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Saving Saunton beach for the community

Closing date: 31 December 2015

Lead Petitioner: John McDonough

Status: rejected

Petition: This petition asks: that North Devon District Council agrees that given the extent of public interest, planning application 60133 is not appropriate for delegated decision and is heard in full committee. - that North Devon District Council refuses planning application 60133 by Saunton Beach Enterprises (SBE) and so does not permit installation of automatic parking barriers across the public right of way to Saunton Beach and the Biosphere Reserve. - that NDDC represents the community in discussion with SBE on its plans for significantly increased charges for use of the beach car park which in practice is the sole practical access to Saunton Beach. - that should 60133 be passed then NDDC ensures that a gap of at least 2m must be left between the barriers and the roadside gully as per PROW guidance.

Background information: SBE currently leases Saunton beach car park from Christie Estates and also operates 2 of the other businesses at Saunton beach. Opposition to the planning application and stated charges is widespread and evidenced by the e-petition objecting to SBEs plans having been signed by 10653 beach users in the last month and some 500 written objections to NDDC planning. In 2015 parking for a day of any length at the beach would cost a family £8 in high season, as little as £4 out of season and nothing outside charging hours. Some season tickets have been available (though subject to 40% price increase over 2014 and numbers available reduced from 500 to 200). If planning permission for barriers is granted then charges proposed are £2 for the first hour then £1.50 for each subsequent hour (or part hour), so, for example £ 12.50 for a stay of 7 1/4 hours. These charges are significantly higher than those at other local beach car parks and though SBE suggests hourly charging has some support it seems reasonable to conclude those people will have assumed charges in line with other local car parks. Automated barriers would facilitate 24 hour charging very many people currently use the beach for sports (particularly surfing) and leisure outside charging hours though SBE has said it does not plan 24 hour charging it has not given any undertakings not to extend chargeable hours. The beach is currently a widely loved and well used community resource in what is one of the lowest waged areas in the UK - many of those people will be unable to afford to continue their regular use of the beach if costs and chargeable hours increase. In terms of the planning application, Braunton Parish Council recommends rejection of 60133 and some 500 public e-objections are already with NDDC. Major areas of concern include: - public safety when the unmanned barriers malfunction in the harsh beach environment, -potential access problems for emergency vehicles,

Number of signatories: 0

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    Current progress: The petition is not considered valid as in accordance with the Council's Petition Scheme, petitions for planning applications are dealt with under separate procedures. However, you can submit a paper petition or email a petition direct to the Planning department in relation to the planning application, which will then be taken into account as part of the planning decision process.