This field was in constant agricultural use for many, many years. It is low grade downland grazing suitable really only for sheep and it was was regularly used for growing a whole range of crops. When this field was sold to the Gladwish Company some years ago I became aware of the intention to sub divide the area into 95 separate plots which were subsequently marketed and sold with the suggestion they might get planning permission for development.
There was never any hope of gaining planning permission, as might have been suggested in the helpful pack supplied by the company to its prospective purchasers, as this land was included within the then proposed National Park and was additionally protected by a number of EHDC Planning Policies. At that time Sustainability was a key issue that was more clearly defined by then Government planning policy. This required a Post Office nearby, local shops, access to community facility, a bus service and other criteria.
The sale of the field to 95 individual owners was inevitably going to end up with plots being sub divided, fenced off, sheds and stables being built and eventually applications for habitable rights and some attempts at development. After consultation with the planners I asked them to place an “Article 4 directive” on the field. This prevents any fencing being erected without planning permission. A plot owner has recently applied to enclose his land and has been refused permission by EHDC. He has chosen to Appeal this decision and EHDC are currently awaiting a date from the Inspectorate for the Appeal to be heard.
The Article 4 directive does not preclude the land being used by the many individual owners for their own enjoyment or small scale agricultural activities. It simply prevents each plot from becoming enclosed by any form of fencing.
For the past 14 years EHDC have had to regularly carry out enforcement action to maintain this highly visible agricultural land. This includes parking of trailers, clearance of a burned out mobile home, dumping of rubbish and other activities. It has been a real concern to the local Councillors as this whole area is open and ungated and may attract unwelcome visitors that would be very difficult to move on because of the complexities of land ownership. We have been very lucky so far!
This field has a Footpath running from the SE corner to the NW corner which the public have every right to walk across, the rest is in private ownership. For the last few years all this land has been used by many people to walk their dogs or a place to exercise horses. Whatever happens to the land, this right of way remains in force.
Over the Easter weekend this agricultural land started to be cleared of vegetation and whilst I think it was badly timed because of the bird nesting season it must be acknowledged that the owner, or his agent, have every right to carry out work across this whole area. Following clearance the land was sprayed and the Farmer carrying out the work advises me he is ploughing the field in preparation for re-seeding and his intention is to graze cattle here once the grass has regrown. The Farmer advised me that a Mr John Suiter on behalf of Gladwish, having first gained the permission of the plot owners (with a few exceptions) had approached a Young Farmers group nearby and asked them to bring the land back into agricultural use, which they are now doing.
Local residents are naturally anxious about the work here and while I have been regularly meeting with them and establishing the intentions of the farmer I am grateful to them for keeping me regularly updated. The works being carried out on this land do not breach planning law or the article 4 directive and simply return the field to its former use. If any of the land owners feel they have not been consulted then I would suggest they contact Gladwish directly.