Penhale – an odd decision or anything goes?


This is an unusual proposal for a major mixed use development in place of existing redundant buildings on a former military camp in a sensitive rural coastal location close to the village of Holywell. The site is adjacent to the Penhale Dunes Special Area of Conservation (SAC) Natura 2000 site that is protected to ensure the long-term survival of Europe’s most valuable and threatened species and habitats. The outer edges of the site that are
undeveloped also form a small part of the Penhale Dunes SSSI. The proposal raises a range of complex issues, and the possibility of harm to the environment particularly in relation to ecology.

There are potential adverse visual impacts on the local landscape as a result of the urbanising effect of this new housing and other development within an area physically separated from the existing settlement at Holywell. [Strategic Planning Committee report]

The Penhale development is somewhat unusual in that it is in an area detached from any existing urban area; it is located where the environmental impact could be considerable and the visual impact high.

Years ago such a proposal would have been quickly rejected – not related to existing settlement; an intrusion into a rural area, yet now its gets the go-ahead. Presumably the existence of old MOD buildings is deemed sufficient although its isolation would seem to offset this!

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