Public Meeting Village Residents

To receive details regarding the Sargeants planning permissions to build houses in the Priory grounds

The Sight that greeted Village residents when they arrived at the Village Hall

On Monday 28th November the Parish Council Chairman, Mrs Sonia Grantham, arranged for Planning Officers to attend a residents meeting in the Village Hall and answer their questions on recent events leading to the St Osyth Priory owners, the Sargeant family, gaining planning permission to build houses behind the Priory walls and to build properties in the Priory Parkland
On the 18th October two applications, one comprised an estate of 72 dwellings on agricultural land to the west of the Priory (the ‘West Field’ development) and the other comprised 17 dwellings for either residential or holiday use located either individually or in groups, in different parts of the Priory’s parkland, each of bespoke design (the ‘Parkland’ development) were considered by the Committee.
These two applications had been referred by the applicants to the Secretary of State against their non-determination and both applications were now the subject of determination by the Planning Inspectorate at a Public Inquiry that was scheduled to start on 15th November 2016, running until the 2nd December, for consideration of both the above applications and previous applications for enabling development. The District Council Planning Committee members were told that their decision that evening would go to the Planning Inspector to indicate what decision they would have made if they had dealt with the item within the timescale allowed. The Committee rejected the applications.

An aerial view of the Priory buildings.

Darcy House

The approach road to the Priory Gatehouse

The Tithe Barn

Neil Williams our Parish Clerk prepared a Power Point display of many of the Priory buildings that will undoubtedly be the subject of repair or restoration during the next ten years. These pictures are displayed above and below this text. I have also printed for your further information the listed features identified in the Conservation Area Appraisal and Management Plan 2010.
Many residents may never have been in the Priory Grounds and seen the numerous individual buildings because public access has not been available since the Sargeant family bought the Priory in 1999, though a restoration of public access has always been their stated aim as the owners. Parts of the Priory are open on special occasions however, such as St Osyth Day, when the family open the Priory Chapel and also on Open Garden Days organised by the Parish Church fund raising group.
Neil has passed all his pictures on to me so that I can show them to the wider public who receive our Parish Web Site updates from time to time.

St Osyth Priory (22 listed features)
Gatehouse and east and west flanking ranges
Precinct wall running east of gatehouse
Precinct wall to south-west of gatehouse
Precinct wall flanking Mill Street Garden wall with attached small outbuilding
Garden wall attached to precinct wall to south
House (former convalescent home)
Urn and pedestal 50m north of gatehouse Ornamental steps flanked by urns Urn and stone pedestal 50m north-east of Abbot’s lodging
Wall between southern wing of house and Darcy tower
Chapel and ruins attached to north
Darcy Tower and vaulting to west
Ruined east range and tower
Barn adjoining west range of gatehouse
Cart lodge adjacent to west of barn
Brew house north-west of gatehouse
Outbuilding adjacent to north-west of brew house (dairy)
Outbuilding adjacent to north of dairy
Cottage adjoining outbuilding
Stable block adjacent to north-west of barn
St Osyth’s Priory, pump 20m west of cottage

Chapel and ruins attached to north

The Cart Lodge

The Bailiff’s Cottage

The Brew House & West Barn

Sonia Grantham asked Gary Guiver to send her the main points that lead to the Public Enquiry being closed early, so they could be put in the Parish Magazine for the information of residents. Garry wrote to her as follows:

1) On 18th October 2016, the Planning Committee agreed the Council’s position in respect of the 2016 planning applications for West Field (72 dwellings) and the Parkland (17 dwellings) and the appeal against non-determination.

2) The resolution was that the Council would have refused planning permission because the benefits being offered by the applicants in terms of repairs to the Priory did not outweigh the harm that the developments would cause to the setting of the Priory and the park – however, if the applicants were to enter into a s106 legal agreement to secure a comprehensive strategy for the future of the Priory, the repair of all of the Priory’s principle buildings and review mechanism to allow for future changes, then the Council would have been minded to approve.

3) The Public Inquiry was originally only going to deal with the 2011 planning applications (following the quashing of the earlier Inspectors decision), but the 2016 applications were added into the Inquiry following the appeal against their non-determination.

4) The Inquiry started on 15th November. The first day of the Inquiry was taken up by discussion on the importance of accurately calculating the ‘conservation deficit’ and some debate as to what approach should be followed. There was a difference in opinion between the Council and the appellants.

5) Dr Anthony Lee of BNP Paribas was asked to complete his report on the Conservation Deficit – the findings of which would provide the definitive position. Dr. Lee’s report was completed on Thursday and the results suggested that £7.4million generated from the 2016 enabling development proposals could be utilised to set up an independent trust and secure repairs to the Priory. It was agreed that this would be the maximum that the Priory owners could be expected to raise through the 2016 enabling development proposals.

6) Mr. Drury gave evidence on behalf of the Council on the heritage impact of the development proposals. His evidence demonstrated that the 2011 planning applications would cause serious harm to the heritage assets, but the 2016 applications would cause moderate harm.

7) On the fourth day of the Inquiry, the Council’s appeal team met with the applicants to explore whether or not, following Dr. Lee’s report, they would be willing to enter into a s106 agreement that would meet all of the Council’s requirements, as agreed by the Committee on 18th October.

8) A draft ‘heads of terms’ for a s106 agreement was prepared by the applicants and the Council’s legal and planning officers were satisfied that this would meet the Planning Committee’s resolution.

9) The appellants agreed to withdraw all of the appeals for both the 2011 and 2016 planning applications if the Council would reclaim and grant planning permission for the 2016 applications subject to an s106 agreement that would meet the Council’s requirements.

10) The applicants duly withdrew all of the appeals and the Council immediately issued planning permission for applications 16/00656/FUL (72 dwellings on West Field) and 16/00671/FUL (17 dwellings in the Parkland).

11) Condition no. 2 of both planning permissions requires that no development can take place until a s106 has been completed which secures all of the Council’s requirements, which are set out in schedules attached to the decision notice.



Seated at the high table were from the left: Cllr John Kemp, Vice Chairman of the Parish
Council; Cllr Sonia Grantham, Chairmen of the Parish Council; Mr Gary Guiver, Planning
Policy Manager Tendring D.C. and Catherine Bicknell, T.D.C’s Head of Planning Services.

Front row residents listening now and ready to ask
their questions, with some of the officers of
Save Our St.Osyth (or S.O.S.)

Front row of Parish Council members with County
Councillor Alan Goggin, a strong Parish supporter,
2nd right sitting next to Councillor John White

The meeting, which started at 7.30 p.m. ran on to about 9.40 p.m. Whilst the subject was one which had reached boiling point with some residents being quite affronted by the decision to grant the Sargeants planning permission, the business was well conducted with many questions being asked and answered. Gary Guiver’s delivery was at all time calm and it was obvious he knew his subject inside out!
There were however one or two small policy items where Gary turned to his ‘boss’ Cath Bicknell for confirmation that what he was saying was in accord with current policy and was correct.

A shots across the Hall to show the numbers of residents attending.

A shot from the other side of the Village Hall showing residents present

Sonia Grantham and her Vice-Chairman John Kemp.

The content above details the up to date position in the Priory grounds. We think the majority of our residents will not be pleased by the outcome, but it is legal and a quite proper decision, made in accordance with Planning Law.
The Parish Council will now have to plan the way forward, to take account of the changed circumstances in our village such as the potential increase in our population in the near future.
I would like to thank Neil our Clerk for his help with this Web article.


Leave a Reply