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MOD ask to continue using Cramber Tor for military training
12:00pm Friday 14th September 2012 in Devon
A planning application for the continued use of Cramber Tor area of the Dartmoor National Park for ‘dry’ military training has been received.
This involves no live firing or ammunition and is different from the Military Danger Areas on Dartmoor. The public is excluded from these areas when training occurs.
The current use allows for the use of Cramber Tor and the surrounding land for 273 days per year – excludes all of August, Bank Holidays and Sundays.
Dry training is explained as range of military activity such as walking, map work, laying wires for communication purposes, digging trenches, camping, military manoeuvres with troops including use of pyrotechnics, non explosive devices, and occasional use of helicopters.
The MOD’s current permission expires in January 2013 and was granted 10 years ago by the National Park Authority, subject to a number of conditions which are set out in the non technical summary.
Cramber Tor has had a number of temporary consents since the 1980s for military training. This time the MOD want a permanent planning permission.
This is the first time they have had to apply for formal planning permission. Prior to this such ‘applications’ were covered by ‘ Crown Immunity’ rules and were dealt with under the former government circular 18/84 under a consultation arrangement with the Planning Authority (National Park Authority not District Council in this case).
The application includes a non statutory environmental statement (ES). The application was screened before being submitted and did not require a formal ES. The MOD agreed to submit a non statutory ES which contains the same information anyway. The response to the screening opinion and the scoping report (what should be included in the ES) are included in the appendices to the application.
The ES covers the impact arising out of military use, namely on recreation and conservation, as well as the potential impact on archaeology.
In addition the MOD has submitted an assessment under the ‘major’ development test to show why this activity should take place in the NP area and not outside the National Park as well as why it can’t take place on other ranges within the NP. The MOD are content with other conditions as previously limiting the use but want to increase the number of personnel on manoeuvres to a maximum of 50 at any one time from the current limit of 35.
The applicants do not own the land. The land is owned by South West Water which has given them a licence to carry out dry training until 2024.
The application is now out for public consultation and comments The application will be lodged on our web site and also at the Princetown HMVC. A hard copy of the plans and application details will be available to view at Parke and Princetown during normal office hours.
The application will need to go to the National Park Development Management Committee before the January 2013 deadline. The current plan is to take the application to 2nd November Development Management Committee. There is no guarantee regarding this date however.
A lot depends on what is thrown up by the consultation process and whether or not the Authority has to re-consult on additional/amended details that may be received.
Stephen Belli is the case officer for this application. Given the likely level of public interest Stephen will not be able to respond to general questions from 3rd parties either in writing or on the telephone.
You should refer to the application details on the web site and put your comments in writing. Stephen will not be able to enter into written exchange with 3rd parties but will correspond and speak to formal consultees such as Parish Councils, Dartmoor Preservation Association, Dartmoor Society, Natural England etc in the normal way.
The non technical summary is a useful potted summary of the application, what is included and why the MOD thinks permission should be granted. You should read that first, then look at the main report if you want more details.
If you can’t find what you are looking for then put your concerns in writing. Of course you may also write in support of the application setting out your reasons why the MOD should be granted planning permission.
If there are any particular areas of concern regarding past use and how this has affected you personally then it would be useful if you could put that in writing.
The MOD may decide to hold a public exhibition regarding this application. If that happens a press notice will be issued to draw people’s attention to this.
All comments must be received by the end of the consultation period which is 12 October 2012. Following that date the case officer will assess the application and prepare a detailed report for Committee.
This report and recommendation will be available at least a week before the Committee is due to debate the application. Members of the public can attend the Committee meeting to listen to the debate. There is an opportunity to speak as well and the rules for this are shown on our web site.
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