With the prospect of nearly 1,700 new homes on the doorstep, you are probably wondering what the current situation is, what's already been done, what are the key dates and documents and what you can do.

NA3 Master Plan 2018 


PCL Planning Applications for NA3 Wolborough


Appeal – There is no further news on the appeal by PCL for non-determination of last year’s hybrid planning application – 17/01542/MAJ. Much will now depend on the revised Development Framework Plan (See below). If PCL favour the amended Development Framework Plan and Teignbridge push it through to the December Planning Committee for approval, they could resubmit their application early in the New Year, modified to meet any new requirements, and seek determination by Teignbridge before the Appeal is scheduled to be heard. The danger is that Teignbridge may see this as an easy way out and a much cheaper solution thanfighting an appeal. Much depends on the outcome of the revisions to the draft Development Framework Plan.


We remain of the view that there are a number of critical areas that have to be addressed, up to date surveys required and effective mitigation measures developed which meet the test of “no reasonable scientific doubt” (per the judgement of The Honourable Mrs. Justice Lang DBE, reinforced by Lord Justice Underhill in our legal challenge who stated that “such plans will need to demonstrate with very high levels of certainty that there will be no adverse effect on the integrity of the South Hams SAC).


[Secretary’s Note: Hearings were held at the Royal Courts of Justice in London. Case Number CO/2729/2014 held at the High Court before The Honourable Mrs Justice Lang DBE on 16thDecember 2014. Appeal Case Number CI/2015/0076 held before Lord Justice Underhill on 5thJune 2015]


The timetable remains as reported in our last newsletter, namely the Public Inquiry will take place at Forde House 26th to 29th March 2019 (Brexit Day!). We are planning to seek permission from the Inspector to make a statement to the inquiry to reinforce our concerns.


Latest Applications – There is no further news on the most recent three applications lodged by PCL Planning. These applications are 18/01276/MAJ - an hybrid application for outline permission for the development of three parcels of land at NA3 and full permission for the conversion of the farm buildings (excluding the farmhouse) to an hotel, bistro and drinking establishment; a stand-alone application for change of use of the farm buildings, 18/01314/FUL; identical in all respects to the detail contained in the hybrid application; and 18/01527/FUL, for the creation of a new road to access to the NA3 site off the Kingskerswell Road opposite the Laundry.  


Langford Bridge Farm – Commercial Estates Group held a well-attended open event at Buckland Athletic on 29thOctober.As to be expected the displays extolled the virtues of this development and endeavoured to demonstrate how they had “overcome” the various planning issues. Closer interrogation of their representatives revealed that they have not considered the potential environmental impact; indeed, were unaware of critical information. Will they now revisit their plans? Don’t hold your breath.

You are reminded that the Scoping Opinion application (which is all that has been submitted by CEG so far), envisages building 450 houses. These new homes along with the 1210 applied for by PCL Planning, brings the total number of dwellings on the NA3 allocation to 1660. In addition, there areas designated for employment use which, given the failure to develop employment land elsewhere in the area, might well be subject to future change of use applications to residential.


NA3 Wolborough – Draft Development Framework Plan (DFP)

We will be meeting with Teignbridge Planners again at the end of this month. This “by invitation only” meeting is to brief Teignbridge Planning Committee Members(only a couple of whom turned up at the last meeting), Newton Abbot Town Council representatives, Abbotskerswell Parish Council representatives and the Association for a presentation on the amended Development Framework Plan covering the entire NA3 allocation. This follows consideration of the submissions made on the draft version (to which the Association made a detailed contribution). We expect that the amended Development Framework Plan will be placed on the Planning Portal on or immediately after the 29thNovember.  

As advised in the last newsletter, Teignbridge held a drop-in eventon the DFP at the Buckland Athletic Football Club on Thursday 6thSeptember. A good number ofMembers took the opportunity to meet the Planners at this event. There was a lot of feedback which we hope has been taken on board by Teignbridge.


“Newtonsaysno.co.uk” – On-Line Petition to halt the NA3 development

A web-based petition has been set up by concerned residents seeking to reinforce the widespread objection to the destruction of Newton Abbot’s precious green space and the geologically iconic Rolling Fields. It is aimed for the attention of Phil Norrey, Chief Executive Devon County Council, and after only a week in existence has already gathered over 2,500 signatures along with over 700 followers of Facebook. Members are urged to add their names to the petition and to forward the link to friends and family for them to add to the rapidly swelling numbers who oppose this development. Please have a look at the link below and add your support and encourage others to follow. 




As an adjunct to this web site, there is a social media site that exposes some of the issues and characters surrounding the NA3 development. It is a little racy but has received a huge number of hits in its first few weeks in the public domain. Hence, the following link comes with a health warning!      http://newtonsaysno.co.uk/

The site has also attracted bloggers with the latest addition comparing how councillors have decided on housing numbers in Newton Abbot and Farnham, Surrey (where you might expect there to be even greater demand for new houses; have a look and decide for yourselves.



Teignbridge District Local Plan Five Year Review

Again, it would appear that the lull before the storm has affected the Local Plan Review; it has all gone rather quiet. We understand a team at Teignbridge are reviewing all the submissions and will in due course publish an amended document (we have no indication of timing). There is also the issue of the extent to which any recommendations which are included in the Greater Exeter Strategic Plan (GESP) will impact on the Local Plan. The significant delay in publishing the draft GESP until after next year’s local elections is unhelpful. We continue to argue that the Teignbridge Local Plan Review cannot be fully determined by stakeholders until the outcome of GESP is known and just what additional proposals there are for new allocations for development around Newton Abbot.


South Hams Special Area of Conservation (SHSAC)

We understand that the various responses to the consultation on the South Hams Special Area of Conservation Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) have been reviewed by representatives from the constituent authorities (South Hams, Teignbridge, Devon County, Dartmoor National Park Authority, Torbay Council and Natural England). Our main criticism of the draft was that it was not possible to offer considered and constructive comment on some aspects of the SPD when the crucial Advice Notes that detail how the guidance will operate, were not available or being made available to be consulted on. It would appear that this complaint was echoed by most, if not all, of the other contributors. We understand that an amended document has been drafted, has been agreed by the Steering Group and will now be put to each Council for approval. Despite the fact that amendments have been incorporated into the revised SPD, we have been unable to discover what those changes are (open government again?). 


Brunel Lodge (Former Hospital Site)

With the old hospital buildings demolished and ground clearance complete, heavy plant has moved in to dig the footings. If all goes to schedule, the development will be complete by May 2020.


Conitor House

There is still no resolution to the ongoing saga of the external lighting at Conitor House. A condition of the grant of planning permission was that the developer should produce a lighting scheme for approval by Teignbridge. This aspect, and the application to change the use of the new fourth floor from office to residential use, has not been determined by Teignbridge (even though the apartments appear to be occupied).

Campaign for the Protection of Rural England

The Devon Branch of the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England will be producing Christmas Cards with wintry Devon scenes on them. They consider that this will be an opportunity to highlight scenery that is under threat from development. The Rolling Fields and the Grade 1 Listed St Mary the Virgin Parish Church are excellent subjects. A call to Members for wintry photographs resulted in a winter wonderland selection of excellent photographs. They have all been passed on to CPRE, so we live in hope that one will be chosen like this example.

 District and Town Councillor Mike Pilkington

We were saddened to learn that Mike Pilkington had been taken ill and is now recovering in hospital. We wish him all the best for a full and speedy recovery.

A Final Thought

If you are a fan of the Archers on Radio 4, you will be aware that they are running a story line where a developer is reneging on the number of affordable homes they promised to include when the scheme was originally approved by the council on the grounds of “viability” leaving some of the younger villagers unlikely to get their own homes! Sound familiar?



The Teignbridge Strategic Plan is under a five year review and includes NA3 the development at Wolborough. 

Two separate developments are being proposed at Wolborough; West Wolborough, between the A381 Totnes Road, Priory Road and Kingskerswell Road comprises 1,275 homes and mixed development, and East Wolborough, either side of the Buckland Athletic FC on Kingskerswell Road, comprises 450 homes and other developments plus a road linking the A381 with the Kingskerswell Road.

More information is below.


The article below sets out the summary of the work that Abbotskerswell PC and the Worlborough Residents Association (WRA) have been doing in the last few months, as well as the current situation.

Responding to consultations has involved hours spent reading through thousands of pages, compiling thoughts, attending meetings and submitting formal responses to extremely tight deadline set by the respective authorities who issued the consultations. 


This work could not have been completed without maintaining close collaboration on matters of mutual concern with Wolborough Residents’ Association (WRA), Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), Devon Wildlife Trust (DWT) and during the year we have developed a closer working relationship with Teignbridge Planners by participating in quadripartite meetings between them, Wolborough Residents’ Association and Newton Abbot Town Council.


Devon Wildlife Trust & the Campaign to Protect Rural England– We have maintained the strong links built up with both of these organisations and will continue to do so to our mutual benefit. The Devon Branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England made a generous donation to “CROWD” – now effectively the umbrella organisation for Abbotskerswell Parish Council and the Association. This will help defray some of the costs of obtaining expert opinion on aspects of the PCL Planning Application which need challenging.


Devon Greater Horseshoe Bat Project- Devon Wildlife Trust is continuing leading the five-year survey of how the Greater Horseshoe Bat uses the local environment throughout the South Hams Special Area of Conservation. WRA and APC continue to collaborate with Devon Wildlife trust on this.


Note: On 12 October 2018 CPRE Devon launched their independent review of Devon housing needs evidence and Government Housing Policy.


These two reports strongly argue that Local Plans are planning for far too many homes, and they fail to plan for enough homes of the right type and in the right locations. 

Copies can be obtained from CPRE: 

Tel: 01392 966737; Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Address is: CPRE Devon, PO Box 26, Beaworthy, EX21 5XN


Review of Government Housing Policy front cover 213x300    image.png


Consultations responded to by APC  include: 

  1. Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) Draft National Planning Policy Framework (dNPPF);
  2. Teignbridge Draft Development Framework Plan for NA3 Wolborough;
  3. the draft South Hams Special Area of Conservation (SAC) Supplementary Planning Guide (SPG);
  4. the Teignbridge (TDC) Local Plan Five-Year Review;
  5. the Greater Exeter Strategic Plan and
  6. the potential impact the above might have.
  7. The PCL appeal for non-determination of last year’s Hybrid Application;
  8. the latest PCL Hybrid Planning Application for the development of NA3 Wolborough;
  9. the Change of Use Application for the Wolborough Barton Farm Buildings; and
  10. the new (access) Road off the Kingskerswell Road.
  11. Request for scoping opinion for residential led, mixed use development at Langford Bridge.

The Public Consultation on the East Wolborough development commences on the 29th October at Buckland Athletic FC. 



We can each continue to post our objections or support for the developments, but most importantly is to keep up to date with what is happening and respond in good time. We must attend public consultations en masse to make ourselves and our views known. 


Summary of Abbotskerswell Parish Council’s key submissions in response to the above:


Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) Draft National Planning Policy Framework (dNPPF);

In collaboration with CPRE Devon and other bodies, our submission resulted in MHCLG rewording parts of the NPPF:


“Strengthened protection for ancient and veteran trees by including them as ‘irreplaceable habitats’, so that the ‘wholly exceptional reasons’ test in paragraph 175c) applies to both ancient woodland and ancient and veteran trees. ‘Aged trees’ has been changed to ‘ancient trees’ to align with existing terminology used by Natural England.”

“Reinstated wording that makes clear that National Parks, the Broads and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty have the highest status of protection in relation to landscape and scenic beauty, and made clear the scale of development that may be appropriate within them.”

“Explicitly referred to locally designated wildlife sites in the policies relating to biodiversity.”


Teignbridge Draft Development Framework Plan for NA3 Wolborough (dDFP);

The consultation period for the draft DFP ended last Friday, 28th September. The DFP was produced by Teignbridge in conjunction with White, Young & Green. It provides a masterplan covering the entire NA3 allocation which recognises many of the constraints to building on this area; the Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) Wolborough Fen; South Hams Special Area of Conservation Greater Horseshoe Bat (GHB) flyways and foraging areas; traffic congestion, air quality and topography of the geologically iconic Rolling Fields to mention just a few.

APC submitted a detailed commentary strongly lobbying for the early completion of the link road, full and comprehensive surveys of the SSSI Wolborough Fen catchment and the GHB flyways, the status of the adopted masterplan (arguing that it should be a Development Plan Document that as a policy document, would give it more teeth).

The responses to the draft will be reviewed by TDC planners, revised and reissued as a formal consultation document in December 2018.

Abbotskerswell Parish Council urges all residents to read though this important document which explain the issues, identifies the environmental and human risks in developing Wolborough and makes recommendations. Click here to read.

Specialist assessment of TDC’s Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA) for Wolborough

APC and WRA have engaged BIOSCAN, one of the UK’s longest established environmental consultancies specialising in applied ecology. They have been delivering independent and highly respected ecological services and advice since 1984. Click here to read BIOSCAN’s report which has been submitted on to TDC as part of APC’s dDFP response. Note: BIOSCAN produced their report for APC without charge.


Draft South Hams Special Area of Conservation (SAC) Supplementary Planning Guide (SPG)

This Supplementary Planning Document is being prepared to provide guidance on the implementation of policies relating to the South Hams Special Area of Conservation, specifically on the population of greater horseshoe bats for which the site is (in part) designated.  It covers five Local Planning Authority areas, Dartmoor National Park Authority, Devon County Council, South Hams District Council, Teignbridge District Council and Torbay Council.

Briefly, amongst other points, APC argues strongly that the proposed “advice notes” referred to in the SPG are to be produce later. Without such advice notes, which gives the document its strength, the proposed document will allow widespread development across rural areas of Teignbridge and elsewhere. 


APC’s response can be read here.

Teignbridge Local Plan Five-Year Review

Teignbridge launched their statutory consultation on the Five-Year Review of the Local Plan (2013 – 2033) upon which we submitted detailed comments. At this stage the review is focussed on the policies. Hopefully, they will also consider the underlying assumptions, particularly on population estimates, before the exercise is completed. Our concern about population numbers stems from the manner that the 2033 population estimate for the District was overstated and adopted on a political whip and casting vote. Subsequent population estimates under the Five-Year Review give a lower number for 2040 by 1,500; for both years the Office for National Statistics estimate is lower than Teignbridge’s by around 5,000. We continue to challenge these numbers and are seeking the evidence that supports the Teignbridge estimates. 

The new review states a requirement for 6457 extra dwelling above the original 12,400, giving 18,857 dwellings in Teignbridge. APC argues that the figures are not sufficiently evidenced so cannot be objectively assessed. 

Read the following two consultation submissions: WRA formal response and APC overprovisioning paper.


Greater Exeter Strategic Plan

Greater Exeter Strategic Plan (GESP) – The GESP is a formal statutory document that will provide the overall framework for housing (additional 57,000) and employment land to be provided up to 2040 and by working together the councils aim to earmark the right locations for employment, new homes and infrastructure, while safeguarding the local environment. 


It covers the local authority areas of Exeter City, Mid Devon, East Devon and Teignbridge. WRA submitted detailed representations on the Issues Consultation. Unfortunately, the publication of the outcome of this consultation and the next stage of developing GESP has been delayed until summer 2019 putting the whole timetable back by at least twelve months.

One significant development has been the possibility of a “new village” of up to 10,000 homes. Logic suggests that the creation of a fully resourced community is a far better option than the current urban extensions around Newton Abbot if suitable land can be found, ideally closer to Exeter where the major employment growth is. This plan covers Exeter City, Teignbridge District Council; East Devon; Mid Devon District and recommends at least 57,000 dwellings are required by 2040.


However, Teignbridge Executive resolved that:

(1) the Greater Exeter Strategic Plan document “Our Vision and how we make it real” attached as Appendix A to the circulated report be approved as the basis for public consultation; and 

(2) modifications to the draft consultation document could be made with the agreement of the Portfolio Holder for Planning and Housing, jointly with the equivalent Portfolio Holders in the other GESP local planning authorities.

GESP was passed by the TDC Executive.


In parallel, East Devon District Council resolved that: 

1. that before consultation, the consultation document “Our New Vision and How We Make It Real” be amended to: 

a. include reference to assisting the rural community; 

b. include reference to increasing healthcare provision in response to demographic changes; 

c. include entry level sports provision and sports hub; 

d. include provision of passing loop at Whimple, and other transport provision; 

e. include a review of energy needs and how to supply them; 

f. include an indication of forward funding; and 

g. include a clear set of questions that provide information that can be analysed. 

2. That before consultation, the amended document be considered at a future meeting of the Strategic Planning Committee.


Thus, GESP was rejected by the East Devon District Council’s Strategic Planning Committee. This may add further delay to the GESP programme. 


Note that East Devon’s resolution to GESP echoes our parish council’s ’s similar call for evidencing “information that can be analysed”.


No further comment can be made until a revision to the GESP plan is made.


PCL / REW family applications submitted for NA3 Wolborough (West)


  1. The PCL appeal for non-determination of last year’s Hybrid Application;
  1. the latest PCL Hybrid Planning Application for the development of NA3 Wolborough;
  2. the Change of Use Application for the Wolborough Barton Farm Buildings; and
  3. the new (access) road off the Kingskerswell Road.





CEG / REW family applications submitted for NA3 Wolborough (West)

  1. EIA Scoping Report – Land at Langford Bridge

NA3 - The PCL Planning Applications for the Development of Wolborough –  Last year we submitted a series of representations opposing the Hybrid Planning Application – outline permission for the NA3 development and full permission for the conversion of the farm buildings. Earlier this year PCL appealed the non-determination of this application. Again, we have submitted comments to the Planning Inspector supporting Teignbridge’s stance as there were so much crucial detail that was outstanding, not least the absence of a comprehensive masterplan. 


The Planning Enquiry will be heard:

26 March 2019


Forde House Offices, Brunel Road, Newton Abbot, TQ12 4XX.


At the same time as lodging their appeal, PCL submitted a new Hybrid Application, effectively a straight copy of their 2017 application, plus separate application for the change of use of the farm buildings. Shortly after, PCL submitted a fourth application for an access road and hard standing off the Kingskerswell Road opposite the entrance to the Laundry; PCL’s favoured alignment of the link road.


Again, working closely with our neighbours and good friends in Wolborough, we have submitted objections to development on the geologically iconic “Rolling Fields”. 


We have also, with our good friends in Wolborough, submitted objections to developments at Langford Bridge, requesting that thorough studies are conducted under the Environmental Impact Assessment  

CEG are organising a public consultation at Buckland Athletic FC, Kingskerswell on 29 October 2018 between 4pm and 8pm. Exhibition boards will also be available on www.langfordbridgefarm.co.uk from 29 October 2018.



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