See the lead story in today's Dawlish Gazette.
I read this and wondered why TDC are keeping the position of the SANGS under wraps until the completion of the deal. Is it because it is a controversial site and they don't want any aggro from the tax paying public? If they are so convinced they have done a good job on this then why all the secrecy?
Here are the 4 options that were on the table in 2013:
The requirement for Suitable Alternative Natural Green Space to provide mitigation for proposed development at Dawlish and draw visitors away from the Dawlish Warren and Exe Estuary protected European wildlife sites
Analysis of potential site options May 2013
Thanks Gary, but if they have chosen one of the other options why not simply say so and say which one it is?
Right.......so......if it ain't gonna be Warren Farm (and other immediate adjacent land in other ownerships) then how do they (TDC) 'undo' the bit of the Local Plan that identifies Warren Farm as being the site for the SANGS. In planning speak, how does DA7 stop being DA7?
Excellent point Lynne. Obviously they make the rules up as they go along to suit themselves. I am glad Farmer Week's land and livelihood are safe but the secrecy around the chosen site has a nasty whiff to it. However, it will all be revealed eventually, when the taxpaying public can do nothing about it!
Maybe client confidentiality is being maintained because the landowner has requested it as part of their conditions for selling their private land to TDC (using Section 106 money, not council tax payers money)?
I can't think of any land in the area that could be described as "controversial" if it's to be willingly used for SANGS purposes. Can anyone else?
My guess is that it's going to be land owned by one of the Jeffrey brothers (or their families).
Better that the land be used for SANGS rather than houses, surely?
(Edited by Morty Vicker at 21:38 to remove one word).
One very good reason why any new area of land set aside for SANGS is controversial, Morty. This new site has now been referred to as a 'country park' - not a Coastal Park. As such this will have implications for Plan Teignbridge and for many of the planning and legal documents that have been prepared and acted upon over the last 3 years.
Of course the siting for the provision of SANGS has been controversial from the outset, with much of the site chosen by Teignbridge (from the list of 4 contenders in 2013) owned by a farming family who have told our local authority repeatedly that its Warren Farm land was not for sale.
This is the 'Threat' section from the SWOT analysis from the above 2013 report:
57.3 % (15.13 hectares) of the site is grade 1 agricultural land
Potential risk of unstable ground along the cliffs
Land believed to be in five principal ownerships, including part controlled by the local authority
It is understood that one landowner has indicated the land is not available for SANGS
Ownership of part of the site is not known (1.3 hectare rectangular field in the north west corner) Further work is needed to clarify the potential for the delivery of SANGS and its management
Leaving aside the ethics of the consideration of a Compulsory Purchase Order for Warren Farm, it can be seen that there were a number of very good reasons to have questioned the delivery of SANGS at Warren Farm well before Plan Teignbridge went to the inspector. Since then of course there has been a reduction in the amount of land intended for purchase for a 'Coastal Park' (down 15% from an already deficient 26ha to 22ha). At the same time of course, the amount of approved new housing (against which the SANGS area should be calculated) has risen substantially, with around 50 additional homes adjacent to Langdon Hospital and 350 at Warren Grove.
While I am delighted for the Weeks family that they no longer have the threat of a CPO hanging over Warren Farm, it is the tax-payer who will be picking up the tab for this Teignbridge U-turn. It is therefore to be hoped that having finally responded to public pressure, the money set aside for SANGS is properly used for the benefit of the public - and for the protection of our environment.
and TDC should never have designated Warren Farm and adjacent land as the site for a SANGS in the first place as the land is sited right next door to a water treatment works which regularly pongs.
"SANGS must be free from unpleasant intrusions (eg sewage treatment work smells etc)"
Thanks Gary. I totally understand where you're coming from. But is there a physical location in the area that in itself could be described as being controversial? Most members of the public won't care whether it's a coastal park or a country park, but I get your concerns re the implications for the local plan.
We will just have to wait and see as TDC are being so secretive. 106 money is still money for public use and the public should know up front what TDC plan for their area.
But, naturally, Mrs C will disagree with anything I say!
There are pros and cons for all four of the sites on the original Options list in the 2013 report, Morty.
An open, attractive site, good access and parking would be some of the most important issues, as any new park will be expected to draw visitors away from the Dawlish Warren beaches. A 'diversion' of visitors is part of a strategy to counterbalance those residents living in the new housing who may chose the coast rather than the countryside.
This business of the SANGS being needed to draw people away from the Warren.
Haven't I read somewhere lately that TDC plan on spending money on a new visitors centre at the Warren in order to er.........increase the number of visitors?
Lynne, the proposed visitor centre is intended to be an educational facility for visitors of all ages and from near and far. It's not going to be a tourist attraction in its own right.
At least no-one seems able to name a controversial site for the SANGS in the area. I think everyone understands why the location can't be named until contracts are signed.
But the visitor centre will still have the effect of encouraging people to visit the Warren.
Not that I am particularly bothered about that it's just that itstrikes me as being contradictory given what the SANGS is supposed to achieve.
Actually I'm all for lots more educational visits to the whole Warren area - geography field trips, marine biology, oceanography, botony etc etc.
I've often thought it an ideal place for a residential educational centre of some kind aimed at VIth formers and undergrads.
Do the powers that be seriously expect visitors will travel to area just to sit in a field, instead of enjoying the beach? Strewth.
That's a good point. You'd hope that the country park would be a somewhat more attractive proposition than that. I'm hoping for something akin to Stover or Parke - wishful thinking maybe, but we'll see.
Well I don't understand why the area can't be named until contracts are signed. They were happy to name Warren Farm and threaten a compulsory purchase order.
And I do agree with Lynne, there are mixed messages. The traders want as many people as possible visiting the Warren. An upgraded visitor centre will attract .........er.........visitors, and quite rightly so. Dawlish traders are forever trying to come up with ideas to attract visitors, children's play park being one idea, yet won't an amazing country park on our doorstep take away these visitors from the town? All a bit confusing to say the least.
Because the landowner insisted upon it until their land was sold? if so, then that's totally standard and above board.
And until we know the precise location, who's to judge the impact on traders?
Well unless the new COUNTRY park is in TOWN then I think it is pretty obvious there will be some impact!
I wouldn't go into Bovey Tracy if it wasn't for me visiting Stover or Parke. Maybe people who wouldn't normally come to Dawlish might do so if they visit the forthcoming park (be it a country or a coastal park)?
So there may be a positive impact. Let's see.
I know my glass is half full compared to a lot on here, but there you go. That's my opinion, which I'm entitled to just like you're entitled to yours.
That reminds me - happy 5th anniversary to Sainsbury Dawlish. Despite the usual vocal locals wrongly predicting that it heralded the death of retailing in Dawlish. Retailing is in fact flourishing here. And will continue to do so when the proposed children's play park is in place.
Time will tell.
It will indeed. Hopefully in the same vein as other recent improvements to the locality.
Reisdents of the town centre need green open space every bit as much as those residents of the new housing, Morty. Not only that, The Lawn is a very attractiive and vital piece of green infrastructure in its own right, with the space put to a multitude of uses over the summer, boosting trade considerably for our retailers, cafes and food outlets.
I have yet to see any data that would show how trade might be affected by a Play Park on The Lawn. For instance, what would be the impact on trade if the half-hour free-parking spots were taken up not by shoppers but by those taking their children or grandchildren to the Play Park? I suspect such numbers have yet to be crunched - but if a Play Park on The Lawn cannot show that it would aid the viability of the town centre, it would be difficult to justify under the terms of the S106 agreement by which the funds from the respective developer (i.e. Sainsbury's) were originally made available.
If the latest consultation shows a Play Park is considered desirable (and affordable, note: to include also the cost of maintenance by the leaseholder, TDC - we do not need another neglected eyesore like the Tuck's Plot minigolf) there are a other less controversial and easily accessible sites within walking distance of the town centre. If one (or two?) of these sites could be developed instead of The Lawn, we could end up both having our cream cake and eating it.
Perhaps a Play Park could be provided on the new SANGS area? Or could it just be that being let loose with a heap of open space and a lot of trees to climb is actually a lot more fun?
I thought I'd read somewhere that the money for this project is only available if it's to be located on the Lawn. I may have misread that of course.
I've recently wondered a few times whilst taking young members of my family over to play at the park in Teignmouth, whether residents there complained using similar arguments about green spaces etc when it was first proposed? Whilst we had to queue for a while to be served due to it being so busy, our most recent visit cost quite a few quid in icecreams and drinks. And that's before we went round town and did a bit of shopping.
That's a regular experience for me and for lots of people I know.
The difference between Teignmouth and Dawlish is that even with a playpark and novelty golf Teignmouth still have a lot of green left for picnicking and kicking the ball around. They simply have much more space than we do in Dawlish. As we saw this week, the fair took up most of the lawn area, which was fine and thoroughly enjoyed by those who attended, so the only space for families was behind the bandstand and it was really well used by lots of families enjoying picnics and games. If a playpark is built there will be nowhere for families to simply enjoy a picnic when there are events on the lawn.
Tuck's plot is an eyesore and grossly underused, why not redevelop that area?
And below a couple of extracts from the DTC Town Centre Masterplan document:
Para 1.1 Background:
"The plan contains a long list of proposed projects, including priority action to:
. improve the Lawn, Manor Gardens and other public and open spaces
. increase turnover, footfall and employment by making the Strand safer and more attractive to visitors..."
Para 10.5 The Lawn:
"The Lawn will return to its original character as a generously proportioned, tranquil and elegant green space in the heart of Dawlish. By removing visual clutter these proposals will reinforce the simple, formal character of the Lawn, and restore the integrity of the spatial set-piece formed by the Strand, Brunswick Place and gardens..."
Morty, you would not be alone in being advised that the only site that could receive funding for a Play Park was on The Lawn. The evidence to this effect however, would appear a bit thin.