Welcome to The Appledore Residents Association

The Appledore Residents Association's aims are to enhance and optimise the quality of life for Appledore residents, local people working together for our local community. The Appledore Residents Association committee meets on a monthly basis, there are two Members' meetings in June and November and an AGM in March each year.  Members of the committee attend the Northam Town Council's planning meetings twice a month and the full Council meetings every month, also other meetings, hearings relating to the local neighbourhood plan, local plan etc.

We welcome new members to the Residents Association who wish to protect the heritage of this unique village.  We would also welcome nominations for committee members, so if you are interested in joining the committee please send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

Annual Report 2021 

The ARA had planned an Annual General Meeting in January 2022 but due to the Covid situation the committee feel it is prudent to postpone the AGM for the time being, but we wanted to report on the activities of the Association during the last twelve months.

The committee comprises Joy Smart - Secretary, Stephanie Croft -Treasurer, Jackie Avery -Member, Ric Ker - Member and Mike Clarke - co-opted member.   We have 80 members and it has been really good to welcome some new members this year.

 The website is up and running (www.appledoreresidents.org.uk) but doesn’t get updated as often as it should do, if there is anyone who would help us do this, please let us know!  The Facebook page is very popular and there are 179 followers and there have been some interesting discussions.  It is an easy and quick way of getting information out to residents in the village.

 We are members of the CPRE – Campaign to Protect Rural England and also the Taw and Torridge Forum.  We can seek advice and guidance from the CPRE which can be useful with assistance in tackling issues regarding planning, destruction of hedges and wildlife habitats.

 What is the ARA’s role?  We do have a constitution which is on the website and can be consulted.  Our objective is to monitor the planning applications which are submitted to Torridge District Council, discuss them in committee and prepare comments where necessary.  We liaise closely with the Northam Town Council councillors and attend the Planning meetings where appropriate, the full Council meetings, the Northam Neighbourhood Plan (NNP) meetings and any other of the committees which are relevant to Appledore and the surroundings.  We have a committee member on the NNP group and recently on the Car Parking working group.

We do not have the resources, either from a people or a financial point of view, to tackle big issues, as is outlined under the heading Closure of Pitt Lane.

 Planning applications – there have been several problematic planning applications.  One was in respect to existing lawful use of the land for recreation at Knapp.  There was a lot of opposition to this as the majority of people saw the land was used for agricultural purposes.  At this moment the request has been refused by TDC.

Planning application 1/0576/2021/FUL for three dwellings at Pitt Lane.  This application was rejected by NTC Planning Committee but is still pending.

Planning application 1/0604/2020/OUTM – Land at Bloody Corner, Northam, Devon – Outline Application for 39 dwellings with all matters reserved except access – the application was rejected by NTC Planning Committee and TDC Plans Committee. The ARA and many others objected strongly to this application.  This planning application has gone to appeal.  Admittedly it is not in Appledore but would encroach on the green wedge between Appledore and Northam.

1/0323/2021/AGMB Agricultural building at Staddon Hill, Riversmeet – Prior notification for the change of use of agricultural building to a dwelling house – there were many objections to this application including the fact that Staddon Fort is near to this building.  NTC Planning Committee refused the application as did TDC Plans Committee.  Subsequently Nick Arnold has succeeded in the application for Appledore Civil War fort at Riversmeet to become a scheduled monument.

Pitt Lane – Bunny Homes held a consultation in November as they are planning to build 27 homes on the land to the west of Pitt Lane behind the football ground.  However, they are including eight affordable homes (compared to Baker Estates 4 out of 89!!).  The planning application has not yet been submitted.

Pitt Lane – field to the north-east of the land being developed by Baker Estates (BE).  ‘Consultation’ letters have been sent, apparently, to 200 residents to inform them that BE have acquired an interest in the land and they plan to build 36 additional homes. We are trying to establish who received these letters. The consultation period is very limited with the deadline being 28 January 2022.  They are not offering a public consultation but did offer video conferencing slots on 17 and 18 January which of course was not suitable for everyone, especially at such short notice.  The land is not in the Local Plan and the ARA will be opposing this planning application.

Quiet Lanes survey – the idea of a survey started with trying to protect Pitt Hill from traffic using it as a ‘rat run’ from the new houses into Appledore.  We are all aware that it is single lane in parts, used as an entrance/exit by the school and there are very limited pavements for pedestrians.  The survey was published on Facebook and printed copies distributed around the village and included a question which asked respondents if there were other lanes which should be given ‘quiet’ status.

There were 140+ completed surveys and the responses were analysed.  The results were presented to NTC, TDC and DCC Highways.  The response from DCC Highways was not encouraging as they are not in favour of quiet lanes as the 20mph limit cannot be monitored.  For the time being the ARA is not pursuing this but will in the future.

Closure of Pitt Lane – BE informed some residents in a letter dated 30 June 2021 that Pitt Lane would be closed from 2 August 2021 for a period of six months, which we subsequently discovered could be extended for up to 18 months.  The ARA found that this was unacceptable as the consultation process to close the Lane had not been correctly followed and it effectively turned Pitt Hill into a dead end, which in itself engendered many issues for residents of Pitt Hill/Lane, including the lack of access for emergency services.  The ARA contacted DCC Highways, sent emails to a number of people, including Sir Geoffrey Cox.

The ARA prepared a petition for residents to sign against the closure of Pitt Lane.  Over 400+ signatures were received and the petition was sent to NTC and Cllr Dermot McGeough to be discussed at a HATOC (Highways and Traffic Orders Committee) meeting.

A number of people joined a demonstration at Northam Burrows when Sir Geoffrey Cox came to open the new Visitors Centre.  We were able to speak to him and he offered his assistance.  The ARA also organised two open meetings to update residents on the developments and the actions that were being taken.

The whole issue with the closure of Pitt Lane was a very difficult one and a small group of dedicated people met on a regular basis to ensure that Baker Estates were forced to open the ‘link’ road so that residents and others could access Wooda Road. 

Legal representation had to be appointed to ensure that DCC Highways dealt with the Temporary Traffic Regulation Orders in the correct manner and as the ARA’s finances are limited, a CrowdJustice fund raising campaign was started and raised £9,190. We are so grateful to all the donations which allowed the legal bills to be paid.  The important thing is that the lawyers were successful on our behalf.  Eventually Pitt Lane was closed for a temporary period, but the ‘link’ road was available for use and we successfully negotiated for the lane to be re-opened during the Christmas break until the 10th January 2022, and to be re-opened again from the 11th February 2022.

The ARA is of the opinion that Pitt Lane should remain open in the long term.  It is no longer a quiet rural lane where people can wander along admiring the hedges and the birdsong – both sides of the lane will have housing estates built on them, the hedges have been destroyed and the wildlife will have fled to other habitats.  However, leaving Pitt Lane open might ensure that Pitt Hill does not become the new M5 and a ‘rat-run’ for the residents of the new houses.

 Car parking working group - The ARA was asked to send a representative to this working group which started meeting in 2021.  The outcome of these meetings was the survey that was sent with the November Link and was also available online. 

Only 256 surveys were returned out of a total of 1,800 that were distributed.  It is doubtful that DCC Highways will be able to implement a residents’ parking scheme but the ARA is aware that parking is a major problem in the village especially if more people are going to be taking their holidays in the UK. 

Northam Neighbourhood Plan – an ARA committee member attends the regular meetings.  The draft plan is nearing completion and should be finalised by the end of 2022.

Annual subscription – the annual subscription will remain at £3 for 2022 but from 1 January 2023 it will be increased to £5.  This year we accept £3 or more as the subscription.

Subscriptions are now due so please pay in cash in envelopes including to your name, telephone number and email to Portholes, Pitt Lane or Shalimar, Tomouth Road, or 42 Bude Street.  Thank you to all those members who have a standing order set up.  The subscription can also be paid by BACS – sort code 30-90-78, account number 01097156, please put your name as the reference.  We shall distribute membership cards when we are able to have an AGM or they will be delivered to your address.

Sara Mendosa

ARA Chair