildlife. I think this policy needs further expansion not just ”compatible with conservation policies”. That’s insufficient protection. Sustainable energy projects should be supported provided they do not impact on the food chain so there should be a presumption against solar parks on grazing or arable land. Yes on floodplains (!) along tracksides, farm buildings, new build house roofs, quarrys etc, not beautiful, rolling hill, farmland. SE2- Community benefit. That must be more than a “financial contribution”. I do not agree that the solar park/wind turbine developers can buy their way into obtaining consent for these projects. An improved village playground is by no means compensation for the loss of stunning scenery and a tourism industry on which many jobs and businesses survive. If the project is to provide fuel and energy for village residents then that’s community benefit. SE3- Glad to see visual impact is being taken into account but implies this would only be taken into consideration in designated conservation areas or listed buildings – I appreciate this is buildings clause but would like to see visual impact considered elsewhere too. SE4- Great – in fact surely the diversification of farmland should be encouraged to plant woodlands for bio mass production – rather than solar parks !!! Perhaps they see benefits and income from that and grants provided for wood planting not solar parks and wind turbines. Overall sustainable energy – agree that turbines over 50 metres is unlikely to be compatible with conservation but also solar farms have been “missold” – they are not ancillary to farm use – the “grassland” is nto grazed by sheep- the hedgerows are not increased or allowed to grow thicker or even been planted. The visual impact is far greater (particularly Marley Head and Blue Post) than ever portrayed – equally grazable farmland has been lost to the food chain and even ploughed fields are now being suggested resulting in loss of feeding for migrating birds, birds of prey etc. The support for sustainable energy needs to shift to development on farm buildings and brownfield sites and new builds. Why don’t all the new houses have solar panels automatically installed on roofs?”

“Noted that in these plans you do not have any mention of the proposed solar factory overlooking Belsford . This is strongly opposed. The solar factorises already in existence or being developed have damaged/are destroying the landscape of South Hams and are taking good quality farm land out of production, – with population growing and requirement for more food production not less.”

“You will be aware that there is a pre-planning application for the installation of a solar farm on the land belonging to Blakemore Farm at the head of the valley directly above Belsford. All the residents at Belsford and many more from around the parish are against further despoliation of the countryside by what can only be described as solar industrial estates and not farms. The proposal follows many other applications at Hazard, Blue Post, Blackawton, Dartington and most recently Diptford all along a corridor south of the A38. I believe this proliferation is changing the character of the rural landscape as many of these can be seen from one viewpoint. Many local parish councils are now opposed to further large scale development and feel that we now have our fair share. Local farmers are bombarded with incentives from large national companies who are only looking to make a profit from the generous tariffs set by Parliament. There appears to be no community benefit and even a 25 year temporary installation will blight the area for a generation and, once established, the solar panels are likely to remain in perpetuity. I believe that the NHP should specifically indicate opposition to further large developments whilst accepting the use of solar for small domestic installations, on roofs and particularly industrial or farm buildings. The NHP indicates that green lanes, bridlepaths and footpaths around Harberton are sparse. Watery lane extending from the reservoir down to Belsford has in recent years been refurbished with a grant and is now part of a circular route from Harberton which is extensively used by local residents. The views out across Datmoor from the top of the lane are particularly spectacular and a development of the field above Watery Lane combined with the developments at Hazard and Bluepost would appear as a sea of solar panels all the way to the moor. Whilst I accept that my comments are heavily biased and this is a fight we will have to win when the full application is submitted, I feel my comments could just as well apply to many areas within Harberton and Harbertonford and should be addressed in the NHP. We are the custodians of the countryside for future generations.”(E)

“Sustainable Energy. This has been, as you well know, a very big issue for Harberton. With those issues very fresh in mind, the Neighbourhood plan should do nothing to reopen those issues. What you propose in not acceptable. 50m turbines are way too big, and exceed the need if they are simply to be used for individual farms. 25m would be more than adequate. In addition there must be a prohibition against groups of turbines – of any size. This needs to be clarified in the Plan. We really would not support, and neither do we need, a wind farm of 50m turbines anywhere near the parish. Hopefully it is not the intension to open up this possibility via the Neighbourhood Plan. Solar Farms are obviously a big issue too. There are already too many in a small area surrounding the parish. These need to be controlled and the best way to start would be a firm negative in the neighbourhood Plan. This is lacking and needs to be included. I would like to see an initiative included towards saving energy within the parish. All new houses should have the best energy efficiency available.”(E)

“With regard to renewable energy, to pepper the whole of the south hams with turbines and panels for profit would be detrimental to the landscape and great shame, if we have to have them, south hams energy output targets should be set and once met that’s enough, also area designation maps for suitable and unsuitable areas taking into account conservation and AONB etc. Policy for limiting noise nuisance, height/area and min distances from people’s homes. Other economic considerations such as taking up farm land and farmers no longer producing food because there is more money to be earned from subsidised energy. We are surrounded by some of the biggest tides in the world and I would be much more supportive of investment in consistent reliable tidal and hydro energy – even better if actually used to power local committees.”(E)

“In view of the recent divisive debate in the Parish over proposed Wind Turbines much more clarification to the Plan is required before we can support it. 1.     Wind Turbines must be no more than 25 meters high and only used singularly for individual farm needs. 2.     There must be no groups of Turbines of any size within the Parish. 3.     There must be a block on further Solar Farms on agricultural land. Already the Parish has a large number of these within its boundaries or just outside it. These are taking up valuable arable land as well as destroying the visual beauty of our countryside. This is already having a negative impact on tourism on which a number of Parish businesses rely. The neighbouring  Parish of Diptford has been swamped by a number of solar farms and there is the danger of turning the whole area into an industrial energy park 4.     Solar Panels must first be placed on buildings and encouraged on all new builds we need the land for food production and long term food security.   5.     The clause SE2 should be removed as this could be seen as a ‘Green’ light to renewable energy companies, that the Parish is open to Wind & Solar Farm development. The Government is changing its views on Renewable/Sustainable energy, and there is a move away from onshore wind and solar farms on green field sites. ‘The Department of Energy and Climate Changes said “We what to move the emphasis for growth away from large solar farms” The department unveiled plans to put more solar panels on commercial and government buildings including 24,000 schools. The Climate Minister Greg Barker, launching Europe’s first national “solar strategy” promised to crack down on rural eyesores and to boost solar farms on large south-facing roofs on commercial buildings in Britain’.  [ Quoted from The Daily Telegraph 05/04/2014 ]. There is an opportunity here for the Parish plan to incorporate this current thinking and also to avoid a repeat of promoting division within this wonderful rural community again.” (E)

“Firstly, I feel wind turbines are a blight and as has been highlighted before inefficient in energy production over cost. You mention turbines ‘over 150m’ – these are still massive.

Secondly, solar farms are taking over the local landscape, near blue post garage and Marley head. I understand there is a proposal for another huge area at Belsford. They will permanently destroy our biggest asset – the landscape of the South Hams.” (E

“Whilst I totally support the need to increase methods of sustainable energy, within reason, I would like to emphasise and register my grave concerns on the current proliferation of solar farm panels and potential large wind turbines.

It is clear that the existing solar farm panels on the road towards Avonwick, near Blue Post, are a massive eyesore on what was a stunning view of our surrounding countryside.  It is visible from many sites in the surrounding area, including Harberton!   I am totally against these solar arrays and would ask that no further construction of these type of solar arrays are permitted in a place that is so easily seen anywhere – including Harberton.  We are destroying one of our greatest assets.

We need the land to “farm” it, not industrialise it.  Any large-scale use of solar panels should not be positioned on sites that are detrimental to our unique and beautiful landscape.  Harberton does not need solar arrays – let’s start by adding them to the roofs of existing buildings and new builds.” (E)

“I have major concerns regarding the comments on renewables and the wording used is far too ambiguous and open to abuse.

SE4 – there must be an obligation for replacement or replenishment of trees or woodlands.

SE1 This should not just relate to conservation policies.     Just calling a project ‘community’ does not in of itself mean it is in fact a true community project as was only too evident in the Tresoc application.  A community project cannot expect to export the harm caused by a development onto its neighbours. Clarification needs to be sort for the definition of ‘community project’,

A community project must be directly first and foremost for the benefit of that community as a whole and exclusively funded by it and any detrimental effects are restricted to those beneficiaries.  Eg If the power generated feeds directly into the community experiencing the detrimental effects, then I would suggest that is probably more in the spirit of a community project.

Any development concerning wind turbines or solar farms must not contravene, diminish or degrade the landscape value of the area, or alter or harm the settings of heritage assets. It must pay particular regard to ecology within the parish, which is rich and varied and includes many endangered and rare species. We have many migrating birds passing through the area and birds such as barn owls and particularly rare bats in the vicinity. All of which are at significant risk to Injury or death by turbines blades. It goes without saying that any such proposal needs to be FULLY compliant with any regulatory or legal requirements.

No reference has been made to ecology, which seems at conflict to the whole purpose of renewable initiates – protecting the planet.

Please remember that not all areas are suitable for either type of development and is acknowledged as such within the NPPF.

A minimum distance can and should be applied to this area.  It would be sensible and reasonable to follow guidelines set in Scotland which request 2km, although 1km would afford some protection against noise and nuisance and go some way towards mitigating immediate visual impact with respect to modest installations.

Development(s) should be closer to the benefactor/landowner’s own residence than their neighbours – this seem only reasonable since the person affected would be the person receiving the benefit. This would obviously not be necessary if the neighbours were in agreement.

Government has guidance as to the minimum requirements suggested for wind speed suitable for turbine applications. It should be a requirement that this is met, and importantly, the correct and most up-to-date data is used. This is supplied by the met office – virtual Met Mast. Obsolete data NOABL (as confirmed by DECC and the Met Office) continues to be used by developers and since average wind speed has in fact declined over the last 10years, this is significant in the calculations for energy generation and the benefit v harm balance as required by planning. It would also serve to protect any landowner from unscrupulous developers.

The maximum size for turbines should NOT exceed 25m to BLADE TIP HEIGHT (approx 75ft), and should in fact encourage smaller turbines of 15m (45ft) which are much more likely to sit within the landscape comfortably and not dominate or undermine the landscape characteristics. Please remember most large trees are around 15m. Everybody is only to aware of how far reaching the impact of even small scale turbines are. The size suggested is more than adequate to generate enough power for own use for farms and, if the wind resource is sufficient, to supply a surplus.

The turbine height has to be specified for maximum to BLADE TIP HEIGHT.

The community benefit, if offered, must be agreed under contract but does not and cannot form part of the decision making process. We must avoid the situations highlighted recently where some Cornish district councils have found themselves without the community benefit materialising and with no redress to enforce payment.” (E)

“What Devon as a whole does NOT need any more of is the solar panel `farms’ which are springing up around Harberton.  Gone soon will be our `Green & Pleasant Land’ to be replaced by glass & metal NOT a good substitute.  Neither does this kind of field covering benefit any flora/fauna or wildlife only the solar panel companies raking in subsidies & the farmers not having to do the jobs they set out to do when they decided to become farmers. Farming is obviously VERY HARD work at times but the individuals chose that kind of lifestyle, now they are being bribed to give it up.  What does this say about our country as a whole??? NO MORE SOLAR PANELS IN OUR FIELDS PLEASE OTHERWISE WE WON’T HAVE ANY HOLIDAYMAKERS COMING HERE & CAUSING DISRUPTION TO OUR ROAD NETWORK OR ADDING THEIR MONIES TO THE LOCAL COFFERS!!!” (E)

“(1) I do not believe there is any basis of presumption that would lead me to the view that the parish has potential for wind turbines or solar farms given the rural landscape, conservation area and high visibility of listed buildings.

(2) Given the overwhelming and documented views of the majority of residents with respect to the wind turbine applications at Luscombe Cross (100 metres to blade tip height ) and Foales Leigh ( 46.5metres to blade tip height ), there is clearly no basis whatsoever for this presumption with regard to wind.

(3) in view of items (1) and (2) above it is safe to conclude that any Wind turbine proposal would need to be of modest proportion, that is substantially below the suggested and vaguely described height of 50 metres ,approximately 162.5 feet, at least 3 times the height of any mature trees in the surrounding landscape and wholly out of place in this rural landscape . For the avoidance of doubt i do not believe there would be majority support within the parish for the erection of any turbine which exceeded 15 metres at blade tip height and this would assume that any power produced would be supplied to the owner/ village itself and any surplus provided to the grid.

(4) I cannot support the notion that the installation of solar panel farms would receive any greater support in the parish. it must surely be obvious now that the decision to approve the solar panel farms at Hazard and Bluepost  was a calamitous error of judgement and has created a totally unacceptable intrusion on the landscape, the local ecology and caused considerable distress and economic damage to neighbouring residents.

(5) With regard to the installation of individual solar panels on houses and barns whilst I have no objection to the idea in principal,there should be no absolute presumption of support since each case will need to be judged on its own merits having due regard to the requirements of the conservation area and listed status of any buildings. The parish council has no authority to grant consent for any installations on any listed buildings which remains appropriately in the hands of English Heritage.

(6) Local woodlands form a critical part of the landscape character and local ecology, consequently proposals concerning the production of wood biomass or the destruction of existing woodlands will require very careful consideration and must include a full programme of regeneration and replacement having regard to full ecology surveys. in view of this it is not appropriate to make any broad brush policy statements in this regard since each proposal will need to appropriately considered.” (E)

“I write with reference to the section of the plan headed Sustainable Energy. Whilst I agree that solar panels are appropriate and welcome on existing buildings, I strongly object to the further construction of ‘solar farms’. I fail to see how any such enterprise can be of benefit to the community when it threatens to destroy our most valuable asset – the beauty of the countryside.” (E)

“With regard to the sustainable energy heading, a proliferation of larger wind turbines in our area, even of the scale of the Brownston Farm and South Brent structures, i.e. below 50m to tip, is inappropriate to our area, as is the seemingly insatiable desire to cover vast tracts of farmland within a small geographical area with solar panels because it happens to be close to power transmission lines when significant quantities of energy could be generated in the long term from commercial and domestic rooftop arrays.” (E)

“Our homes lie just within the parish of Totnes but we are closely linked to the Harberton area.  Our outlook is almost entirely across land within Harberton.  The prevailing south-west wind carries sound from Harberton to us.  We are close enough to feel the effect of any damage inflicted on Harberton’s wildlife. Thus we have a strong and legitimate interest in the draft Neighbourhood Plan.

Our particular concern is some of the wording on page 18 about sustainable energy. Were this to remain in the document it would encourage the installation of 50 m wind turbines. Machines of that size, 2 to 3 times the height of the tallest trees around, would have a serious impact on the landscape, and they would be noisy, particularly in the middle of the night. The draft plan cites farm income as a justification for supporting wind turbines but fails to set this against the loss of amenity for the many people who would receive no such income. Our location at Higher Bowden means that we would be particularly vulnerable to their effects.

We are also concerned at the apparent support for converting existing agricultural land into solar farms. We would hope that instead the Neighbourhood Plan rule out such change of land usage within Harberton.

We notice that the plan does not consider the effect of wind turbines on wildlife. It is well established that they deter birds and, worse, that they kill bats, including protected species (as well as those roosting in our lofts at Higher Bowden).

Those drawing up the plan are guardians of a stunningly beautiful environment and its wild life. We cannot see how the present draft is compatible with this, or with their responsibility to the people who live in and around the area.

We hope that at the next draft, only small wind turbines (under 15 metres) will be considered and that the location of solar panels will be restricted to roof tops and brown field sites.” (E)

“We are emailing to contribute to the draft Harberton Parish Neighbourhood Plan and particularly to express our deep concerns regarding the potential of large scale solar ‘factories’ to further blight land between the AONB and the National Park in perpetuity.  The large ‘factories’ at Marley Head, Hatchlands, Hazard and now at South Down Farm have slipped in under the radar to a certain extent as far as we are concerned but we will comment on the proposed Coombeshead Farm scheme and are very concerned regarding the number of proposals that are likely to be in pre app. Firstly and to be clear we think the current administration has a lot to answer for by introducing the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) without giving local authorities the means to get their Local Plans in place in good time. We will ask Sarah Wollaston what she is doing about it. The NPPF guidance in para 97 states that………. adverse impacts should be addressed satisfactorily including cumulative landscape and visual impacts (our italics).  For us it is clear that the impacts of these schemes demonstrably outweigh their benefits just in landscape terms irrelevant of any concerns regarding regularity of supply etc etc. Clearly those in authority tend not to agree sadly (thus far). Many people living in Diptford now have an alluring view of thousands of panels between themselves and the moor, with more to come perhaps and this can only be described as a blight – the industrialisation of the landscape fuelled by subsidies. The development plan makes minimal reference to renewables and the interim planning guidance is just that and carries no weight. We think it is vital that the neighbourhood plan is unequivocal in its message i.e. that solar is potentially appropriate on brown field sites, on industrial buildings and on domestic buildings (with the correct roof orientation) and that these must be prioritised along with every step being taken to promote energy efficiency.  As a point of principle we think that the following points are pertinent and must be included in the plan:  1.  Solar Factories should never be accepted on land that is grade 3A (good) or above as good land is needed for food production and this should take priority.  We have spoken to several local farmers who simply cannot understand why land should be taken out of production in this way. Is food security now no longer an issue? The rose tinted images of sheep frolicking under panels that we have seen on the websites of solar companies is merely spin in our opinion: we have yet to meet a farmer that believes they can run sheep viably under these panels. We are also unconvinced regarding the transparency and criteria of the land grading methodology for earlier approved schemes and very surprised that those addressing the application did not require a full environmental impact assessment to be carried out. 2.  Solar Factories should never be allowed where they can have an adverse effect on tourism businesses.  We think it is simply unjust that these factories will harm other local businesses. Surely tourists are likely to come to this area in reduced numbers when they see how the landscape has been industrialised? 3.  Solar Factories should not be allowed in areas where they already dominate the landscape or where they dwarf people’s houses, especially historic or listed houses. We feel it is unjust that the value of homes will be reduced by their being adjacent to solar ‘factories’ through no fault of their own. We intend to get more guidance from English Heritage and CPRE on this matter. 4.  Solar factories should be rejected where they will impact on the enjoyment of scarce local landscape features such as green lanes/footpaths. The neighbourhood plan identifies the fact that there are relatively few green lanes in and around Harberton – such as Watery Lane which is enjoyed as a circular walk by many people in the village. Not so long ago the community was rightly (in our opinion) unified in its opposition to the proposed Luscombe Cross mega turbines.  We fear that with the potential for the landscape to be forever changed with these solar ‘factories’ then turbine applications will be seen as a ‘less worse’ option perhaps or the logic may be ‘if the area is blighted already then let’s blight it some more’.   Policy makers seem to be determined to change the character of this area for ever.  Has someone somewhere decided that this area of the South Hams is going to be UK Central for renewables??  I know the coalition is at battle about wind turbines.  Local conservatives know that the turbines are extremely unpopular but there is tension with coalition partners it seems.  My pennyworth is that 98m tip height turbines are clearly grossly inappropriate for this area: we have several 25m turbines already and we believe that further turbines would be unacceptable.” (E)

“It was with great sadness that we have read the neighbourhood plan, read with horror that wind turbines are once again being entertained in the parish. You will have been aware of the strong feelings of Harberton residents regarding turbines after our successful campaign to stop the Luscombe Cross turbines. Turbines are not acceptable in our beautiful parish and the neighbourhood plan should support this unconditionally.           We have also been very upset and concerned by the number of solar farms that are beginning to march across the South Hams polluting our land and countryside. These ugly panels which are so vast in size are a blight on the area and it should be made clear in the neighbourhood plan that they will not be entertained further and not supported. Solar panels should be confined to the edges of motorways and the roof tops of buildings……enough is enough with the panels that have already allowed. David and Jennifer Wright Ford Farm house Harberton.” (E)

“I was surprised to see the reference to wind farms contained within this plan given the recent scrutiny of the evidence in this regard given to the luscombe cross proposal and the subsequent decisive rejection by local councillors.

The evidence considered in respect of that application reviewed the impact on the local community, the tourist industry, who look to enjoy unspoilt countryside in which to relax,the devastating impact upon our wildlife and it’s habitat and the lack of effectiveness of these structures given their lack of stability and need for consistent back up fossil fuel input which mitigates considerably on their actual benefit.

The area around this parish is already becoming swamped with turbines and solar farms to the extent that it impact upon tourism and wildlife is already being experienced and has been the subject of recent press coverage.

This neighbourhood plan appears to be going behind this evidence and is risking re opening the debate which proved so decisive to the community in the recent past.

Surely the  focus of a neighbourhood plan should be protective of its area which appears to continue to be under attack from a proliferation of applications by powerful industries whose focus is not that of the local benefit.

I do not support the proposals contained within this section of the plan as being in the interests of the area for the reasons outlined above.” (E)

“I am 27 years of age and been a resident of Harberton village all my life. I have read the plan and I disagree firstly with the comments on the renewable energy I believe the use of wind turbines and solar alternatives ruin our beautiful landscape and cause destruction to the people and wildlife within the area. I see this scheme as a money making opportunity which in turn benefits the land owner and energy company. I feel that the ‘financial contribution or compensatory improvements to wildlife habitats and public access in the area’ is a way to pay us off for the noise pollution, visual impact and de-valuation of property these energy systems will cause, as a result I feel they should be put out to sea or miles away from villages and towns where they do not affect the people.”(E)

“Many people confuse Sustainable Energy with Renewable Energy.

Sustainable Energy has two key components: Energy Efficiency and Energy from Renewable and Non-Renewable Sources.

It is not clear in the Neighbourhood Plan that we are talking about Sustainable Energy as opposed to Renewable Energy.

Providing Sustainable Energy for the future is a supply/demand problem and at present the demand is wasteful. We are a nation of consumers and whilst we have energy wastage on a national scale Energy Efficiency – the control of non-essential loads – is a major step towards Sustainable Energy. I realise that promoting energy efficiency is probably not on the HPC agenda. However I would like to see it somehow mentioned in our Neighbourhood Plan so that it doesn’t appear that we are looking only at Renewable Energy supplies in the supply/demand equation.

Perhaps the first policy could say something like:

SE1. Projects which further Energy Efficiency and small scale Renewable Energy projects which are sited sensitively and which minimise harm to the distinctive character of the local landscape will be supported.

Also SE2, as written, doesn’t sound like a course of action.” (E)

“I would suggest that the majority of parishioners in favour of solar and wind projects are those who stand to gain financially. You should be aware of a letter written to all MP’s just yesterday by Gregory Barker, Minister of State at the Department of Energy and Climate Change which includes the following:

“ I do not want uncontrolled expansion of solar on the countryside. The main focus for future growth must be onsite generation. Ideally that should mean rooftop deployment on industrial, commercial and retail rooftops – even car parks and other brownfield sites, as well as domestic roofs. That is the essence of our ambitious Strategy.

To reinforce the point, I have written to every planning authority, making clear my concerns about large, inappropriately sited green field solar farms.”

The full letter can be read at the following link.

With respect, this needs to be a major consideration in your re draft of the policies for sustainable energy.” (E)


Harbertonford responses

“No solar on productive agricultural land. No solar near houses. No solar near businesses that depend on tourism – they blot the landscape.”

“Solar panels and wind turbines. This is an area of outstanding natural beauty – we are responsible for it. Tourism is one of out main industries – don’t underrate it. This is high grade farm land – and it is without doubt a money making exercise for the farmer.”

“I don’t believe there is any community benefit from wind turbines large or small or solar panel farms, other than to rich land owners.” “Solar factories: severe impact on environment. Unacceptable that land is taken out of food production ( + effect on local employment).”

“This parish is already becoming an industrial wasteland with the siting of what was the largest acreage of solar panels in the country (this has now been superceded) at Hazards and Blue Post. Having had the threat of a 50 metre turbine 240 metres from my house, I am horrified to read that the Parish Plan would support turbines of up to this height. I am in favour of small turbines for farm or individual supplies but not for industrial sizes selling supplies to the national grid. The South Brent community turbine is nowhere near 50 metres. I would like to see the plan encourage solar panels on all barns, industrial buildings and homes.”

“I am horrified to see your support for wind turbines up to 50 metres and solar panel “farms”. These blots on the landscape will ruin further the beauty and nature of the parish with very small gain. They will only make a few richer and undermine tourism. I have been visiting this area for 10+ years on holiday and if many more of these monstrosities appear I shall choose to go somewhere else! This area is very beautiful and I suspect that most people who live here have chosen to do so as a consequence of this – please do not ruin it forever.”

“No solar developments: where they impact on tourism businesses Where they already dominate landscape Impact on enjoyment of green lanes (we have very few green lanes as it is) On productive farm land No wind: Over 25 metres high Could affect wildlife Where there is no major wind already”

“Solar panels should be on brownfield sites not farming land. I agree with SE2 that community benefits are essential. There is a danger that tourism and its financial benefits will be eroded as more slar panels are planted in large scale covering farming land. I agree with SE2, SE3, SE4 and SE5. With SE1 “compatible with conservation policies” would be better if the conservation policy prevented the use of farm land for solar panels.”

“Under the heading of Sustainable Energy we feel most strongly that land in the South Hams is too valuable to “bury” beneath solar panels (we need to eat!) and fields of panels spoil views and adversely effect tourism. The alternative wind turbines even “small” 82ft (25m) are no use as a back up is always needed when there is no wind or too much wind.”

“Solar panel site Bellsford I strongly object to the industrialisation of greenfield sites which should be used for agricultural purposes only. We need to maintain the heath of our countryside for existing and future generations, The value of the properties surrounding proposed sites will be greatly and unfairly reduced!”

“ The recent solar farms in the area are a blot on the (what was) wonderful landscape and should not be erected on productive farm land, which should be used for food production. Wind turbines should be sited well away from residential properties – ie up on Dartmoor not in the South Hams”

“ I do not support solar farms. This ia an area of natural beauty and already we have spoilt our countryside with multiple solar farms being allowed. We are a county that relies on tourism and solar farms are very negative and ugly.”

“Sustainable energy SE2: Is there some general assumption re further wind and solar farms? I could not possibly support anything on the larege scale of recent farms – solar and wind. Small scale perhaps. But the large scale proposals will wreck the area and Government Policy is steadily becoming more cautious. And when did the Parish announce that it was “expecting” rewards/compensation form such schemes? Is this another BRIBE on the way?”

“Agree with solar panels on buildings. No more solar farms in the area please. I have read 2 articles in national newspapers recently that have referred to the areas around Diptford as being “industrialised landscape”. Not good for tourism which is a very large employer in the area. 50 metre turbines are far too high – maximum 25 metres.”

“I feel that this is “mission creep” for the neighbourhood plan. It is a national energy issue, and requires a national response, not a patchwork of local responses. There is a feeling around that this has crept into the plan because of a particular bias of the mix of people constructing this plan. Certainly I object strongly to wind turbines of 50 metres high and wholesale conversion of farm land to solar industrialisation. There has been harsh criticism in the recent tourist press of the local solar farm disfiguration, and this cannot be a good thing for our important tourist industry. What is the point of protecting listed buildings because of their historic aesthetics then advocating putting solar panels on their roofs! It is unbelievable short sightedness to compromise the splendid views and vistas that are the cornerstone of our most important industry.”

“I am concerned that the draft neighbourhood plan does not accurately reflect the strong local opposition to any wind turbine over 25 metres to blade tip. Equally strong local opposition to any solar farms on agricultural land should also be clearly reflected. Wind turbines and solar farms spoil the beautiful character of the South Hams and will devalue its attractiveness to the very important tourist industry. They are not cost effective except to land owners.”(E)

“My major concern relates to the Sustainable Energy Heading which appears to be a completely inadequate afterthought. It is totally objectionable to allow the mass infection of our beautiful landscape with industrialised blots such as solar “farms” and monstrous wind turbines. We live near an AONB, the area depends a great deal on tourism as do I. I have already had numerous comments regarding the nearby solar installations with comments such as “when will it end” and “we’ll consider going elsewhere if this proliferation continues”. Until recently, as I understand it, our parish had the largest single industrialisation of the countryside due to a solar panel installation in the whole country! Put them on new builds, cover all buildings on industrial estates by all means but why continue to spoil our beautiful landscape with them? They can be seen for miles around and deny us the opportunity to use the arable land for food production. In a recent edition of the Totnes Times it was reported that a Hollywood film director who had intended to make a film locally had decided not to, purely because of the mass erection of solar panels and locations compromised by wind turbines. I would not wish to take a holiday near a solar farm, or indeed where one could be viewed nearby, I’m sure many other prospective visitors feel the same. Turbines are outdated, expensive, leave a huge carbon footprint, are a danger to wildlife,human health and are testament to greed. I sincerely hope that no more of these hideoua carbuncles are allowed to appear in our area and that the opinion of local people is given due consideration. In terms of renewables, your current draft is seriously inadequate and in absolutely no way does it reflect the majority opinion of the parish population.”(E)

“I live at Overleigh, Eastleigh, Harberton TQ9 7SS I wish to comment on the section dealing with renewable energy – wind energy in particular. I am wholeheartedly in favour of wind energy where appropriate sites are proposed, meaningful energy production can be proven beyond reasonable doubt in advance, and where the balance of harm and benefit in all other respects (such as planning policy, residential amenity, landscape and social cohesion) can be predicted to fall substantially on the side of benefit. During 2012 and 2013 I was actively involved in a group opposing a 45m-to-tip turbine in our Parish, which through our efforts was eventually refused, appealed and then withdrawn.    In my comments here I seek to express some of the factors that became obvious to me specifically as a result of opposing that application. THE FIRST RELATES TO LANDSCAPE AND HERITAGE This Parish is characterised  by time-intact villages and deep rIver valleys, and the time-intact nature of it has rightly been protected for decades through the planning system, and for centuries before.  There is nowhere in our Parish where a 50m turbine could be anything other than an alien structure in this landscape.  The most we can properly achieve here is 25m, and that would mean that turbines should be restricted to energy being produced for individual farmers, schools or businesses (provided that such applications meet other criteria) i.e. this area is not suitable for turbines that feed into the Grid. As you rightly say there are some 100 Heritage Listings in this area and if you consider, on its own,  the matter of ‘affecting the setting of a Listed Building’ it is difficult if not impossible to imagine than a turbine of any larger size than 25m could meet this criterion. I attach for your information two of the documents that the objectors group used during our opposition of the 45m-to-tip turbine then being proposed.  It clearly shows that there were 22 Listings within 0.1.5km of the proposed turbine site, and please also note that Planning Officer failed to report on this accurately in her initial report, in which she said there were only 11. The proliferation of Listed Buildings would apply similarly virtually anywhere in our Parish. THE SECOND RELATES TO THE ISSUE OF COST It is important that we deter applications that would and should result in refusal, not just for our landscape and heritage, but also because the massive waste of public money of properly processing inappropriate applications is an inexcusable waste of public money. During the course of our objection to the proposal that I have cited here, I asked SHDC under the Freedom of Information Act for the total cost of processing it. They did not reply. As the Appeal was withdrawn I did not chase them for an answer, but I am certain that the cost was colossal and would have far exceeded the value of renewal energy that could possibly have been produced. And that is why we must deter such applications through our Neighbourhood Plan and restrict then to 25m only. If anyone involved in the Neighbourhood Plan would like any me detailed information regarding any of the above please do not hesitate to contact me either by email or on 07958 525151.” (E)

“Dear sirsI am writing in response to the neighbourhood plan (draft )Firstly i would like to mention the wonderful picture on the cover ofthis document, it actually sums up exactly what people want to see inrural Devon, which is why i feel the need to raise a few points in thedocument which seem to me, to be exactly the opposite of the picture onthe cover.Point 1 Under sustainable energy it mentions “Wind can providesustainable energy in the Parish” Where does this statement come from?Can it be backed up by proof and documentation?It also mentions wind turbines of 50 metres high, after the Luscombecross application, overwhelmingly rejected by the Parish, it appears tobe against what the people of this Parish think.They should only be 15 to 25 metres at most, and then only for localuse, and NEVER in groups.Point TwoWe have now reached saturation point on solar farms, What was once oneof the most incredible views in Devon ( Blakemore levels) has now beenindelibly blighted by three wind turbines and three solar farms.Technology is moving on very fast, and there are now lots ofalternatives to these blots on the landscape, not to mention the amountof food producing farm land it has taken up, and wasted.Point 3SE4 With the use of wood biomass, it does not make it clear aboutclearance and regeneration of woodland. As mentioned in the documentunder woodland “it is not extensive” in this Parish. Deciduous woodlandshould be preserved, copiced yes, but never cleared.Point 4The installation of solar panels on new and existing buildings.although i agree in principle to this, it is worth mentioning thatthere are now solar tiles on the market and should also be consideredfor use on new builds, this would cut out the need for huge solarpanels on the roof. English heritage make good use of them.Point 5SE2 should be taken out of the document. as this could be giving outthe wrong signals to renewable energy companies who may think we areopen to solar farms and wind turbines which we are certainly not.”(E)

“I don’thave a problem with Renewables – my business manufactures small wind turbnes. The issue I have in the South Hams is Density. There needs to be control over the density of Solar Panels and Wind Turbines that are acceptable in one area.”(E)

“”I am emailing to put my views forward on the Harberton neighbourhood plan. I am a resident of Harberton and I reject the proposal of renewable energy in this area in particular  wind turbines (small or large) and solar panels, I believe they would have a negative impact on the village, taking up valuable farming land and de – valuing properties. I am also concern about potential noise impact and therefore the general health of the local residents”(E).

“Sustainable energy has been a very big issue for Harberton, and the Neighbourhood Plan should do nothing to reopen these issues.

I do not support 50m wind turbines or Solar Farms anywhere near the parish, and hope this is not the intension to open up this possibility via the Neighbourhood Plan.  This need to be clarified in the Plan”(E).

“You may not be surprised to know the aspect of the plan that I have the biggest issue with is the last one in the document entitled Sustainable Energy. This is a subject that is highly emotive and is bringing considerable disharmony to communities throughout the nation not least our own. Potential conflicts of interest are likely to endanger what should be a fair open discussion that would otherwise allow us to arrive at a balanced and sensible conclusion regarding this subject. The current policies as drafted seem to me to display the self interest and blinkered view of a minority. I think it fair to say that the vast majority of the community in the parish are against wind generation in anything like the size of turbine suggested and that we already have more than our fair share of solar panels taking up otherwise useful arable land. Until every square foot of roof space is taken up on every industrial building, not one more solar panel should be placed on agricultural land. This is a topic where majority public opinion should definitely rule and I think I am correct in saying that in a recent poll, 90% of the parish who expressed an opinion, were against large scale developments of wind and solar. For example, a 50 meter turbine is more than twice the height that should be tolerated. In my experience already this year, returning visitors are expressing real shock and disappointment at the recent proliferation. The promised profits of a few landowners are going to compromise the tourist based income of the many.” (E)

“1. 1The statements and suggested policies in respect of renewable energy are contrary to the expressed views of most residents of Harberton parish. John Culf compiled a record of all those residents of the parish who wrote letters of support or objection to the turbines proposed for Luscombe Cross. This record showed that [90%] of those residents who expressed a view objected to the application. The refusal of that application and the application at Foales Leigh, which was also strongly opposed by local residents, show that SHDC endorsed their objections. In the light of this evidence, it would be inappropriate for the neighbourhood plan to include statements and policies diametrically opposed to those expressed by the residents.

2. Turbines with tip heights of 50m (164 feet) are far too tall for this parish. For comparison, the turbine at Brownston Farm, Rattery, is 34.2m (112 feet) tall and that turbine has turned out to be far more conspicuous across much of the South Hams than most people imagined.

3. Single micro turbines of up to 15m (49 feet), which is comparable to the height of the tallest local trees, are likely to be acceptable as long as they are positioned where they do not cause nuisance to neighbours, create a hazard to wildlife or compromise heritage assets or their settings.

4. I attach a copy of the Natural England advice document on the South Hams Special Areas of Conservation in respect of greater horseshoe bats which are protected by European law. This states that “wind turbines (both micro and full scale) would be classed as a high risk development. They are likely to cause adverse impacts on a strategic flyway and within sustenance areas, and consequently adversely affect the favourable conservation status of the SAC.” It imposes stringent bat survey requirements for developments within the consultation zones shown the map in its Annex C. This consultation zone covers much of Harberton parish.

5. The parish already hosts two large solar farms with more applications being considered. Residents have been deeply dismayed by the effects of these industrial arrays upon the landscape. At a Commons debate arranged by our local MP, Dr Sarah Wollaston, on 11 July 2013, the Minister of State for the Department of Energy and Climate Change, Gregory Barker, said that his objective of 20GW for solar energy capacity (ten times larger than the existing official objective) could be achieved if solar panels covered just 16% of suitable roofs of commercial buildings, or only 8% of suitable roofs on our homes, or a mix of the two. So there is actually no valid reason to put solar arrays on productive farm land at all. The Minister expressed the view that solar arrays should be restricted to brown field sites and roofs and not sited on greenfield sites. In this context, Harberton has already done more than most to contribute to solar energy. By contrast, roof mounted solar panels should be encouraged unless they compromise heritage assets or their settings.

6. From the point of view of sustainability, it makes no sense to allow UK farmers to remove land from beef production, for example, so that more beef has to be imported from South America. This directly encourages South American farmers to tear up rain forests to produce beef and ship it around the world to the UK so that it sits on supermarket shelves next to UK-produced beef. The carbon footprint of Brazilian beef was estimated by the Joint Research Centre of the EU Commission to be 80kg CO2-eq per kilogram of beef when land use change is included (and 48kg when land use change is excluded) compared with the EU average of 22.1kg CO2-eq per kilogram of beef.

7. It is a fundamental principle of planning law that planning permissions may be neither bought nor sold, and the invitation in the draft for ‘community benefit’ looks ethically suspect. This is not the kind of soliciting with which the parish council should allow itself to be associated. Furthermore, any undertakings by developers to provide ‘community benefits’ are not enforceable in law, as councils in Cornwall have discovered to their cost, and so are unlikely to materialise in real life.

8. The reference to community projects being supported begs the question of how ‘community’ is defined. The parish has recent experience of a community of shareholders attempting to outsource the problems associated with large turbines to a different community, and the parish residents took grave exception. Unless ‘community’ can be defined to include the residents most immediately affected, then any reference to preferential treatment for ‘community’ projects will be contrary to the views expressed by the vast majority of parish residents who made representations in respect of Luscombe Cross. It would be better to omit the point entirely. When a project is proposed which is genuinely supported by the community of the parish of Harberton, the parish council will have no difficulty identifying and supporting it.

9. I am not sure why biomass projects should only be encouraged where it is for community use and benefit. If biomass projects can improve farm incomes, then I see every reason to encourage such diversification.

I suggest that the following two headings should be rewritten as follows: Sustainable energy

Given its location in the south west of England, the parish has potential for individual solar panels on houses and barns, biomass fermentation or burning, and small contributions from hydro and micro wind turbines

Wind can provide sustainable energy in the parish. However, the erection of turbines over 15 metres high is unlikely to be compatible with the conservation of the landscape or of the protection of the settings of local heritage assets. In view of the significant hazard which turbines present to wildlife, especially bats, turbine applications should be supported by an ecology survey in every case. It should be noted that a consultation zone for a Special Area of Conservation for Greater Horseshoe Bats extends through much of Harberton parish and that additional survey requirements apply within and close to these areas. It should also be noted that householder permitted development rights do not apply within these areas. See attached map.

The relatively high light intensity also ensures that roof mounted solar panels are a financially attractive development.

The geology excludes fracking.


SE1. Sustainable energy projects will be supported, where they are compatible with conservation policies in relation to heritage assets, ecology and residential amenity provided that such projects are supported by those residents likely to suffer significant adverse effects as a result of the application, if any.

SE2. The installation of solar panels on new and existing buildings will be supported, including on listed buildings and in conservation areas, subject to considerations of visual impact, effect upon heritage assets, the settings of heritage assets and physical stress on the structure of the building and, in the case of listed buildings and in conservation areas. subject to approval by English Heritage.

SE3. The use of woodlands and public green spaces for the production of wood biomass will be encouraged, subject to any adverse effects upon ecology.

SE4. Restoration and maintenance of leats and the installation of small scale hydro generators will be encouraged subject to any adverse ecological effects. I have made various specific criticisms above, but I should add that the draft plan contains many useful and constructive proposals, and it would be regrettable if these were rejected by the parish because of the inclusion of views on sustainable energy with which most residents disagree. I attach a Word version of this letter as the formatting of my email is problematic.” (E)

“The Neighbourhood Plan should be a reflection of local people’s view on the future of our local area.

The Sustainable Energy Section has been written with a clear bias in favour of big renewable schemes. Local opinion is overwhelmingly against such schemes. As such I believe this section is not acceptable and needs to be re-written.

I first came to the South Hams 14 years ago. I remember vividly the first time, driving on the road to Totnes from the A38 and being struck by the magical beauty of the gentle undulations of the valley. I remember clearly feeling relief that such a place really existed – not just in the storybooks – as I came up and over the hill from Totnes towards Harberton – the ancient copses and beautiful classic English countryside views all around. There is nowhere in the UK (or Europe) with this same magical quality. This Gem of English Countryside has been maintained by local people for centuries for us and our children to enjoy. Perhaps when you are immersed in this beautiful countryside for long enough, you forget that it is totally unique. It is worth driving up-country, just as a reminder of the bland semi-urbanisation and industrialisation that has homogenised vast tracts of the UK. These days I love coming home – to the South Hams, and to Harberton. I still recognise how lucky we are to be able to live in this unique spot on the planet.

There is a place for Industrial Scale Sustainable Energy – the Bio-Degradable Nappies that my business sells are produced in Mexico, where our factory has built a 100MW Wind farm in the Industrial Zone on the edge of the city. I am subscribed to a project to develop Solar Farms in the Sahara -we are laying cables under the Mediterranean to bring clean electricity to Europe – the goal is to provide 30% of Europe’s energy in the next 30 years. Locally in the South Hams we can contribute. Small scale projects should be welcomed. By small scale, I mean wind turbines of less than 25m, Solar arrays of less than half an acre, with careful consideration to ensure low density, positioned and landscaped so there is no detrimental effect on the local countryside – which is the real asset that the South Hams must protect. We should strongly encourage all new buildings to have solar panel roof coverage of at least 30% – and object to plans that do not include this element.

We have Beautiful Countryside, the Sahara has Sunshine, the plains of Mexico have Wind in abundance. Let’s do what comes naturally. I would be delighted to join the Steering Committee for an evening to help re-write the Sustainable Energy Section of the Neighbourhood Plan.” (E)

“Under no circumstances must we encourage any form of standalone or groups of medium to large wind turbines within the Parish nor solar farms of any acreage. The result of allowing such development will only industrialise our landscape and destroy our tourist industry. The pastoral backdrop of our local environment must be retained for food production and amenity value – not an expansion of industry or urbanisation. The community has recently been split over a large turbine application as you are aware and with this still very fresh in people’s minds, the HNP should do nothing to reopen just issues.”