The most urgent thing is to e-mail or write to SHDC (South Hams District Council). Their deadline of Wednesday 24th October has passed but your responses are still likely to help – right up until a decision is made on these applications.
To be most effective, link your objections to SHDC planning policy and to the application. Here is a quick guide on how to do this. Better still, follow the highlighted links and read the documents, especially Phillip Saint’s Supporting Statement.
1. Refer to the planning applications by number
There are three applications. The first is the important one. The second is almost identical to the first – it’s there because the Tally Ho is a listed building. The third application is for the barn – you can respond to this differently or not at all.
- 31/2221/12/F – Conversion of public house/restaurant to a single dwelling and erection of a detached garage
- 31/2222/12/LB – Listed Building Consent for conversion of public house/restaurant to a single dwelling and erection of a detached garage
- 31/2223/12/F – Change of use of converted barn from owners accommodation to single dwelling
If you click on any of these links, and then click on View Plans and Documents you’ll find there are a lot of documents available for you to view and download.
2. Link your response to SHDC Development Policy DP9: Local Facilities
This is the relevant bit in SHDC’s Local Development Framework Development Policies Development Plan Document. DP9 on pages 34 to 36 sets out their policies for Local Facilities.
The plan supports retaining local facilities like pubs as they play a “vital community role” in villages. DP9 paragraph 3.92 recognises “…that there needs to be scope for change of use where there is no longer demand for the facility and it is not viable.”. The application needs to provide evidence that:
- the facility is not viable (based on the accounts for the previous 2 years)
- the facility has been effectively marketed for at least one year
- the facility has been marketed at an appropriate market value
If you think these criteria have not been met, give concrete evidence to support your view and explicitly link it to DP9. The most critical things to prove are that the viability of the pub has not been properly tested over the last few years, and that it has not been effectively marketed at an appropriate market value. You could suggest that change of use should be denied as the business has not been given a fair chance to prove itself under effective management.
Example of linking your response:
DP9 paragraph 3.92 of SHDC’s Local Development Plan states that the Tally Ho must be shown to be non-viable if change of use is to be granted. I believe that the reason that the Tally Ho has not been a viable business in recent years is because …
3. Counter the points made in Phil Saint’s Supporting Statement
The most important document to read is the Supporting Statement which sets out the reasons given by the landlord, Phillip Saint, for making the first two applications. In brief, the statement says that commercial forces have forced the closure; the business is non-viable; since 2009 the business has been efficiently run by Mr & Mrs Saint, a full time chef and a full time bar person; the pub offered quality food and drinks and people were made to feel welcome; the pub has run at a loss since 2007; 11 pubs have closed and only 2 re-opened in S. Hams in the last decade; the asking price of £695k for pub and barn is realistic; no sensible offers have been received; one offer of £200k was made; alternative provision is available at the nearby Pig & Whistle.
Try to counter the points made in the Supporting Statements in your letter – particularly the ones about viability and absence of demand in paragraphs 11, 20 and 21, effective marketing at an appropriate market value in paragraphs 13 and 16, and paragraph 19 which claims that the Pig and Whistle is accessible on foot from the village centre. If you disagree with what has been said, try to give concrete examples. If possible, link your objection to a paragraph number.
Example of linking your response:
In paragraph 19 of his Supporting Statement, the applicant states that there is alternative provision provided by the Pig & Whistle, only 400m away. I do not believe the Pig & Whistle is an alternative to the Tally Ho as …
4. Refer to the Historic Building Assessment and SHDC’s Policy DP6: Historic Environment
The assessment was required as the pub is a listed building. It concludes: “The Tally Ho Inn is of considerable significance …. In terms both of its age and functional uses, the Tally Ho Inn has played a central role in the life of the village for approximately 350 years.”
In paragraph 25 of his Supporting Statement, Phillip Saint states: “The new use for the site represents the most economic reuse of the building which is consistent with its conservation. … Policy DP6 only permits an alternative use of a Listed Building where this use is compatible with and will preserve the special architectural or historic interest of the building and its setting. Littlehempston is a Conservation Area and the Tally Ho is one of the key historic buildings within the conservation area on the direct approach to the church.”.
It can be argued that the alternative use of the Tally Ho as a private residence might preserve the fabric of the building, but would reduce the historic interest of the building (as public access to the interior would be denied) and would destroy the historic setting of village pub and adjacent church.
5. What other information can I refer to in my letter ?
Appropriate market price ? Here’s something you could use to question whether the Tally Ho has been realistically priced. At the Parish Council meeting on 3rd October 2012, Phillip Saint said that he’d had the Tally Ho and the barn valued as residences by Stags in June 2011. The values were £300k for the Tally Ho and £200k for the barn. These figures suggest the property is currently worth less than £500k (prices have fallen since 2011) – whilst the planning application says the Tally Ho has been effectively marketed at a realistic price of £695k (Supporting Statement, paragraph 13).
Viability ? Click here to see the information used to market the Tally Ho by RTA Business Sales Specialists starting in 2010. It paints a very different picture of the viabilty of the Tally Ho. It refers to “…a fantastic trading position…”, “…truly vast scope for continued growth…”, and states that “The business would also benefit greatly by adopting a far more vigorous marketing policy…”. You might like to argue that Phillip Saint himself was suggesting it could be run more effectively.
Absence of demand ? The recent conversion of Littlehempston Church and the successful summer fetes help to demonstrate the strength of the local community. There are now a series of events taking place in the church which would improve the viability of the Tally Ho as a pub. The pub would also help make the Community Space a more attractive venue.
6. Write to South Hams District Council by Wednesday 24th October
E-mail them at email@example.com
or send a letter to:
South Hams District Council
Include the reference numbers of the planning applications in your e-mail / letter. They are:
- For the Tally Ho itself: 31/2221/12/F and 31/2222/12/LB
- For the barn: 31/2223/12/F
7. Send copies of your letter to the Parish Council and to local Councillors
Mrs L Jensen, Clerk to LHPC
2 Afton Tor Cottages
Councillor Rose Rowe
Councillor Trevor Pennington
8. What else can I do ?
Get other people in neighbouring towns and villages to write to SHDC (with a copy to Littlehempston Parish Council). The Supporting Statement says that “Vistors came from Totnes, Paignton, Brixham and as far away as Exeter and Plymouth.” so letters from a large part of South Devon can legitimately support the Tally Ho.
Finally, if you have any difficulty accessing any of the websites or downloading any of the documents that we’ve linked to in this article, or if you’ve got anything to add, please contact us !