Dunkeswell Aerodrome proposal a ‘planning creep’

District planners are due to discuss improvement plans for Mansell Raceway at Dunkeswell Aerodrome, described by objectors as a ‘planning creep’.

Njal Lovell has submitted an application for the construction of a detached cart workshop with first-floor viewing terrace linked to the race building.

The plan is currently recommended for conditional approval.

The parish council and the district ward member have lodged observations. They have centred on the concerns that the development is a ‘planning creep’

This stems from a recently-approved licensing application allowing the sale of alcohol and late night refreshments from 10am to 9.30pm Sunday to Wednesday and 10am to 11.30pm on Thursday to Saturday.

It is being recommended that the viewing platform is not used after 9pm.

Explaining the plan, councillors sitting on East Devon District Council’s Development Management Committee have been advised in a report: “The proposed development would see the existing workshop relocated into the proposed building to vacate space for a shop selling kart parts and club merchandise related to the Mansell Raceway business.

“Whilst this application is not applying for a retail use of the existing building, the retail use as described by the applicant is considered to be ancillary to the kart business and does not therefore require planning permission.”

Sheldon Parish Council and third parties have raised concerns over the visual impact of the scheme, which have already been noted.

Objections have taken issue with potential light spill of the development and subsequent impacts upon the tranquility of the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The report states: “Whilst it is appreciated the aesthetic qualities of the Blackdown Hills AONB are paramount importance, restricting the use of the viewing platform between certain hours and ensuring no external lighting of the platform, ensure that the impact would not be significant enough to warrant refusal.”

Referring to claims of a ‘planning creep’, the report says the size, scale and use of the proposed building at Dunkeswell Aerodrome is not considered a risk to visual harm.

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