Breach of Planning Control at Benfield Valley: Contesting the Appeal
Updated: Jan 10, 2022
As some of you may know, the leaseholders of the north end of the valley (from Greenleas up to the A27) received a notification from BHCC on 12th February 2021 of a breach of planning control.
The Alleged Breach of Planning Control: Without planning permission, the deposit of chalk spoil and aggregate creating hardstanding, mounds and chalk bunds at the Property in the area shown coloured green on the plan.'
Shortly after this, the leaseholders put in a planning application requesting to turn these chalk piles into 'wildflower bunds.' A number of local residents expressed their concerns at this for reasons such as chalk piles not being appropriate to use to grow wildflowers as well as this not being an ecologically sound way of 'removing' the piles. This is on top of the clearance of trees and ancient hedgerow at the same site, meaning that not only has the ecology felt this impact but also the local residents, who now have their existing views marred by huge piles of chalk.
On 18th May, we, along with other contesters, received a letter from the BHCC planning department stating that the leaseholders (Benfield Investments Ltd) have responded by sending an appeal to the Secretary of State. The letter stated the following:
'An appeal has been made to the Secretary of State by Benfield Valley Investments Ltd against an enforcement notice issued by the Council on 12 February 2021.
The Council’s reasons for issuing the notice are:
1.It appears to the Council that the above breach of planning control has occurred within the last four years.
2.It is considered expedient to issue the notice because the deposit of chalk/aggregate spoil and creation of hardstanding mounds and chalk bunds, by reason of its positioning and materials is an incongruous addition and has caused significant harm to the area and this Site of Nature Conservation Importance (SNCI). The development is contrary to policies CP16 and SA4 of the Brighton and Hove City Plan Part One and policies NC4, NC9 and NC11 of the Brighton and Hove Local Plan.
3.It is considered expedient to issue the notice because of the significant visual harm to the surrounding area, including the setting of the grade II listed Benfield Barn and the setting of the Benfield Barn Conservation Area contrary to policies HE3, HE6 and QD27 of the Brighton and Hove Local Plan.
The enforcement notice requires the following steps to be taken:
Completely remove from the Property the chalk spoil heaps and aggregate mounds in the area shown coloured green on the aerial photo below.
Completely remove from the Property the chalk bunds deposited in the area shown edged in green on the aerial photo below. [i.e. the car park and new hardstanding area].
Completely remove from the Property the newly created hardstanding area in the area shown coloured green on the aerial photo below.
Return the land edged in green to its former condition and character, including reinstating any appropriate vegetation lost as a result of the deposit of chalk spoil, bunds and extending of the car park.
The appellant has appealed against the notice on the following grounds:
Ground (a) – that planning permission should be granted for what is alleged in the notice.
Ground (f) – the steps required to comply with the requirements of the notice are excessive and lesser steps would overcome the objections.
Ground (g) – that the time given to comply with the notice is too short.
What you can do to contest this appeal.
If you wish to make comments, you can do so online at https://acp.planninginspectorate.gov.uk or you can send comments to:
The Planning Inspectorate
Room 3B, Eagle Wing
Temple Quay House
2 The Square
All comments must be submitted by Tuesday 22nd June 2021.
'You can get a copy of one of the Planning Inspectorate’s “Guide to taking part in enforcement appeals” at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/taking-part-in-a-planning-listed-building-or-enforcement-appeal.
When made, the decision will be published online at https://acp.planninginspectorate.gov.uk'
Thanks as always for your support. Please do contact us if you have any questions or concerns or refer to our 'useful links' page for more information about contacting the council.
The BVP Team