Horsington Manor reports on its conservation programme

We promised to tell you more about Philip Colebatch, owner of Horsington Manor, and his visit to the Parish Council on 9 February. At the meeting  he explained the conservation work he has carried out in the ten years since he has owned the property.

The work includes the planting of over 4km of hedgerow (approximately 12,000 plants) together with the planting ofsome 400 new trees. Robert Rhys, the land agent, told the Blog  that Mr Colebatch provided for the Council details of a report which had recently been prepared by the Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group (FWAG, a farming/environmental
consultancy, which went into administration in November 2011). This organisation assisted the development of the original conservation programme in 2002.

Mr Rhys said ‘These results included FWAG’s analysis that the management and restoration of the veteran trees on my client’s land is ensuring that the life of these trees is being extended’.

He continued ‘Mr Colebatch continues his dialogue with South Somerset District Council in an effort to understand their issues’, and we understand these have now been resolved, with the decision by the SSDC not to go ahead with a tree preservation order, and to rescind a Hedgerow Retention Notice.

Planning Inspector upholds SSDC’s decision to prevent development on Horsington Marsh

Amended Post  09 Feb 2012

The Planning Inspector has dismissed several appeals  against the SSDC’s stop order on the unauthorised erection and storage of steel containers on land adjoining Moor Lane on Horsington Marsh.

The containers are on  a  22-acre field principally owned by a company in Barry, South Wales, Masha Estates Ltd, who have divided it into building plots and are selling it off to gullible investors via their website. The plots on which the containers are sited are owned by the Lovatt family, who launched the appeal.

Clearly any development here would be illegal, and the council and local residents are being vigilant to keep an eye out for any suspicious activity.

The owners of the offending plots have stated that the containers are being used to store equipment in connection with running a fish farm, which is also not a permitted development on this site.

In dismissing the appeals, the inspector, James Ellis, opens the way for the council to enforce its stop notice. Watch this space!

Previous story
 Planning Inspectorate Appeal Decision

Planning applications

In case anyone locally has not realised it, there is a digest of current planning applications and decisions on the South Somerset D.C website http://www.southsomerset.gov.uk/planning-and-building-control/planning-search/search-results.aspx?keyword=horsington&parish=&ward=&area=&decisions=&startdate=&enddate=.

The blog notes the application by Mr Phillip Colebatch for removal of a 90m length of hedgerow between two fields to increase area for arable husbandry (GR: 370182/125458).  Should we encourage the ploughing up of old pasture and removal of habitat for many birds and mammals? It’s a prickly debate: on the one hand the world is increasingly short of staple foods, on the other is the destruction of the environment leading to reduction, and in some cases extinction, of species. In this case it seems the short term gain is heavily outweighed by the long term benefit to the environment of leaving things as they are. (what do you think Ed?)
See earlier post -Ed

This Application has been refused -Ed

We wonder what size of event will be able to be hosted at the Grange with the approval for the orangery, conservatory and verandah?  Presumably this will now negate the need for a marquee for wedding receptions? Anyway as long as it is self-contained and does not cause undue disturbance there can be no complaint: but loud music and fireworks will not go down at all well on a regular basis.  Consideration is needed on all sides.


Illegal development

An interesting but alarming situation is developing on Horsington Marsh.  If you drive from Horsington to Buckhorn Weston you will see, if you look left just after you turn right out of Batchpool Lane on to Moor Lane, that 2 green shipping containers have arrived to join the caravan that has been sitting in the field for some months.  A large hole has also appeared in the hedge making a new access.  It seems that Masha Estates who operate from Barry in South Wales have, quite legitimately, purchased the 22 acre field at auction: however what they are trying to do with it is at best immoral and, at worst, illegal.  If you look at their website http://www.mashaestates.com/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=135 you will see that they are selling 400-500 square metre plots with the inference that, at some point in the future, these will be serviced with roads (see the small map) and may be able to be built upon.  However caveat emptor for the small print at the bottom of the page says

Masha Estates Ltd do not operate a Collective Investment Scheme as defined in Section 235 of the United Kingdom Financial Services and Markets Act 2000. Masha Estates Ltd do not provide planning permission, estate management or any such related services on behalf of purchasers. All Plots sold without the benefit on any current planning or development permission or any future guarantee thereof. Planning.
Head Office: Masha House, 47 Tynewydd Road, Barry, CF62 8AZ, UK, Company Reg No: 5475680

At least four plots appear to have already been sold to gullible investors who seem to be trying to proceed with some sort of development, hence the containers.

SSDC confirm that no planning permission has been granted and nor is likely that it ever will be.

not least because Horsington Marsh has that name for a good reason (Ed).

Fortunately Senior Enforcement Officer for SSDC, Mr Roger Wotton has been alerted to the situation and placed a Temporary Stop Notice of 28days on Masha and anyone else who is contemplating any sort of development.  What this means is that it is now a criminal offence for any further development to take place and the police will take action if alerted.  Mr Wotton now plans to implement a full Stop Notice and Enforcement Order and to explore any other legal remedies against Masha Estates and other parties.

So if you happen to be driving along the road, day or night, and see anything untoward happening please telephone the Police on 999 or 0845 4567000.

Masha Estates are definitely operating at the seedy end of the property market.  It’s just a shame that there are purchasers out there who are foolish enough to fall for their pitch and pay over £6,000 for a 500 square metre plot of land that can never be anything other than agricultural. If Masha are able to sell all the plots they will clear a cool million pounds over the purchase price.  The Blog certainly hopes that Masha catch an almighty cold and the wrath of those who have already parted with their money.

Remember.  If you see anything please ring the Police

Appeal against enforcement notice dismissed
 

Property -The Somerset v Dorset price gap widens

Somerset property prices
Price differentials between Somerset and Dorset

This chart from the Land Registry shows the property price trend between Somerset and Dorset over the last decade. Prices more than doubled, peaking in 2008, but have now dropped away, and anyone who bought since then could be looking at a loss.

The charts indicates that Somerset property  failed to pick up when the market revived slightly in 2009, and the gap between property prices in Somerset and Dorset widened considerably.

The graph is flat, but which way will it go? Whatever happens, Somerset offers undoubted value over its southern neighbour.

In our next update we will look at price comparisons with other areas.