Venue: Phoenix Chambers, Phoenix House, Tiverton
Contact: Angie Howell Democratic Services Officer
Link: audio recording
APOLOGIES AND SUBSTITUTE MEMBERS (03:50)
To receive any apologies for absence and notices of appointment of substitute.
Apologies were received from Cllr M Farrell who was substituted by Cllr S Robinson.
PUBLIC QUESTION TIME (04:20)
To receive any questions relating to items on the agenda from members of the public and replies thereto.
Note: A maximum of 30 minutes is allowed for this item.
All public questions received referred to Application 22/00907/FULL – Retention of disused quarry for use as two firing ranges at Devon and Cornwall Constabulary, Pondground Quarry, Holcombe Rogus
First question: as part of the 2004 Application, Devon and Cornwall state that the site will be used once a fortnight. Are you aware of this, and if so, do you consider “historical use” just that, or rather 70 days, which increase occurred following cessation of Planning Permission?
Second question: do you have confidence in the guidance given to you by the EHO relating to noise and its impact?
· Your decision must be based on Planning issues
· To quote from the DEFRA Noise Policy Statement:
o …….. noise has no adverse effect so long as the exposure does not cause any change in behaviour, attitude or other physiological responses of those affected by it……. increasing noise exposure will at some point cause the ‘significant observed adverse effect’ level boundary to be crossed and result in a material change in behaviour such as keeping windows closed for most of the time or avoiding certain activities during periods when the noise is present
· Are you confident that the (brief) visits made by the EHO to site reflect actual usage of site over a prolonged period?
· Are you confident that the visits made by the EHO to site, and the judgements made subsequently, objectively identify:
o actual live firing volume and duration (the EHO observations conflict with the experience of local residents)
o any possible “adverse affects and material changes of behaviour” in the case of local residents (and animals)
I would like to ask the Committee if you are confident that the CIEH guidelines really do not apply in this case, as directed by the EHO and advised in the Case Officer’s report, when the two reports from the acoustic experts provided by the objectors (Parker Jones and LF Acoustics) say completely the contrary. Furthermore are you aware that there is widespread evidence that other planning authorities have used the CIEH guidelines in determining similar cases as they are considered to be the nearest applicable standard for firing ranges.
Are you confident that you have been presented with a fair, balanced and unbiased noise assessment? The Case Officer’s report includes approximately 350 lines from the EHO’s opinions on the impact of the shooting noise and criticisms of the objector’s noise reports but does not include ANY extracts from the Parker Jones or LF Acoustics reports despite them being qualified acoustics experts who challenge the EHOs opinions on many grounds.
As to the noise report from Acoustic Consultants Limited provided by the applicant, which says the CIEH guidelines don’t apply in the Pondground application, are you aware that these same experts specifically used the CIEH guidelines in assessing another application for a firing range in a disused quarry? No mention is made of this contradiction in the Case Officer’s Report despite it being raised in a letter dated ... view the full minutes text for item 44.
DECLARATION OF INTERESTS UNDER THE CODE OF CONDUCT (28:03)
To record any interests on agenda matters.
Members were reminded of the need to declare any personal or pecuniary interests where appropriate.
Cllr G Cochran - 22/00907/FULL declared that he was a retired Police Officer for Devon and Cornwall Police and was a former armed services member and had responsibility in the past for the installation and maintenance of MOD rifle ranges.
Cllr F J Colthorpe - 22/00907/FULL declared she had received various correspondence.
Cllr F Letch 22/00907/FULL declared he was a member of the Devon Wildlife Trust.
Cllr Clist declared that Plan 3 - 23/01255/LBC fell into his portfolio position although he had no involvement regarding this and that he had also received emails and correspondence regarding Application No. 22/00907/FULL.
Cllr G Duchesne - 22/00907/FULL declared she was a member of the Grand Western Canal Joint Advisory Committee.
She was also a member of the Devon Wildlife Trust.
Cllr R Gilmore - 22/00907/FULL declared she had received correspondence.
Cllr L Cruwys 22/00907/FULL declared he had received mail and was also the Chairman of the Grand Western Canal Joint Advisory Committee.
To consider whether to approve the minutes as a correct record of the meeting held on 27 September 2023.
The minutes of the previous meeting held on 27 September 2023 were agreed as a true record and duly signed by the Chairman.
CHAIRMAN'S ANNOUNCEMENTS (31:37)
To receive any announcements the Chairman may wish to make.
The Chairman reminded all members of the Planning Training taking place on 14 November at 2.00pm.
MEETING MANAGEMENT (32:05)
The Chair announced that he would be discussing Plan 4 – (22/00907/FULL – Retention of disused quarry for use as two firing ranges at Devon and Cornwall Constabulary, Pondground Quarry, Holcombe Rogus) as the first item on the Plans List.
WITHDRAWALS FROM THE AGENDA (32:21)
To report any items withdrawn from the agenda.
There were no withdrawals from the Plans List.
To consider the planning applications contained in the list.
The Committee considered the application on the *Plans List.
Note: *List previously circulated and attached to the minutes.
a. Application 22/00907/FULL - Retention of disused quarry for use as two firing ranges at Devon & Cornwall Constabulary, Pondground Quarry, Holcombe Rogus.
The Area Team Leader outlined the contents of the report by way of a presentation which highlighted the following:-
· The site comprised two firing ranges and associated welfare buildings.
· That shooting restrictions had been put in place.
· The site would be used by Devon and Cornwall Police for the training of firearms officers to supplement their main shooting range in Exeter.
· The applicant had instructed an acoustic consultant to measure noise and the Public Health Team had recommended a Noise Management Plan which was submitted as part of the application. On review of this, the Public Health Team requested that the number of days shooting be reduced from the initial proposal of 141 days down to 70 days.
· A Members site visit had taken place in September to look at the shooting range and to experience the noise.
· The planning permission was temporary for seven years.
· Concerns had been received regarding the impacts of heritage assets. However the Conservation Officer had commented that it was less than substantial harm to the setting of nearby heritage assets and considered that public benefits outweighed the harm.
· The Local Highways Authority had raised no objections to the use of the site.
· In light of concerns raised regarding site security the applicant had confirmed that they would be happy to install further security fencing and no shooting would occur until this had been installed.
· The police were happy to enhance their communication with the Parish and would seek to provide a Liaison Officer to work with the school.
In response to the public questions the Area Team Leader answered as follows:-
Answer to Q1 - The earlier planning permissions were a material consideration. There were no conditions restricting shooting times in the earlier planning permissions and the reference made to once a fortnight was in response to a question on the application form for the portable welfare building relating to employment. The full response was N.A. Site will be visited by 20-25 officers on average once a fortnight. There were no times/days shooting listed on the application form with no restrictions placed in the planning permission.
Answer to Q2 - Yes we have confidence with the Public Health Officer in dealing with this matter. They are a professional and an employee of the Council.
Answer - This question relates to noise and how it should be measured. The Public Health Officer is in attendance who I will pass over to comment. However with respect to the reference made to how Acoustic Consultants Ltd (ACL) responded to a nearby application, it has been confirmed that their 2012 report was for a rifle range for recreation and teaching and was a planning application for formal use. In this report ACL referred to ... view the full minutes text for item 50.