Case Officer:  Graham Smith                  Parish:  Malborough   Ward:  Salcombe and Thurlestone


Application No:  3235/21/FUL     





Mr Mike Derry - Derry Owen Architects

Derry Owen Architects

Unit 5 Homelands

Higher Union Road





Mr & Mrs Brazier

Harwood Farm

Salcombe Road




Site Address:  Harwood Farm, Salcombe Road, Marlborough, TQ7 3EW


Development:  New Residential Dwelling



Reason item is being put before Committee – called in by Cllr Mark Long for the following reason:


I would want this application to go before the Development Management Committee for consideration and review given the application was submitted a year ago, the numerous points and concerns raised in the Officers report, questions on the size of an Agricultural/Rural workers dwelling development, the views on landscape and visual impact, and related policy questions. Also, how this application has run for a year with such concerns expressed in the Officers report.


Recommendation: Refuse planning permission for the following reasons:


  1. The size of the dwelling would not be commensurate with the functional need of the business as an agricultural workers unit in perpetuity and is therefore contrary to SPT1, SPT2, TTV1, TTV26 of the Plymouth and South West Devon Joint Local Plan 2014-2034 (JLP).
  2. The development would result in an incongruous addition at a prominent and protected part of the landscape and would fail to conserve or enhance the character and setting of this countryside location thereby failing to comply with DEV20, DEV23, DEV24 and DEV25 of the JLP, Policies 5 and 14 of the Marlborough Neighbourhood Plan 2012-2034 (MNP) and paragraphs 130 (c) and 176 of National Planning Policy Framework 2021 (NPPF).
  3. The development fails to demonstrate what carbon reduction measures will be put in place to minimise the carbon footprint of the development and how light pollution would be mitigated and does not comply with SPT1 and DEV32 of the JLP, Policies 9 and 12 of the MNP and paragraphs 8 (c) and 152, 157(b) of NPPF.
  4. The application has failed to demonstrate the foul discharge arrangements and if those arrangements will have the capacity for additional usage, or if mitigation or an alternative solution is possible and is therefore contrary to Policy DEV35 of the Joint Local Plan.
  5. The development does not contain the necessary legal agreement or commitment that would secure the dwelling as a principle residence and therefore fails to comply with Policy 3 of the Marlborough Neighbourhood Plan 2014-2034.


Key issues for consideration:


Principle of Development, Design and Landscape Impact, Residential Amenity, Highways, Ecology, Drainage, Climate Change




Site Description:


Rectangular shaped area of some 1180m² that forms part of a larger 9 acre agricultural holding to the north of A381 Salcombe Road. The site sits in an elevated position in an Area Of Natural Beauty (AONB) and The Undeveloped Coast and is surrounded by fields on all sides with an agricultural shed associated with the applicant’s farm business to the south.


The site has contained temporary residential accommodation since 2019 and has been a base for lambing the applicant’s ewe flock, farrowing outdoor pigs, and poultry and contains a goat herd. The nearby agricultural building is used for fodder storage and a gathering/collection for pigs, lambs and goats.


The Proposal:


Permission is sought for a detached dwellinghouse with accommodation over two levels containing 4 bedrooms and some office and utility space associated with the rural business. A sloping pitched roof design would be incorporated with eaves sitting lower on the southern elevation and full height two storey to the rear.




·         County Highways Authority                


Do not object. Reference is made to standing advice


·         Town/Parish Council


Salcombe Town Council - No comment but there should be a condition that the building remains as an agricultural building tied to the farm in perpetuity.


Marlborough - Support


·           Landscape


The LPA Landscape officer objects to the proposal on landscape impact grounds. They objected to the previous proposal for temporary accommodation on this site on the basis of the location of the site at an isolated and elevated location in the AONB and undeveloped coast. There is a concern that the development would provide a conflict with the rural and tranquil, undeveloped and remote characteristics that define this protected landscape. It is not considered that there is anything in this proposal to demonstrate that it will conserve landscape character, nor are there any indications that it will provide enhancement.




10 representations were received in support of the application and two were received in objection.


A summary of supporting points made is as follows:



A summary of points of objections is as follows:



Relevant Planning History


1211/18/AGR – Application for prior notification of agricultural or forestry development – details required


1787/18/PAA – Prior approval application for erection of agricultural building required and given 14th June 2018


0184/19/FUL – Provision of temporary mobile home for agricultural/business accommodation CONDITION APPROVAL 21st August 2019




Principle of Development/Sustainability:


Policies SPT1 and SPT provide the spatial vision for growth across the policy area with the theme of sustainability underpinning all of the guiding principles.


The approach to delivering sustainable development in the Thriving Towns and Villages parts of the plan area is outlined in Policy TTV1. This policy introduces a hierarchy of sustainable settlements and under this policy development in the countryside will only be permitted if it can be demonstrated to support the principles of sustainable development and sustainable communities. Policy TTV2 then goes on to indicate specific objectives of rural sustainability, namely, the location of housing where it will enhance or maintain the vitality of rural communities and the growth and expansion of rural business and enterprise.


With respect to Policy TTV1, the site is within the countryside and as such the proposal needs to demonstrate support for the principles of sustainable development and sustainable communities (Policy SPT 1 and 2) as provided for in Policies TTV26 and TTV27. The site has not been put forward as an affordable housing exception site therefore TTV27 is not engaged.


Policy TTV26 provides criteria for assessing development in the countryside. The Local Planning Authority is applying the Bramshill Ruling City & Country Bramshill Ltd v Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government & Ors (2021) EWCA Civ 320 when considering whether a proposal site should be described as ‘isolated’ in planning terms. In terms of isolation, in applying the Bramshill ruling, the LPA will consider “…the word “isolated” in the phrase “isolated homes in the countryside” simply connotes a dwelling that is physically separate or remote from a settlement. Whether a proposed new dwelling is or is not “isolated” in this sense is a matter of fact and planning judgement for the decision-maker in the particular circumstances of the case in hand.”


The site by its nature is agricultural, and despite the neighbouring agricultural shed is considered to be physically separate or remote from a settlement, the nearest of which Horsecombe which is approximately 600 metres away beyond open fields. The applicant’s shop in Salcombe is approximately 2 km away along Salcombe Road. The general pattern of development in the immediate vicinity is relatively dispersed and it is anticipated that car travel would be the dominant means of getting around. In the circumstances, as a matter of planning judgement, the site is considered to be physically separate and remote from the nearest settlement and is therefore considered to be an isolated location.


The criteria of TTV26 is the appropriate starting point to assess the impact further which is as follows:


The LPAs will protect the special characteristics and role of the countryside. The following provisions will apply to the consideration of development proposals:


  1. Isolated development in the countryside will be avoided and only permitted in exceptional circumstances, such as where it would:


                      i.        Meet an essential need for a rural worker to live permanently at or near their place of work in the countryside and maintain that role for the development in perpetuity; or

                    ii.        Secure the long term future and viable use of a significant heritage asset; or

                   iii.        Secure the re-use of redundant or disused buildings and brownfield sites for an appropriate use; or

                   iv.        Secure a development of truly outstanding or innovative sustainability and design, which helps to raise standards of design more generally in the rural area, significantly enhances its immediate setting, and is sensitive to the defining characteristics of the local area; or

                    v.        Protect or enhance the character of historic assets and their settings.


  1. Development proposals should, where appropriate:


                      i.        Protect and improve rights of way

                    ii.        Re-use traditional buildings that are structurally sound enough for renovation without significant enhancement or alteration.

                   iii.        Be complementary to and not prejudice any viable agricultural operations on a farm and other existing viable uses.

                   iv.        Respond to a proven agricultural, forestry and other occupational need that requires a countryside location.

                    v.        Avoid the use of Best and Most Versatile Agricultural Land.

                   vi.        Help enhance the immediate setting of the site and include a management plan and exit strategy that demonstrates how long term degradation of the landscape and natural environment will be avoided


With regards to TTV26(1)(i) it is important to consider if there is an essential need for the development, and, if the proposal would maintain the role of an agricultural workers dwelling in perpetuity.


There is no floorspace threshold in the JLP or NPPF regarding the scale that would be appropriate for a rural worker’s dwelling. This LPA uses an indicative floorspace range of between 160 m²  - 175 m². Whilst some applicants may want a larger dwelling based on their own personal circumstances it is the requirements of the enterprise, rather than those of the owner or occupier, that are relevant in determining the size of the dwelling that is appropriate to a particular holding. The applicant has specified that 50 m² of the floorspace would be business related and the remaining 190 m² would be residential.


In considering the size and scale officers have taken cognisance of recent appeal decisions that have dealt with larger designs for rural workers dwellings. Decisions such as APP/H3320/W/18/3215240 and APP/L3245/W/21/3276073 accepted a functional requirement for residential floorspace in the region of 180m² after careful consideration of the needs of the business. One of the above for example included accommodation for 3-5 full time workers onsite. This proposal will allow the applicants, a husband and wife team, to stay onsite and in relative close proximity to their butcher shop and they specify that the size is required to meet their future family needs and the developing business.


The agricultural justification has been reviewed and based on the evidence submitted in support of the application officers would agree that there is a requirement for a permanent residential presence on this site in order to tend to the livestock associated with the applicant’s business. In addition the agricultural consultant is satisfied that the build costs would not undermine the viability of the business. Accounts for a 2 year period were submitted demonstrating that the farm business makes modest profits. The applicant states that profits have been reinvested in the business and highlight that they receive rental income from the Salcombe Meat Company which uses the outbuilding as a butchery and is a separate legal entity. The build will be primarily financed and funded by personal savings with the applicants themselves playing an active role in the construction process. Based on the figures submitted and the explanation accompanying them, there are no concerns over the financial merits of the business and whether it is financially viable and sustainable.  On this basis the costs associated with the build, are not considered to affect the viability of the business moving forward.


However, the size of the proposed dwelling is considered to exceed the normal size that would be commensurate with a functional agricultural workers accommodation. The agricultural holding is relatively modest at this location and it is understood that the majority of the applicant’s stock is on rented land elsewhere. If approved, a dwelling of the size proposed, relatively close to Salcombe in the future is highly unlikely to be financially accessible as a rural worker’s dwelling over the long term. On this basis a dwelling of the size proposed is not considered to meet an essential need that would maintain the role of rural workers accommodation in perpetuity.


It is not considered that the dwelling proposed is of a size commensurate with the established functional requirement of the business. Dwellings that are unusually large in relation to the agricultural needs of the unit should not be permitted.


Not all the criteria of TTV26 (2) are engaged. The locational justification for a dwelling at this location is accepted however, as detailed below the site is within a protected landscape and the design, size and scale would not help enhance the immediate setting of the site. 


On balance a dwelling of the size proposed is not considered to protect the special characteristics and role of the countryside. In the absence of a justification for a larger property, and taking cognisance of the harm to the protected landscape at this location, the development is not considered to result in sustainable development and is contrary to Policies SPT1, SPT2 and TTV26 of JLP.




The Policies of the JLP and the NPPF recognise the intrinsic beauty of the Countryside generally and give added protection to areas such as this that fall within the South Devon Area of Natural Beauty (AONB) and Undeveloped Coast. Policy DEV20 encourages good design as a means of delivering a good quality sense of place and Policy DEV23 requires proposals to be located and designed to respect scenic quality by conserving and enhancing the landscape.


This approach is in line with NPPF paragraph 130 which requires development to (b) be “visually attractive as a result of good architecture, layout and appropriate and effective landscaping” and (c) “sympathetic to local character and history, including the surrounding built environment and landscape setting.”


JLP Policy DEV24 does not permit development that would have a detrimental effect on the undeveloped coast except under exceptional circumstances. Development will only be permitted in such areas where the development:


  1. Can demonstrate that it requires a coastal location.
  2. It can reasonably be located outside the Undeveloped Coast.
  3. Protects, maintains and enhances the unique landscape and seascape character and special qualities of the area.
  4. Is consistent with policy statements for the local policy unit in the current shoreline management plan.
  5. Is consistent with the relevant heritage coast objectives, as contained within the relevant AONB Management Plan.


JLP Policy DEV25 gives the highest degree of protection to the AONB from potentially damaging or inappropriate development. In particular LPAs must give great weight to conserving landscape and scenic beauty, consider direct, indirect and cumulative impacts of development, encouraging small scale proposals that are sustainably and appropriately located and designed to conserve, enhance and restore protected landscapes. In addition opportunities must be sought to enhance and restore protected landscapes and prevent the addition of incongruous features.


The dwelling has been positioned close to the existing agricultural building at an elevated position in the landscape. One of the neighbours has highlighted that there are more discreet locations in the landscape within the wider site where the dwelling would appears less conspicuous. They also consider the existing barn to detract from the landscape and that the proposed dwelling would exacerbate this. The applicant has responded by disputing that it is prominent and highlighting that they have allowed hedgerows to grow in order to “lessen the impact” and that the agricultural building benefits from planning permission and the house was therefore positioned close to that with a design that seeks to replicate the aesthetic of the existing outbuilding. They also argue that the proposed house will be lower in height than the barn and will be cut into the landscape albeit no topographical details have been submitted or landscape impact assessment that would demonstrate the change in levels and demonstrate how the dwelling would integrate into the landscape to support this.


The existing agricultural outbuilding was given ‘prior approval’ therefore the design submitted for that did not require full planning permission and was permitted development. The height of the apex of the pitched roof in the plans submitted for that application was 4.9m. The height of the building proposed in this application to the apex is approximately 6.4m. The proposed dwelling is therefore approximately 1.5 metres higher than the barn. There is natural undulating land at this location and the agricultural building will sit higher in the landscape but it appears that there will need to be a significant change to the site levels in order to accommodate the two storey dwelling to sit lower on the landscape.


The site is considered to be an elevated and prominent location on the landscape setting which generally is one of gentle and natural undulating levels providing tranquillity. It is noted that there are agricultural style buildings in the vicinity, and these traditionally serve a functional purpose and the nature of their use is such that there is a physical requirement to be the dimensions to be the way they are. Many are built under permitted development rights. It is also accepted that hedgerows and planting can screen development and help mitigate the visual impact of new development.


However, in design terms, it is not agreed that new housing should seek to replicate modern agricultural barns in terms of scale and massing. The design, scale and massing of this proposal resembles a more industrial style rather than that of a dwelling and is not considered to be appropriate for the surrounding rural context. In this respect the proposal is not considered to provide a quality design solution for the site and, in such a prominent location, it will be visible on the wider landscape and introduce an incongruous feature that will not integrate well on the protected landscape. Planting, and allowing hedgerows to grow will only help screen the development to an extent. The adopted policy requires developments to enhance or conserve the landscape and achieve a design that reinforces local distinctiveness and protects, maintains and enhances the unique landscape of the undeveloped coast and AONB which the development is not considered to do.


In terms of layout, and the position of the dwelling the applicant has given no justification why the dwelling would need to be in the most prominent location and could not be located at a lower level. Presumably it is preferable to be closer to the agricultural outbuilding but no justification has been given or the kind of landscape impact assessment submitted which would help them justify the visual impact. It is agreed with the neighbour that the agricultural building does not enhance the landscape setting at this location and consequently, in accordance with adopted policy, the LPA is required to consider any potentially damaging cumulative impact. The design seeks to replicate the agricultural shed and in this respect it is consider that it would result in additional harm to the landscape.


The proposal is not considered to respect the scenic quality of the surrounding protected landscape or contain a design of the requisite quality for such a protected area. The size and scale will dominate the landscape to the detriment of the wider area and the development is therefore contrary to DEV20, DEV23, DEV24, DEV25 and NPPF paragraph 130.


Neighbour Amenity:


Policy DEV1 of the JLP protects health and amenity by ensuring that development does not cause any adverse impact on residents. Issues such as overshadowing, privacy and noise from development, amongst others, are considered.


There are no neighbouring dwellings in the immediate vicinity of the site and the proposal is not therefore considered to result in an unacceptable loss of residential amenity. As such the proposal is considered to accord with DEV1.




The existing access would be utilised and The County Highways Officer has been consulted and raised no objections. The proposal is therefore considered to be in accordance with Policy DEV29 of the JLP.




Policy DEV26 of the JLP requires protection, conservation and enhancement of biodiversity. The requisite wildlife trigger form has been completed showing that the site is unlikely to pose a threat to any protected species. The site is an agricultural field and the development could be accommodated without any conflicts with DEV26.




Policy DEV35 requires consideration of surface water, flood risk and foul drainage. In terms of surface water there is not a high risk of flooding in this area and the development falls within the low risk category whereby a condition could be added to ensure that full drainage details are provided prior to occupation.


With regards to foul drainage DEV35 (8) states that development will not be permitted without confirmation that sewage/wastewater treatment facilities can accommodate or will be improved to accommodate the new development.


A detailed planning application for a new dwelling such as this should be accompanied by an FDA (Foul Drainage Assessment) Form which would provide some basic information on the existing public drainage infrastructure and the likelihood of it accommodating the new development or being improved to accommodate the new development. The requisite form has not been submitted in this instance. It is unclear what the impact would be, and, if there is any infrastructure improvements necessary to mitigate any adverse impacts on the sewer network. In addition, it is unclear what alternative non-mains solution would be incorporated at this environmentally sensitive location.  In the absence of such information the proposal is considered to be contrary to Policy DEV35 of the JLP.


Climate Change


Paragraph 8 (c), 152 and 157 (b) of the NPPF articulates the need for the planning system to support the transition to a low carbon future in a changing climate, taking full account of flood risk and coastal change and for development to propose solutions for carbon reduction. NPPF paragraph 120(b) gives a recognition that undeveloped land can perform many functions, of which carbon storage is one. The JLP also supports the transition to a low carbon future with DEV32 requiring developments to identify opportunities to minimise the use of natural resources and reduce the energy load.


No supporting information has accompanied this application that would demonstrate that the development will achieve a carbon reduction. As such it is not clear if the need for carbon reduction has influenced the layout, building orientation, massing and landscaping and what the impact will be in this respect. The proposal therefore fails to accord with DEV32 and the relevant paragraphs of the NPPF.


This application has been considered in accordance with Section 38 of the Planning & Compulsory Purchase Act 2004


Planning Policy


Relevant policy framework


Section 70 of the 1990 Town and Country Planning Act requires that regard be had to the development plan, any local finance and any other material considerations. Section 38(6) of the 2004 Planning and Compensation Act requires that applications are to be determined in accordance with the development plan unless material considerations indicate otherwise.  For the purposes of decision making, as of March 26th 2019, the Plymouth & South West Devon Joint Local Plan 2014 - 2034 is now part of the development plan for Plymouth City Council, South Hams District Council and West Devon Borough Council (other than parts of South Hams and West Devon within Dartmoor National Park).


On 26 March 2019 of the Plymouth & South West Devon Joint Local Plan was adopted by all three of the component authorities. Following adoption, the three authorities jointly notified the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG)* of their choice to monitor the Housing Requirement at the whole plan level. This is for the purposes of the Housing Delivery Test (HDT) and the 5 Year Housing Land Supply assessment.  A letter from MHCLG to the Authorities was received on 13 May 2019 confirming the change.


On 13th January 2021 MHCLG published the HDT 2020 measurement.  This confirmed the Plymouth. South Hams and West Devon’s joint HDT measurement as 144% and the consequences are “None”.


Therefore a 5% buffer is applied for the purposes of calculating a 5 year land supply at a whole plan level. When applying the 5% buffer, the combined authorities can demonstrate a 5-year land supply of 5.8 years at end March 2021 (the 2021 Monitoring Point). This is set out in the Plymouth, South Hams & West Devon Local Planning Authorities’ Housing Position Statement 2021 (published 12th November 2021).


[*now known as Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities]


The relevant development plan policies are set out below:


The Plymouth & South West Devon Joint Local Plan was adopted by South Hams District Council on March 21st 2019 and West Devon Borough Council on March 26th 2019.


SPT1 Delivering sustainable development

SPT2 Sustainable linked neighbourhoods and sustainable rural communities

TTV1 Prioritising growth through a hierarchy of sustainable settlements

TTV2 Delivering sustainable development in the Thriving Towns and Villages Policy Area

TTV26 Development in the Countryside

TTV27 Meeting local housing needs in rural areas

DEV1 Protecting health and amenity

DEV26 Protecting and enhancing biodiversity and geological conservation

DEV29 Specific provisions relating to transport

DEV32 Delivering low carbon development

DEV35 Managing flood risk and Water Quality Impacts


Neighbourhood Plan - The site lies within the Marlborough Neighbourhood Plan 2014-2034 (MNP) area. The relevant policies are:


Principle Residence – Objective HD1 provides a commitment to encourage, facilitate and integrate ‘principle residence’ housing and Policy 3 states that all new open market housing will only be supported where there is a restriction to ensure its occupancy as a principle residence.


The applicant has not submitted or confirmed that they would be agreeable to the necessary obligation being imposed that would secure the proposed dwelling as a primary residence for them. In the absence of the necessary legal agreement securing this the proposal is considered to fail to comply with HD1 or Policy 3 of the MNP.


High Quality Design – Objective HD2 of the MNP gives great weight to only permitting high quality design that will sit comfortably with and respond to local surroundings, the landscape and existing buildings. In line with the relevant JLP Policy and NPPF Policy 5 requires proposals to be reflective of the scale and character of existing and surrounding buildings and be supported by landscape and visual appraisal of the site in order to determine the impact on local views.


This application has not been submitted by a Landscape Appraisal and the design, scale, and, massing of the development as already detailed is considered to be unacceptable. As such it is considered that the proposal does not achieve the kind of high quality design that would respond well to its local surroundings and the protected landscape and is therefore contrary to Objective HD2 and Policy 5.


Energy Efficiency/Climate Change – Objective G1 requires all new development to be energy efficient and sustainable focussing on a ‘fabric first approach’ and by limiting dark skies. Policy 9 provides the requisite criteria to assess how proposals adapt to climate change. Developers are encouraged to demonstrate in proposals how design, construction and operation have sought to:



Policy 12 promotes a dark skies policy and recognises that the parish is ‘intrinsically dark’ and therefore deserves protection. Under the terms of this policy all new development should demonstrate how it is planned to minimise light pollution. The drive towards energy efficiency requires the submission of appropriate measures alongside planning applications.


This development has not been supported by any information that would demonstrate that energy efficiency/carbon reduction issues have been considered or what measures, if any, would be incorporated to minimise light pollution on what is an intrinsically dark, protected landscape. As such the proposal does not accord with Objective G1 and Policies 9 and 12 of the MNP.   


Siting of Development


Policy 14 contains a presumption against development in the open countryside unless specifically provided for by other policies in the Neighbourhood Plan and provided; “There is no significant detrimental effect on the character of the countryside by virtue of the proposed development’s siting, size and prominence in the landscape”


As already detailed in this report, whilst officers consider that the proposal for residential rural workers accommodation is acceptable in principle at this location, the siting of the development at a prominent location and its size, design and visual prominence is such that it would be considered to be of significant detriment to the landscape. On this basis the proposal also fails to accord with Policy 14 of the MNP.


Other material considerations include the policies of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) including but not limited to paragraphs 8(C), 120, 130, 152, 157 and 176


Considerations under Human Rights Act 1998 and Equalities Act 2010


The provisions of the Human Rights Act 1998 and Equalities Act 2010 have been taken into account in reaching the recommendation contained in this report.