Above is a link to the official document issued by The Planning Inspectorate. It is a PDF so you can download it to your own computer or print it out.
The decision document is dated 17 October 2013 and sets out in detail the issues raised at Appeal and the basis upon which John Woolcock, Planning Inspector, arrived at his decision to dismiss MVV’s and Gilpin Demolition’s appeal of Devon County Council’s planning decision.
Whitecleave Quarry is a mineral site. It is also a site of rich biodiversity. The current legal use of this land is mineral extraction, quarrying. As such, it will eventually be returned to nature. Gilpin’s new planning application threatens the site being returned to nature and the continuing development of biodiversity long term, because the land use will change to industrial use. Land for industrial use has no such obligations placed upon it, and industrial activity is poorly monitored and infringements often not enforced.
In addition, industrialisation of land damages the natural habitat of a vast number of species, including the endangered and legally protected species we have here in and around Whitecleave Quarry, and can destroy it forever. A great deal of damage has already occured at Whitecleave Quarry. Much of this is documented as evidence presented at the Appeal.
The community of Buckfastleigh is currently in the process of creating their Neighbourhood Plan. The industrialisation of Whitecleave Quarry is completely contrary to the Neighbourhood Plan as it is currently stands.
Here are some extracts from the Planning Inspector’s report:
94. The planning obligation is a material consideration to which I have given weight
in determining this appeal. There are potentially some advantages in revoking
the mining permission in favour of the appeal scheme, insofar as there might
be some short term benefits for the local community in terms of restrictions on
working hours, vehicle movements, blasting and noise limits. The appellant
argues that it would create some certainty. But the extant permission provides
for the eventual restoration of the site for nature conservation, whereas the
appeal scheme would provide a permanent facility for waste management. The
appellant does not place great weight on the revocation of the mining
permission because of the limited economic reserves that remain within the
quarry. Notwithstanding some benefits of revocation, it would remove the
current restoration requirements, and so I do not consider that it weighs in
favour of allowing the appeal.
100. The Framework states that pursuing sustainable development involves
seeking positive improvements in the quality of the built, natural and historic
environment, as well as in people’s quality of life, including moving from a net
loss of biodiversity to achieving net gains for nature, and improving the
conditions in which people live, work, travel and take leisure. I find that the
proposed development would not represent sustainable development to which
the presumption in favour set out in the Framework would apply. National
policies, when read as a whole, do not support the proposal.