Minutes of the meeting of Litton Cheney Parish Council
held on Tuesday 12 July 2022


Present: Bill Orchard (Chairman); Quentin Blacke; John Firrell; Andy King; Andrew Price; Bella Spurrier, Maggie Walsh (Clerk).   Also in attendance: Edward Dyke (Agent); Andy Romans, Beth Romans, Steve Dean (Applicants); Cllr Mark Roberts and 51 members of public.

1.    Apologies None

Section 1 To consider Planning application P/FUL/2022/02660 Fishing Lake, Charity Farm, DT2 9AP: continued use of agricultural land as camping site, retention of static caravan, log cabin for use as farm/site shop and café, WC shed, storage building, laying of hard standing and tracks for internal access and parking – erect shower/toilet block

2.    Declarations of interest relating to planning application None

3.    Democratic time

Chairman Bill Orchard welcomed everyone to the meeting and congratulated Beth Romans and Steve Dean on the recent addition to their family.  He was pleased to see so many in attendance and took the opportunity to encourage those living in the village to consider becoming a Parish Councillor as there was currently a vacancy.

 Edward Dyke provided the following information/clarification regarding the application:

·      Following refusal of the planning permission in April 2021, the applicants wished to address the reasons for refusal and obtain landscape and visual impact assessments.  Hence it had taken 18 months to submit the current application.

·      The proposal supported farm diversification and brought other benefits.  Although AONB and the Landscape Officers had objected, it was for the LPA to weigh their objections against the economic and social benefits.

·      A number of local businesses benefited from the site including the PH and local plant nursery.

·      A well-respected landscape specialist had drawn up the landscape and visual impact plan. A large number of whips had already been planted but full implementation of the plan was costly and could not be implemented without planning permission.

·      The landscape and visual impact plan would help conserve and enhance the natural environment. He felt the AONB and Landscape Officers’ objections had not taken account of the landscape mitigation plan: this would be implemented in full and could be subject to planning conditions.

·      There were 3 applicants, Andy Romans ran Charity Farm and it was anticipated that Beth Romans would succeed him.

·      The application was for 30 pitches and the applicants were happy to restrict this by condition.

·      The proposal was for the site to operate from 1 April to 30 September and this could be subject to planning conditions.

·      A S106 agreement to tie the campsite to Charity Farm was not felt to be necessary.  Planning conditions should give the LPA sufficient control.

The Applicants provided the following information/clarification:

·       The applicants had already planted 2,000 whips and planting would eventually screen the site.

·       The lake was free to use by local residents but this was only possible as it was subsidised by the café and campsite.

·       The site was envisaged as a community hub and, if permission were granted, there were plans for other community events/uses, including possibly a village shop within the café.

·       The applicants wished to comply with planning and the static caravan had remained empty pending permission.  The manager currently stayed in a small caravan near the entrance. The applicants would be prepared to restrict occupation of the static caravan to use by the site manager only during camp site operating months by planning condition.

·       There would be no overwinter storage of caravans and this could be controlled by condition. 

·       The site in its current planning and licensing situation was adequately covered by Public Liability Insurance.

·       Other than the shower block which formed part of the current application, there were currently no further plans for development but planning permission would be sought before any future development occurred.

·       The recreation area in the middle of the site was sometimes used for camping by family groups, in which case a corresponding number of pitches around the perimeter were left unoccupied.  There would never be more than 30 pitches.  The location of pitches may vary but they would always fall within the hedge line.

·       Campers generally wished to park vehicles adjacent to their tent/caravan but driving vehicles on the site was restricted overnight during specified hours. Arrivals were not permitted after 7:30pm except under exceptional circumstances.

·       Managers would keep an eye on the site overwinter but would not stay there.

11 members of the public spoke in support of the application for the following reasons:

·       The lakes were used for leisure and recreation by many families living in the village, as well as those from the wider community. It was therefore an important resource for locals, not just for tourists. The site had also been visited by the village school and a local care home.

·       The site provided valuable recreation space within walking distance.

·       The site was also on a cycle route and was well used by cyclists.

·       The site provided a rare safe body of water for wild swimming and paddleboarding.

·       The café was well used and was the only one in the village.

·       The site had the only publicly accessible toilet in the village.

·       The site was well managed and there had been no anti-social behaviour.

·       Farmers gained little support from the Government and relied on diversification.

·       Campers patronised the local PH. The applicant had created a permissive path from the camp site to the PH.  The PH had formerly benefitted from those staying at the Youth Hostel but this had now closed.

·       Bride Valley Nurseries benefitted by selling plants at the site.

·       The site employed a number of people.

·       Although visible from various viewpoints within the Bride Valley, of the various developments within the Bride Valley, Litton Lakes was the least visible.

·       The LPA clearly did not consider the site to be especially damaging within the AONB as they had allowed it to continue operating following refusal of permission without taking enforcement action.

·       Camp sites were an integral part of the British countryside in summer.

·       The site had generated no obvious traffic issues within the village.

DC Ward Councillor Mark Roberts noted the considerable support at the meeting and clarified the delegation arrangements under which the planning application could be decided by the Planning Committee.

Cllr Orchard ended Democratic time and the PC discussed the planning application.

The PC had supported the original application for the fishing lake, which had been approved.  The lake was therefore not in question and this application was to consider the use of the site for camping and ancillary structures and the café.

All Parish Councillors had visited the site either as part of the site visit attended by the Agent and Applicants, or unaccompanied.  All had been impressed by what they saw.

It was clear from those speaking at the meeting, that many locals valued the lakeside for leisure/recreational use and to enjoy its environment.  The site therefore provided an important community resource within walking distance of Litton Cheney.   The facilities were free for the local community to use but the lake was subsidised by camping and the café.

The development provided employment and supported farm diversification.  The local PH and nursery also benefitted from the business, especially since the Youth Hostel had closed. 

Parish Councillors shared local objectors’, AONB and Landscape Consultee concerns about the visual impact of the campsite.  The Bride Valley provided a high quality, tranquil landscape which was protected because development was strictly controlled.  The Parish Council, along with other statutory organisations, had a responsibility to conserve those qualities for future generations. 

Parish Councillors felt the National interest in AONB needed to be balanced against local benefits and could be mitigated by appropriate landscaping and the fact the camp site would not be used for camping during winter when the site was more visible within the landscape.

The Parish Council concluded that, with respect to the current planning application, with appropriate planning conditions/legal obligations, landscape concerns were outweighed by other material considerations.

Cllr Blacke proposed that the Parish Council SUPPORT the application.  This was seconded by Cllr King with 2 Parish Councillors supporting and 4 objecting to the proposal.

Cllr Price then proposed that Litton Cheney SUPPORT the application subject to conditions/legal agreement set out below. 

·       Operation of the campsite shall be restricted to 1 April to 30 September

·       There shall be no more than 30 caravans and tents in total on the site at any one time

·       There shall be no overwinter storage of caravans

·       The landscape mitigation strategy as shown in plan 678/01 shall be implemented in full during the first available planting season

·       The static caravan shall only be occupied by the manager of the site during the period 1 April to 30 September

·       The static caravan shall be removed from the site should the campsite cease to operate

·       In accordance with Local Plan Policy ECON8 (camping and caravan sites), the diversified business (in this case the campsite) is tied to the parent farm (Charity Farm)

       This proposal was seconded by Cllr Firrell and carried with 5 in favour and 1 against.


4.    End of Section 1 of the agenda. The agent, applicants and 50 members of the public left the meeting.

Section 2 Main agenda

5.    Declaration of interest (for following agenda items) None 

6.    Democratic time None

7.    Approval of minutes of the Annual Parish Council meeting held on 10 May 2022 It was proposed by Cllr Firrell, seconded by Cllr Spurrier and carried unanimously that these be approved.

8.    Approval of minutes of the Annual Village Assembly held on 10 May 2022 It was proposed by Cllr Orchard, seconded by Cllr Firrell and carried unanimously that these be approved.

9.    Matters arising since the previous meeting not part of this agenda DC would consider its response to the Community Governance Review on 14 July.

10. Dorset Council (DC) overview – Cllr Mark Roberts reported on a recent Planning webinar: DC were among the top 6 LPAs in the country in terms of volume of planning applications.  The backlog was gradually reducing and the average time to determination was now 16 weeks (against a target of 8) with 40% of non-major applications (for less than 10 houses) being determined within 8 weeks. There were 187 Conservation Areas; 9227 Listed entries and just under 4,000 TPOs. It had however been difficult to contact staff whilst they were engaged in clearing the backlog.  The Scrutiny Committee had considered highways and concluded that the condition of the coast road met benchmarks better than most other councils. DC now had 3 gulley emptying vehicles and would prioritise clearing gulleys over replacing signage as this would help address flooding issues.  PCs may be asked to help DC identify any missing or high risk gulleys. DC Highways could provide risk assessment advice if PCs wished to clean road signs in their area. The position regarding housing numbers was unclear following Michael Gove’s removal although 9,500 houses overflow from Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole had been removed from Dorset’s housing requirement.

11.  Finance report and invoices for approval (Clerk and RFO) As at 4 July, Parish funds stood at £26,500.69. Spend since the previous meeting was £1,076.21 comprising £639.67 employee costs; £386.40 to BHIB for insurance; £42.14 to Bridport Town Council for contribution to BLAP and £8.00 Footeprint for printing.  Income since last meeting was £311.04 comprising £311 donations to the Community Bench Fund and .04p interest. There was currently £1,087 in the Community Bench Fund of which £587 was uncommitted.  The predicted year end overspend of approximately £1,300 was due to anticipated playground repairs which would come from reserves and had been planned for.

       The following invoices were for approval:

DAPTC subscription


LATCH for room hire


Clerk’s expenses


Reimburse Cllr Firrell for purchase of Hi Vis tabards




       It was proposed by Cllr Price seconded by Cllr Orchard and carried unanimously that these be approved.                                                                                                                     MW


12.  Litton Cheney Trust nomination Cllr Firrell proposed that Lyn Lacey be renominated to The Litton Cheney Trust following the end of her four year term, and that Nicholas Roger Bunting be nominated to replace Richard Jones. This was seconded by Cllr Orchard and carried unanimously.

13.  Councillors’ portfolios:

Planning (Bill Orchard, Chairman): the application for 2 houses at land off Barges Close (P/FUL/2021/00153) had been approved and work had commenced on site. Decisions on the applications at 12 Barges Close (P/HOU/2022/02303) and variation of condition at Charity Farm (P/MPO/2022/00002) remained outstanding.  The PC were unclear as to when the CIL payment would be payable with regard to the permitted dwellings at Charity Farm. 

Highways/Transport (Andrew Price): he had met with the Community Highways Officer following the works on Whiteway.  A number of issues needed sorting.  Highways were considering how to address erosion of the bank, resulting in water failing to drain properly and carrying debris into the village during heavy or prolonged rain. An unofficial passing place had been filled in by the landowner so there was now a long gap between passing places on Whiteway – drivers were asked to be considerate. DC had offered to pay National Highways to place signage on the A35 warning that Whiteway was not suitable for heavy lorries – their response was awaited. A weight limit TRO was still a possible option.

Agricultural Liaison/Footpaths/Rights of Way/ (Bella Spurrier/Quentin Blacke): Cllr Blacke would alert DC to a broken bridge.                                                                                      QB

A number of gates still needed replacing. The PC thanked Ashley Chase Estates for prompt action in clearing a footpath that had been planted with maize. The bench to be located in the vineyard was finished and ready for installation.  A bench would also be installed at Pins Knoll (funded by private donation). A bench funded by the Community Bench Fund had been installed on Chalk Pit Lane.

Playground/Playing Field/Allotments (Andy King): the stream and hedgerow alongside access to the playing field and allotments were overgrown and needed clearing. The hedge had not been cut for some time as waterlogged ground had prevented access and could not now be done until nesting season finished.  Meanwhile, he would obtain quotes.                  AK

Playground repairs to the slide and climbing wall would shortly commence providing DC received the slide. One of the benches’ slats had snapped and the bench would be removed.                                                                                                                                       AK

It was hoped a volunteer working party could tackle other minor repairs to the playground.  New nets were required for the goal posts – he would obtain quotes.                        AK

Village Fabric/Maintenance/BLAP/DAPTC/ Administration & Probity (John Firrell): please let Cllr Firrell know of any overgrown areas.  He was aware of the area behind the bus shelter. He would attend a BLAP Parish Liaison meeting the following day.  Digital connectivity and full fibre were on the agenda: the voucher system was currently on hold.

Cllr Firrell proposed that the PC set aside £1,250 from reserves to pay for a replacement Parish noticeboard and a jubilee bench at the Jubilee Hut.  The balance would come from the Community Bench Fund and a donation from The Litton Cheney Trust.  The existing bench would be relocated to Magna Green.  This was seconded by Cllr King and carried unanimously.

Following on from the Village Assembly, Cllr Firrell proposed that a Focus Group of interested local residents be created to canvas/engage villagers and report back to the PC to help inform a future vision for the village. This was seconded by Cllr Spurrier and carried unanimously. The PC would develop a brief for the focus group.                                                       BO/JF

The PC were reviewing how to deal with a leak on The Rocks.                         JF

Climate Emergency and Environment (Vacant): nothing to report

14.  Planning matters no further planning applications for consideration.

15.  Correspondence not dealt with as part of the agenda The PC had received a request from the Friends of St Nicholas to contribute funds towards the Candles on St Catherine’s Hill, Abbotsbury on 20 November.  The PC could not legally contribute directly to this but, if Thorners’ school intended to participate, the PC would consider donating to the school at the next PC meeting in September.  MW would contact the school.                           MW

16.  Date of next meeting Tuesday 13 September 2022

Meeting closed

Maggie Walsh - Parish Clerk