Plans to build forest school on remote Talaton site refused over traffic and safety concerns
PUBLISHED: 13:53 05 February 2020
A bid to build a new kindergarten classroom for up to 24 children in Talaton has been refused.
An application was submitted in November last year for the change of use of woodland and agricultural land at New Barn Farm to an educational base for children aged three to six.
The plans also sought the creation of a car parking area, offering 20 spaces, and a new classroom linked to the car park.
The facility would have been used by Wild Beginnings, a forest school which hosts sessions for children to explore, play and learn about the forest habitat.
A supporting statement for the application said the proposals would connect children with the natural world. It said: "The classroom will be a safe base from which children will be able to access the woodland at Beacon Cross Copse - where most of their time will be spent."
The plans said the classroom would have a low impact on the environment and there would be composting facilities for green waste, compost toilets and youngsters would be taught how to grow and harvest their own fruit and vegetables on-site.
The plans sought the removal of five metres of hedgerow from the west boundary of the field at New Barn Farm, to allow vehicles to pass from an existing farm track into the field to park.
However, planners at East Devon District Council have thrown out the plans, citing concerns with the increased vehicle movements it would attract and the 'incursion of development' into the countryside on the opposite side of the access track to New Barn Farm.
A refusal notice said: "The proposal, by virtue of its location remote from settlements, services or public transport, and accessed by narrow unlit roads, would lead to an increase in vehicle movements to/from the site."
Planners said it is unlikely those attending the school would walk or cycle to the site regularly.
They said they considered the site considered to be unsustainable as a result.
Concerns were also voiced about safety with regards to the access road to the site.
The refusal notice said the road, and surrounding highways, are narrow and lacking in places where vehicles could reasonably pass.
It said the increase in traffic resulting from the proposal is likely to be 'detrimental to the safe and satisfactory operations of the local highway network'.
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