Comment ID 1789
Document Section Proposed Submission Local Plan 2006-2028 Market Towns - Vision and Proposals Local Market Towns - Langport/Huish Episcopi What will the Local Plan Deliver? Langport/Huish Episcopi - What will the Local Plan Deliver? Policy LMT2 View all on this section
Respondent M Edwards View all by this respondent
Response Date 09 Aug 2012
Do you consider the DPD is Legally Compliant?
Do you consider the DPD is Sound?
If you have responded that the DPD is unsound, Do you consider the DPD is unsound because it is:

I am writing in support of the HRA conclusion that “there is no likely significant effect in light of proposed changes to the core strategy”. The natural England concern that residential development to the south east of Langport has the potential for” Likely Significant Impacts” is clearly flawed. The very existence of the environment that exists there is proof that the addition of some much needed housing will have no detrimental effect at all. 

The view that extra housing will produce extra dog walkers who will produce an unacceptable level of disturbance is entirely wrong. The writer would appear not to have either the local or historical knowledge of what existed here and what we have today. In particular how the birds and humans have interacted and produced a scenario worthy of protection by a number of measures including The Somerset Levels and Moor Special Protection Area (SPA). Concerns over a few dog walkers conjures pictures of dogs out of control, chasing birds on the park pond and disturbing ground nesting birds, a far cry from the situation here. There are thousands of acres of flood plain with visiting migratory species of largely grass eating wildfowl. They move around the moors depending on the weather, the water levels, and the time of day, the presence of a few humans has little impact on them. If they are  part of a group that resent human presence they simply don’t use the parts that have an unacceptable level and it needs to be understood that since records began they have continued to come in with human presence and will continue to do so with the addition of houses. 

Historically we have worked the moors, making roads, railways, drainage systems, farming it, maintaining its water courses and build homes on it, and mainly on the side of it. We drive, ride, walk through it on a regular basis and in winter thousands of birds sit by the roadside in shallow water and allow us to do this. 

It is local & national policy to encourage increased access to the countryside and millions of pounds are spent to encourage tourism and use of our footpaths. The Langport visitor centre has leaflets (some of which are enclosed) promoting that use. There are strict controls on that access as far as dogs are concerned and the extra access that has been encourages means that there are plenty of sets of eyes to discourage disturbance by dogs contravention of those rules. In order to consider the impact from some residential development to the south east it should be understood that the main more remote area of Wet Moor actually lies to the south and south east between Muchelney and Long Load and this is the main part of Wet Moor visited by these species. 

I do not think the author of the representation from Natural England fully appreciates the difference between these remote areas of Wet Moor and the area for proposed development. The proposed development area relates well to the town of Langport and the equally heavily populated Huish Episcopi. It leads from the existing developed area straight to another well established residential and commercial area of Tanyard and the abbatoir. The abbatior acts as a substantial buffer between the site of proposed residential development and the moor. Much work has been done in recent years to integrate this major employer with the local community and its residential neighbours. It is the only large scale employer in the area and the opportunity to link it with some residential development should not be lost. Indeed the area that concerns me ajoins the abbatior site, so people can walk to work, it has an existing group of five homes who would not want to see themselves swallowed up and surrounded by commercial development and is in the zone where there is the proposed direction of development. So we have a perfectly natural development, meeting all requirements if the proposal of residential development to the south east is adopted. Residential, leading to the buffer of the large abbatior, leading to the existing are of riverside walks on the edge of the moor. Beyond that area lies the more remote area of Wet Moor which cannot be disturbed by the other areas to its north because there is no access through it for the public. Access to the area is prevented by a series of Rhines (ditches) this separation by firstly the commercial area and then the riverside tourist area provide a buffer zone of interference which is supported by both local opinion and national and local policy. In practice the area for proposed residential development is shielded from the area where the birds go by three things.

1) The abbatior a busy vibrant employment centre with road links and some acceptable level of activity at all times.

2) The riverside walk promoted for tourism and local use by all organisations including RSPB & Natural England

3) The inaccessible distance of the moors and Rhines in private ownership

and so there is little or no threats to the birds for several reasons.

The residents can’t reach the sensitive areas easily on foot.

The group of birds who are shy do not use the abbatior area because its designated as work, housing and leisure areas.

Dog walking is a dry local event, you don’t get in you car or walk for 10 miles round trip to walk your dog in a foot of water in the depths of winter when the weather is cold enough to drive the birds on to the moors. When its no wet and cold (and I mean under water) the birds are not there, so the two interests simply don’t clash. I was a RSPB member for many years and know the Wet Moor area having spent many hours stood in the water there. I know that all local interests would be best served by allowing residential developments to the south east of Langport.

What changes do you suggest to make the DPD legally compliant or sound?
If your representation is seeking a change, do you consider it necessary to participate at the oral part of the examination?
If you wish to participate at the oral part of the examination, please outline why you consider this to be necessary: