Steve Anderson, planning and development consultant, on behalf of Devon Swan Holidays Ltd, writes:
My clients, Devon Swan Holidays Ltd, wish to correct the highly-misleading information published in this week's Dawlish Post regarding its planning application for housing development at Gatehouse Farm and any implications it may have for Gatehouse Primary School.
My clients consider it most regrettable that no attempt has been made to contact either myself, as their agent, for the planning application, or themselves direct to verify the information that has been given by others, or to provide any sense of balance to the highly-misleading and provocative article.
Prior to making the planning application, I was advised by a representative of Devon County Council that it would be desirable, from a highway safety point of view, for the developer to be responsible for the provision of a linking footpath from the bollards in Secmaton Lane to the existing pavement adjoining the school entrance. As there would be a considerable public benefit from this improvement, particularly as it would improve highway safety for children accessing the school on foot from that direction, my clients were delighted to become responsible for its provision in the event that planning permission were to be granted.
The provision of the pavement would be alongside the edge of the existing highway. This requires nothing more than the setting back of the boundary of the highway, which in the main is formed at present by a chain-link fence on top of a low concrete block wall, by between 4ft to 5ft into an un-utilised area of scrub ground at the extreme edge of the school site.
This is nowhere near to the school's wildlife garden, pond, sensory gardens etc, none of which will be in any way affected whatsoever by this proposal.
My clients were unaware of any legal stipulation that requires large areas of school land to be 'given back' for more extensive highway works. This is not required by them and they have absolutely no intention of invoking such a stipulation, even if it were, in fact, to exist.
The planning application was withdrawn, prior to the publication of your article, to enable further discussions to take place with the district council regarding the future use of the application site.
However, in order to allay the unfounded fears of the primary school regarding my client's intentions, I am seeking an early meeting with the headteacher, Martyn Boxall, to discuss the proposed development and to assure him (and hopefully the children and their parents) that our sole intention is to provide a benefit for the children at the school, that nothing of value will be affected at the school, and that the school has nothing to fear from this small proposed development of around a dozen houses.