Site Allocations Plan March 2016

Comment ID 14811617//2
Document Section Site Allocations Plan March 2016 Schedule 1: Proposed large sites for residential development over 10 dwellings (Sites marked with a * are mixed use sites). Service Villages Moor Road, Yatton View all on this section
Respondent Ann H View all by this respondent
Response Date 22 Apr 2016

I am writing concerning the Moor Rd site in Yatton to ask that the orchard part of the site is removed from the Site Allocation Map / Plan altogether. My reasons for this are as follows:

The orchard is within the curtilage of the Grade II listed building, The Grange, which abuts it. The Grange and the orchard have a shared history being part of the North Somerset farming and cider industry. The Grange has a very rare vaulted cellar with external steps that and barrel run either side of the steps emphasizing the cider connection.

The Grange also has a stair case up to a beautifully floor boarded loft which was used as a dormitory for the travelling seasonal apple pickers.

The orchard abuts the Grade II listed building and is a continuation of the building and its history.

The orchard still has fruiting apple trees and in the ancient hedges there are a few fruiting plum trees remaining.

In the recent case of The Forest of Dean v Secretary of State and Gladman Developments 2016, case no: CO/4852/2015, the courts have clearly laid out the principal of limiting development within the curtilage of a Grade II listed building. This overrides the 5 year supply for houses, and makes a very good case for removing the orchard from the Site Allocation Plan and the 5-year supply.

North Somerset Sites and Policies Document MM5 SM4 states “development will be expected to preserve and where appropriate enhance the character, appearance and special interest of the listed building and its setting”. The reason for this is to reflect Section 66 of the Planning (Listed buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990.

The orchard is home to a very rare fungus (Orchard Tooth Fungus) Sarcodontia Crocea – this is the ONLY case ever found in North Somerset. This fungus only lives on very old apple trees and it is believed to be on all the trees in the orchard. There has been a suggestion that all but one of the old apple trees be removed and new ones planted. Planting new apple trees will not do anything to save or promote this fungus. Kew Gardens, The Mycology Society and various other organizations have advised that NONE of the trees should be removed and that building around or near the trees would alter the ecological environment the fungus needs to survive.

You will be aware of The Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act (2006) I believe this should be applied to the orchard

The orchard is a section 41 habitat and a UK BAP priority habitat

which should be retained as it is.

The orchard has Lesser and Greater Horseshoe bats, protected at European level, that come along the Stowey Rhyne from the Kingswood and Urchinwood SAC. These bats forage in the orchard and roost in the trees. These bats travel across the orchard to the Grade II listed building where they roost in the house and the out buildings.

In addition to this the orchard is about 6 metres from the Kenn Moor SSSI site on the other side of the road, the Stowey Rhyne flows through there then to the orchard so we must assume they must share some of the ecological richness and species that makes this SSSI so important.

The orchard makes a gateway to the village as you travel across the moors into Yatton and you look up over the orchard to The Grange and its now converted out buildings.

I believe that it would not be in the interest of Yatton for the orchard to be developed, I think it should be retained as the orchard of The Grade II listed building. There are ample legal reasons and precedents to support this view. With all this in mind I am asking for the orchard part of the Moor Road sited to be remove from the Site Allocation Plan altogether