Pre- 2003 Update Page(most recent first)
Opening Up Woodroffe School's Sporting Facilities
Lyme Regis News of 20th December 2002 reported an
interesting development in that an agreement had been made between the
school and the football club to make the school's football pitches and
gymnasium available for the use of the football club.This goes beyond our
wildest dreams, we were hoping to encourage the opening of the sports
hall, fitness suit and outdoor areas to the public but did not consider
the football pitches a practicality.
The news on the opening of the facilities to the public is that on 1st
November Oliver Letwin, Lyme's member of parliament, called a meeting with
interested parties at the school. The chief stumbling block raised its
head again, that being the VAT
payment of about £96,000 that would have to be made if the doors were
opened to the public. A pittance compared with the £800,000 needed to
develop Strawberry Field to provide unnecessary facilities and destroy a
peaceful and dark valley.
This discussion is due to resume in the new
Geotechnical Survey Field Work Completed.The drilling
of core samples on Strawberry Field was completed in early December.
Perhaps indicating that we will not have to wait too long for the results
and the full planning application.Let's not be caught napping!
Town Council disappointed with Local Plan?A letter in today's Lyme Regis News from town councillor Stan
Williams suggests that the council was rather surprised and angry that the
district council have not outlined "A site on the north east of the
town..." for industrial development. Penn Cross has been signalled by
various councillors as a site for industrial use and this is probably the
site he is referring to.
(29th November 2002)
The inhabitants of Harcombe and Rhode Hill are thankful that the
district council recognises the restricting limitations on development
imposed by the AONB and the instability of the ground.
The Local Plan (26th November 2002) Having viewed the copy
of the Local Plan First Draft at the St Michael's Business Centre I can
honestly say that the Lyme Regis News article last week included all the
important items concerning Lyme.
Although the town council had asked the district council to extend the
development area to include Strawberry Field, there is no mention that
they have obliged. Unfortunately the associated maps that should accompany
the Local Plan have not been supplied by the district council. We may
therefore have to wait until the period of public consultation in January.
Even so it would be very unlikely for the maps to show an extension to
include Strawberry Field without there being an indication of this in the
text of the First Deposit Local Plan.
There is a list of future sports and recreational areas throughout West
Dorset, but Strawberry Field is not included.
Section 8.3.11 on "mugas" states the following:
areas are particularly valuable...... Floodlighting is considered
necessary. Careful consideration must be given to the siting of these
areas in order that the amenities of adjacent areas is not adversely
Policy C8 states. "Proposals for the provision of recreational
facilities in the countryside will be permitted providing that:
1/ their scale is in keeping with the surrounding environment and they
would not be visually intrusive in the landscape".
Strawberry Field must fail on both these counts. But bear in mind these
two clauses will not be adopted until about 2005.
All the same the current adopted Local Plan says almost the same thing
in a roundabout manner.
Chapter 9.35 PROPOSALS FOR THE PROVISION OF RECREATIONAL AND SPORTING
FACILITIES IN THE COUNTRYSIDE WILL BE PERMITTED PROVIDED THAT:
i) THEY ARE COMPATIBLE IN CHARACTER, DESIGN AND SCALE WITH THE SITE AND
ii) THE AMENITIES OF LOCAL RESIDENTS AND VISITORS ARE SAFEGUARDED;
v) THEY DO NOT CONFLICT WITH LANDSCAPE POLICIES IN CHAPTER 7 OF THE
LOCAL PLAN AND DO NOT HAVE A MATERIALLY ADVERSE EFFECT ON AGRICULTURE.
Chapter 7.5 WITHIN THE DESIGNATED AREA OF OUTSTANDING
NATURAL BEAUTY, PRIORITY WILL BE GIVEN TO THE CONSERVATION OF THE NATURAL
BEAUTY OF THE LANDSCAPE. EXCEPT FOR SPECIFIC ALLOCATIONS IN THE LOCAL
PLAN, DEVELOPMENT IN THE AREA OF OUTSTANDING NATURAL BEAUTY WILL ONLY BE
PERMITTED WHERE IT WILL NOT RESULT IN HARM TO THE NATURAL BEAUTY OF THE
AREA. PARTICULAR ATTENTION WILL BE PAID TO THE DESIGN, EXTERNAL APPEARANCE
AND LOCATION OF ALL PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT IN THIS AREA.
7.10 When considering or formulating proposals for development in the
Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, therefore, designs which enhance the
landscape will be encouraged and development which would detract from the
quality and distinctive character of the landscape will not be permitted.
It is normally considered inconsistent with the aims of designation to
permit the siting of major industrial or commercial development within the
Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Plenty of points there to bring up in your eventual letter of protest.
The complete Local Plan can be viewed on the West Dorset District
The Local Plan (25th November 2002) The Local Plan -First
Deposit- is already available for viewing at the community learning
centre, LymeNET, which is located in St Michael's Business Centre, off
Church Street, Lyme Regis. LymeNET is open from 9am through to 5pm on
weekdays and on Saturday mornings. There are no formal viewing
arrangements so just drop in when convenient.
An article in the Lyme Regis News of 22nd November carried the news
that the area earmarked for industrial and residential development is
Woodberry Down which lies between the top of Talbot Road and the caravan
site. There will be 40 houses, 12 of them "affordable". No mention was
made in the article of the development area being extended to include
Strawberry Field. The article briefly touched on other matters of local
interest such as local community use of the sports facilities at the
Woodroffe School, skateboarding and the Three Cups Hotel.
The Local Plan (10th November 2002) The Local Plan is a
blueprint set out by a district council , amongst other things, to define
areas where development, industrial or residential, may take place during
the lifetime of that particular local plan. It is not a question of a fait
accompli, a document put before the people that must be adhered to. The
adoption of a local plan is a long drawn out process in which the people
have every opportunity to put forward and argue their views on the plan.
Each step of the process is well defined and includes public enquires to
settle any differences in opinions.
The East Devon District Council's First Deposit Plan of the local plan
deposited early in 2002 attracted vast opposition to the large residential
development planned for an area east of Exeter. 11,000 letters of
objection were received, which will probably result in the development
The West Dorset District Council's current
Local Plan was adopted in 1998.
The First Deposit Plan of the Local Plan Review is due in January
2003.There have been many and various signals that the development area
for Lyme Regis will be extended to include Strawberry Field and Pen Cross.
For instance at a recent Town Council meeting councillor Evemy's statement
"I do not think it would be wise to pour millions into Pen Cross" was
answered by district councillor Ken Meech saying there was provision for
more industry in the Draft Local Plan which would "pleasantly surprise"
One of our points of opposition to the sports complex is that it is
outside the Lyme Regis area defined for development. It is highly likely
that the planning application will be judged on the current Local Plan. If
we are successful in our opposition to the sports complex, it could
possibly resurface once the development zone has been extended by the new
Local Plan. It therefore is imperative that the Local plan will not
include the extension to the development area. Besides, ignoring the
possibility of the sports complex, the establishment of an industrial
estate at Pen Cross is no less of an environmental disaster, it is still
within an AONB.
We must oppose this likely alteration to the local plan. I shall post
more information here when it becomes available.
Stuart Broom of Lyme Regis Football Club gave details of the
latest alterations to the site layout and a plan
plan was made available.He also told us the current
position regarding their progress toward making a planning application.(LRNews
There are various surveys that still need to be carried out. The chief
matter that was holding up progress was the Geotechnical Survey. This
survey must be completed before a full planning application can be made.
It will probably take three months before the results are known, putting
the date of the eventual application back to February at the earliest.
What's more this survey will cost £20,000. The funds collected by the
football club total £13,000. The problem appears to be that the money
raised cannot be spent on these works. Of course if planning permission is
granted the football club will be so flush with funding cash that payment
would be no problem. On the other hand if planning permission is not
forthcoming donations to the football club would have to be repaid. It was
in this eventuality that the football club would like the town council to
underwrite this survey to £10,000. It was put quite bluntly that if the
town council did not agree to this then the football club would have no
alternative than to pull out of the entire project.
This did the trick, how could they have refused?
The one abstention came from Councillor Ivor Curtis.
The town council will now be even keener to promote the Strawberry
Field project. Fail to get the permission and they will loose £10,000,
bringing the outlay to £70,000 for a field not much good for anything
apart from growing strawberries perhaps.
Propaganda! (22nd October 2002) Both the Pulmans (16th
Oct) and the Lyme Regis News (18th Oct) were full of suggestions that the
town must expand to survive. There were articles for the development of
industrial estates and business parks, with favourite locations being Pen
Cross and the recent park and ride site opposite Strawberry Field. All
just within the town councils jurisdiction but conveniently out of sight
from Lyme but alas not Uplyme.
This all suggests that the First Deposit Plan of the Local Plan Review
will include the extension of the development zone to encompass Penn Cross
as well as Strawberry Field. The Plan should be deposited in January 2003,
you will then have six weeks to register any objection you may have.
The barrage in the local papers points to an orchestrated effort by
At the Town Council's meeting at the Woodmead Halls on Wednesday 23rd
October an item on the agenda will be dealing with finance of the
pre-application feasibility studies on Strawberry Field. It is believed
that the Football Club want the town council to underwrite these expenses.
But isn't this one of the very reasons why the council put the development
into the hands of the football club, to offload much of the costs and
My I add that when reading the articles that appear in the Pulmans bear
in mind that they are written by Philip Evans, the Pulman's editor and the
chairman of the Lyme Regis Football Club.
Over Optimistic (16th October 2002) It is now becoming
obvious that the hope to have the Planning Application before the planning
committee for the October meeting was grossly over optimistic. Various
feasibility studies are still to be carried out and more importantly paid
for. A meeting is called for next Wednesday, 23rd October,at the Woodmead
Hall to discuss this very problem.
Planning Application Imminent. (19th September 2002) The
Lyme Regis Football Club are soon to make their application to develop
Strawberry Field. They intend to have the Full Planning Application before
the planning committee for the October meeting.
Full details will be available on this site as soon as they become
Recommended for Refusal by the Town Council and WDDC Officers.
Planning Permission grated by WDDC Committee. (26th July 2002)
The West Dorset District Council's development control west
committee gave the go ahead for this application (see 21st June
immediately below). This to an application referred to by the town council
as a "further encroachment into the Lym Valley" and recommended for
refusal by principal area planning officer Gerald Hughes who said that "it
would effectively be a new home outside the defined development boundary
and contrary to their planning policy."
This is an example that even though planning policies may indicate that
an application should be refused the final decision is down to the
councillors. What decides on how the individual councillors vote could be
discussed until the cows come home. A sure way of circumvented this
lottery would be to have the Strawberry Field application called-in for
which there are genuine reasons which are fully discussed on a separate
Councillors Urged to Protect Lym Valley (LRNews 21st June 2002)
Both the Lyme Regis Town Council and Gerald Hughes the
principal planning officer with the West Dorset District Council,
recommended to the Development Control West Committee that an application
to demolish derelict buildings and replace with a new dwelling at Haye
Lane be rejected. Mr. Hughes said the proposed house would be outside the
defined development boundary, was in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
and of local landscape importance.
The town council described the proposal as "a further encroachment into
the Lym Valley". It is rather strange that the town council is unable to
see their proposal to develop the sports centre at Strawberry Field, also
in the Lym Valley, in the same light. It being eleven acre's of
development including destruction of the valley contours, the building of
a club house, installation of flood lights, etc., on an extremely open and
obvious position on a green field site . I hate to have to say it again
but here we have more of those double standards.
Very Quiet on the Strawberry Field Front. (21st June 2002)
Could be ominous, suggesting that the planning application may
be imminent. This is what happened just before the outline application was
made by the town council. Stand by your key-boards or have your pens at
To date the application has not been advertised in the Lyme
Funds flow in to the Football ClubWhatever your views are
about Strawberry Field, yes it now seems to be singular, you can't help
but admire the way the football club has gone about fund raising. Although
the hype surrounding this campaign to raise the necessary cash seldom
concerns itself with the fact that planning permission for the project has
yet to be obtained.
The District Council's Heaven-sent Opportunity.In an article in the Lyme
Regis News, David Cozens ties up the need for sports facilities with the
excellent under used ones at the Woodroffe School.
Common Sense from
the Lyme Regis News (24th May 2002)
Why have the Town and District Councils been so quiet on this?
as if there was a hidden agenda!
Fund Raising Walk Around Strawberry Field On Sunday 19th
May 2002 a sponsored walk was held around the perimeter of the field to
help raise money for the football club's contribution of £50,000 toward
the £750,000/£1million cost of developing the site.
Thirty people including babies, toddlers on shoulders, children and a
couple of dogs took part in the hour long walk. It could be seen from a
distance that this must have been the first visit to the site for some of
the people for during their first lap they just stood and gazed at the
outstanding views. Perhaps they will have second thoughts now about
contributing to such an act of vandalism the building of a sports centre
on this site would constitute. I hope these very same toddlers will not in
the future reproach their parents for having a hand in the destruction of
Those Plans (10th May 2002) I have now managed to see the
plans. They are indeed the most elementary of plans. Nothing is included
on them outside the boundary of the "field". It is thus difficult getting
an handle on the scaling, especially as there are no measurements given.
Three football pitches are drawn in, two full size and a smaller one.
They lie roughly north to south along the contour lines, so minimizing
excavation work, but even then it will be considerable. There is the
Multi-Use Games Area which will be the only floodlit area, at least at the
commencement of the project. We are told these lights will be well
screened by trees, which I find difficult to believe possible on such a
A substantial "pavilion" is situated adjacent to the entrance to the
field. Again there being no measurements it is impossible to be exact
about the size of the building. The position of the pavilion leaves little
space in the vicinity for parking, most of the parking being well away at
the top of the field, which seems a serious design fault.
It seems that it is the intention of the town council to continue the
Park and Ride scheme on the site, in which case there seems too little
It is obvious that a lot of the basic layout still has to be determined
and if the next application is to be "full plans" then considerable work
has to be done.
When you consider all the sporting activities the council were hoping
to include on the site, it is difficult to imagine where they would all
have gone. This is just another indication of the lack of thought that has
been given to the project, where enthusiasm has overcome common sense.
Special Town Council Meeting One
of the items on the agenda at this meeting was the Strawberry Field Plans.
The councillors were not greatly impressed with them. The main criticisms
were concerned with their complete lack of measurements, making it
difficult to estimate the number of car parking spaces, Stan Williams
saying that there could be anything from 30 to 200. Also there was some
concern that the entrance to the site was rather narrow and that the
"buildings" were perhaps not in the right place.
Held on 1st May 2002
Lighting was briefly and hurriedly mentioned. With particular mention
of certain low lights for the "Multi-Use Games Area"
The public were not given access to the plans so not much can be said
The council not being at all happy with the parking space, a proposal,
duly seconded and passed was made for the Strawberry Field Committee to
meet and discuss the parking situation.
It was said that when the planning application is re-submitted it will
be one of Full Plans. Bearing in mind the comments made about the plans it
seems that it will be a considerable time before they are re-submitted!
It does seem that the town council are pushing ahead with the full
sports centre complex even though the only organization interested in
using the facilities is the football club. I do get the feeling after
attending my first town council meeting that this project now has a
momentum of its own. The town councillors not wanting this pet of theirs
to fail refusing to go back to basics and reconsider if this centre is at
More Double Standards from the Town CouncilIn the Lyme
Regis News for 12 April 2002 Stan Williams showed some caution.
He said the way the scheme has been dealt with so far is undemocratic.
More public consultation should take place before any further action on
the proposed scheme.
He accused the council of "ignoring the proper process of local
"The council has not carried out its own assessment to see whether
there are any other sites which may be less environmentally unfriendly. It
has not assessed how much it would cost the town's taxpayers of Lyme
Regis...We must study the proposed hours of operation, insurance cover,
You would be forgiven if you thought that he was talking about
Strawberry Field, when infact he was talking about the proposed skateboard
park at Monmouth Beach
This is the same old double standards, one for the town where the
voters are and an entirely different attitude for the countryside devoid
of any Lyme voters and those that are around are across the town / parish,
district, county and even parliamentary constituency boundaries.
10th April 2002
Lyme Regis Town Council Withdraws the Planning
Apparently West Dorset District Council asked the Town Council to
withdraw the application because of it's vagueness. It will probably be
re-submitted with a clearer description or perhaps as a full application.
I'm not sure if this is good or bad news. Being the eternal sceptic, I
believe that this may have been intentional, for it means that all your
letters of objection, the petition and the letters requesting that the
matter be called-in will not be valid for the new application, we will
have to do it all over again. A good technique to draw our fire and later
slip the new application in after we have lost some of our original
Strawberry Field was discussed at the Uplyme Parish Council's Meeting
on 10th AprilGo to Strawberry
Field report from the meeting.
Lyme Regis Town Council's Double Standards It was reported
in the Lyme Regis News for 5th April 2002 that the Town Council was very
annoyed by two warning signs that have been put up at the Cobb. Town
Councillor Nigel Clarke was reported as saying:
"This structure is an
eyesore and was erected without planning permission. It is completely out
of keeping with this fine marine structure."
This comes from a man who
is one of the main proponents of putting a sports centre probably complete
with floodlights on a hilltop overlooking a beautiful unspoilt valley. Are
his fine sensitivities only reserved for the appreciation of things man
Councillor Stan Williams said he had been told that no
alteration could be made to a Grade 1 Listed structure without English
I wonder if he is also aware that development
cannot take place in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, especially if
it detracts from the landscape value of the area. Whilst recreational
facilities take second place when considering the landscape value of a
Does he also know that the proposed Sports Centre Development is
outside the development area as outlined in the Local Plan?
Members of the Lyme Regis Town Council, seem to read more into it's
name than is justified. For although their boundary does go beyond the
built environment they seem solely to concern themselves with the
"Town".Perhaps not until their entire area is under concrete will they
show some concern for it, but of course then it will be too late!
In this I am not joking. For the Town Council has already had talks
with the West Dorset District Council proposing that Strawberry Field be
included within the Development Area when the Local Plan is reviewed.
Actually how far they propose to extend the Development Area is a matter
of conjecture, but I am concerned that it will extend beyond Strawberry
Field. So when this present battle is over the war will continue with the
Local Plan Review.