Appeal to Save Croyde AONB - Frequently Asked Questions
This is CARA’s understanding of the situation and is not legal advice.
1. Why do the mistakes in the 2014 planning decision matter?
Those mistakes have assisted Parkdean to establish a legal right to put caravans on land within the red line of the plan they provided to the Local Authority. That plan was labelled "Parkdean RUDA Holiday Park" but it contained undeveloped land which Parkdean owns and land which it does not. Their legal right to put an unspecified number of caravans inside the red line of their plan has been recognised by the granting of a Certificate of Lawful Development for the field next to Lundy House. The precedent has been set and they can apply for more of these in relation to other undeveloped land they own inside the red line.
2. If a mistake was made in the planning decision, why doesn’t the Local Planning Authority just change it themselves?
This wasn’t a normal planning decision and the Local Planning Authority can’t "just" change it. If they tried to change it, they would be challenged by Parkdean and would then have to compensate Parkdean for the difference between the value of land they can expand the holiday park on without constraint, and land which is the subject of usual planning rules. That leaves us with the current situation where we are taking the lead and pursuing independent legal action.
3. Why are solicitors and barristers involved – it is such a lot of money?
This is a legal matter. Accordingly, the solutions are legal ones with all the legal advice and associated costs this entails. We think that the future of the AONB should not be determined by a planning error and Parkdean. The cost to the AONB and the environment is incalculable if action is not taken. There is also the secondary impact on residents and others in the locality, whether people are living nearby, working in the area, or visiting the area. Such expansion of the Parkdean RUDA Holiday Park could adversely iimpact everyone through crowded roads, traffic jams, overcrowding on pathways, pollution, and water quality of the sea. This all detracts from the enjoyment of what is meant to be a beautiful rural coastal setting.
4. Planning decisions only usually last for 3 years so what is the problem – Parkdean only have 3 years and after that the danger goes?
This is a legal matter. Planning permission expires and a Certificate of Lawful Development is not planning permission, it is evidence of a legal right. No time limits apply. The legal right to put caravans on land within the red line will continue to exist unless and until it is successfully changed.
5. Not all of the land inside the red line is Parkdean’s. The other landowners will never allow caravans to go on their fields and the land Parkdean owns already has caravans all over it – so what’s the problem?
All of the land within the red line is at risk of harm – some areas more than others
A significant proportion of land which Parkdean owns inside the red line, does not currently have static caravans/chalets on it. This includes completely undeveloped areas such as the green field areas behind and to the right hand side of the glamping huts, the large field next to Lundy House which runs up from Moor Lane towards the northern ridge and the playing field next to the play park behind the dunes. These areas of land are at immediate to high risk of development and extend to somewhere in the region of 5 to 6 hectares in total (50,000 to 60,000 square metres). This is a massive potential increase given the current area of the Holiday Park with accommodation on it,
Land not owned by Parkdean
No one knows what land will be owned by who in 5, 10, 30, 40, 70 years or more. As long as the lawful right to put caravans on the land within the red line exists, the risk remains.
6. What is a certificate of lawful development (CLD)?
This is not the same thing as planning permission. It provides proof that the development you are carrying out is lawful.
7. Why aren’t you going to the Secretary of State to get the CLD revoked?
The errors giving rise to the situation are in the 2014 planning permission not the 2020 CLD. See the Planning Inspector’s decision: APP/X1118/X/18/3217206. CARA is following the legal advice it has been given.
8. My livelihood depends on Parkdean does this action threaten that?
No. Parkdean doesn’t currently carry out commercial operations on the undeveloped areas which are at risk. If CARA’s action is successful, there is nothing to stop Parkdean going through the normal planning application process to apply to put caravans on its undeveloped areas. However, as with everyone else, their planning application would be subject to the applicable planning checks and balances and the usual consultation and public scrutiny. As Parkdean's RUDA business is a holiday park in an AONB, the law requires that before any decision can be made to expand the holiday park, an environmental impact assessment must have been conducted to establish whether or not the expansion can be justified and if so what measures must be taken to protect the environment. The effect of the 2014 permission allows Parkdean to expand RUDA without complying with this statutory obligation (amongst other things).
9. What’s the point – what are you trying achieve?
We want to stop harm to the beautiful natural environment.
With the current situation, there is no restriction on the right to put caravans on the land. For example, no restriction on the number of caravans, the type and size of caravans or where and how they will be sited or landscaped. There has been and will be no independent scrutiny to ensure that environmental impacts arising from any such development, such as impact on water quality, air pollution from increased traffic, will be properly addressed. There would be if the normal planning rules applied.
Planning needs to work and be seen to be working for all: visitors; residents and business owners alike. This is clearly not the case here.
If Parkdean wants to develop its land, it should have to do so through the normal planning procedures. Currently, these do not apply to the area within the red line.
10. This is just a Croyde issue – why should I be concerned?
Croyde is there for everyone – holiday makers, day trippers, local people, residents and businesses – we will all be affected by this. There are many ways that this will impact those visiting and those living or earning a living here or near here. More caravans in prominent places in the protected landscape will cause harm to the beautiful landscape, the extra cars on the roads increasing traffic issues and pollution, the impact of run off on water quality which affects our beaches and seaside activities to name a few.
11. Why is it CARA that is taking this action?
No one else was and we think it is an important issue that needs addressing.
12. How long is the campaign period for raising funds? I keep seeing a different number of days to the end of the campaign period on the Crowd Justice Web site?
The campaign runs as long as we need it to run which is basically until the legal proceedings are concluded. The target on the website shows how much money we need to raise at any given time and how much of that sum has been raised already.
The way the Crowd Justice platform works is that there are rolling campaign periods of 30 days which continues in a loop until such time as the fundraising is no longer needed and we close the web page. This means that sometimes the web page will show only one day to go and another time, 30 days or 20 days and so on. The important information about the campaign is in the wording of the campaign pages and the updates on the case that let you know the latest position.
13. The Court Case sounds complicated, how far has the case progressed?
The court case is a claim in the High Court for Judicial Review of the 2014 Planning Permission. We are asking the Court to quash it. There are different stages depending on what the judge decides. At the end of the FAQs is a road map showing basic routes the case can take. The green boxes are events that have taken place. A judge has made a decision that this matter be referred to a combined “rolled up” hearing of all the issues. We are currently awaiting a date for that hearing.
14. What happens if CARA loses the Court Case – won’t CARA be liable for the other sides legal costs which could be huge?
As this is an environmental case, the liability for the other side’s costs, if we lose, is limited under something called the Aarhus Convention. Our total liability is limited to £10,000 and this is included in our legal funding budget which is reflected in the Crowd Funding website target. As CARA is a charity, we cannot commit ourselves to legal action where we don’t have the funds to meet our costs and liabilities. The funding website is to ensure that these legal costs and liabilities are always covered. The £10,000 is our total liability towards both Parkdean’s and NDDC’s costs should the case be lost.
15. If CARA wins the Court Case and the other side are ordered to contribute to the CARA’s legal costs what will happen to any surplus funds?
As this is an environmental case, if CARA wins the court case, the other side’s liability for our costs is limited too. The limit is usually £35,000. Depending on how the case progresses, it is possible that our legal costs could be more than this limit. CARA is a charity and any surplus funds left after the court proceedings are ended will be applied towards charitable purposes in accordance with the charity’s objects and rules. CARA’s charitable objects are based on protecting the AONB and the environment of this area.
Court Case Roadmap
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