Campaigners rally for support in protecting historic Battlefield site

Plans to transform Knapp House caravan site into a woodland holiday park have met with opposition from residents as it is perceived that the proposed 60 large ‘holiday homes’ will be a foot-in-the-door for further encroachment upon the area’s green spaces by greedy developers and a foot-in-the-grave for Appledore and Northam as it is known today.

Currently the area is a caravan and camp site but sits upon the scene of a battle that took place in 1069 between Normans and Saxons and was the defining event establishing French rule over the UK at that time, continuing on from the original battle of 1066 at Hastings.

We at TidyEye PR are assisting with raising the project’s media profile as well as encouraging objections at the link below to Torridge District council’s website.

A neighbourhood plan draft has already been submitted by Maria Bailey Planning who is working with Northam Town council and Appledore Resident’s Association.

Read about the full plans and see more photos here: Knapp 60.

Some of those who have already objected on the council’s website say the following: “Horrible Science author and campaigner Nick Arnold has already demonstrated conclusively that the site was the scene of a 1069 battle to repel Norman invaders which is why the area is known as bloody corner. If the rationale for the development is to boost the local economy as claimed then why bury a historical battlefield which itself could easily become a tourist attraction. The proposal is short-sighted and flawed.”

“The proposal is effectively a housing estate in open countryside, albeit with conditions attached on the use of the properties. But regardless of usage, the visual impact of ‘holiday homes’ remains the same as those occupied permanently. The proposal would obliterate the rural gap between the two villages of Appledore and Northam and impact negatively on surrounding views and lies outside that identified for development and is contrary to existing planning policy.”

Have your say here: 1/0256/2017/FULM

Here are some valid reasons to object to the proposal:

Objections to development of land at Knapp, Northam, April 2017

Send your letter to MR LEWIS ANDREWS, PLANNING DEPT., TORRIDGE DISTRICT COUNCIL, RIVERBANK HOUSE, BIDEFORD EX39 2QG

Or email: lewis.andrews@torridge.gov.uk

Mark your letter APPLICATION REFERENCE: 1/0256/2017 FULM

Note the application will be assessed under the old local plan and the new emerging local plan and the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).

Points to make

1 A similar proposal to build 50 holiday chalets at Knapp was rejected by TDC in 1980 (ref: 1/1246/1980). The reasons for refusal are still valid.

2 Planning policy is to maintain the separate identity of settlements and prevent development that leading to coalescence between Appledore and Northam (new plan policy NOR (h)).

4 The Appeal Inquiry of 2015 established that Knapp forms part of a valued landscape – protected by old plan policies ENV5 and ENV 6; and NPPF 109. The present proposal would substantially harm the viewpoints considered in the inquiry – especially when seen in winter through bare trees. The views selected by the developers for their application are mainly of summer trees with the viewpoints apparently chosen to mask the harm.

5 The density, layout and use of non-traditional materials is in breach of the old local plan DVT7 (1) and (2) and new plan DM04 a). It also harms the special qualities of the area DM04 b) and reduces local distinctiveness DM04 c).

6 The proposed development would destroy part of the battlefield of Northam 1069, a site of international historic significance. Although the battlefield has been identified by TDC Planning as a planning constraint the developers have not produced a heritage impact statement or offered any kind of mitigation and are in breach of new plan DM07. The damage to the setting of the historic battlefield is a breach of new plan ST015, and NPPF 135.

7 Damage to the battlefield would preclude its use as a battlefield tourist attraction, and will probably prevent it ever getting designated battlefield status from Historic England.

8 Planning policy aims to encourage new tourist-related developments in holiday resorts such as Westward Ho! and in the developed coast. The proposed development is therefore in the wrong place and in breach of new plan ST09. It further breaches ST09 because it reduces the diversity of the tourist offering by replacing sites for caravans (which are rare locally) with holiday homes (of which there is an adequate supply), and blocks the development of battlefield tourism. The proposed pool does not add to diversity since there is already a pool a few hundred metres away.

9 The inquiry established that Knapp is an important north-south corridor for wildlife protected under NPPF 114, 117. The application would block this corridor.

10 Given the undoubted environmental harm and damage to the battlefield this application is in breach of new plan ST13 Sustainable Tourism, which states: ‘Tourism growth needs to be sustainable and should not damage the natural or historic assets of the northern Devon.’

11 By building anything of any nature in the remaining green spaces in this special area sets a precedent for concreting over the rest of it.