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Planning application submitted for Boathouse in Bantham

SA Updated
Planning application submitted for Boathouse in Bantham

A planning application has been re-advertised to change the top floor of the famous Boathouse in Bantham into a holiday home. 

The application, made by Bantham Estates, is to turn the top floor of the Coronation Boathouse in Bantham into a three-bedroom holiday home. 

Bantham Estates have linked this planning application in with one for necessary cliff stabilisation works.

The current boathouse and cliff stabilisation on the left - Design and Access Statement - VESP Architects Ltd

The Grade II listed building was built in 1937 to mark the coronation of King George VI, there is a royal insignia and commemorative wall plaque within the building’s exterior, as well as two decorative figureheads at both ends.

One of the two figureheads - Design and Access Statement - VESP Architects Ltd

The applicant states that it has "long recognised the boathouse’s importance to the village and values its historic estuary setting". The planning application states that when the building was acquired in 2014, it was "unused and with no plan in place for its repair and maintenance", and that a health and safety consultant advised in 2016/2017 that the first floor was "unfit for purpose and potentially dangerous for continuous use as a boathouse or servicing workshop". 

The current boathouse - Design and Access Statement - VESP Architects Ltd

The design and access statement states that the proposals include "the refurbishment of the coronation boat house and conversion of its first floor into holiday let accommodation, the re-thatching of the pilchard store, the continuation of cliff stabilisation works and the creation of a raised walkway above these retaining structures to provide first floor access into the new holiday let that sits above the flood-level, and the improvement of the surfacing at the top of the slip way.

"The re-use of the first floor as a holiday let is a low-intensity use that is in-line with the parish’s wishes to keep the quay area quiet, with low numbers of people at any one time.

"This application has been submitted with two intended aims. The first is to regularise permission for the emergency cliff stabilisation works that had to be commenced but require formal permission to be completed. The second is to provide enabling development for the significant refurbishment works to the boat house that will conserve and secure the heritage asset.

"This will be achieved through the provision of holiday let accommodation at first floor within the boat house.

"The architectural adaptations required to achieve the proposals have been designed to be an appropriate and lighttouch approach, and respond to and enhance the character of the listed building. The internal qualities of the building that informed the listing will be retained. The proposals also maintain the use of the ground floor as a boat store and location for occasional public events."

The proposal - Design and Access Statement - VESP Architects Ltd

Thurlestone Parish Council objected to this re-advertised application. Councillors "remained of the view that the cliff stabilisation works and the proposed conversion of the first floor of the boathouse into a holiday let should be dealt with by two separate planning applications".

Their response said that they "considered the two matters were neither ‘fundamentally interlinked’ nor ‘inextricably linked’" due to the fact that the cliff stabilisation works are "an open enforcement matter dating back over two years for works urgently needed to ensure the safety of the general public".

At a recent parish councillors’ recent site visit "revealed that further investigation is needed into whether the proposed retaining wall is structurally ‘fit for
purpose’ (irrespective of its dual function to access the holiday let), how to minimise the dye-sprayed concrete on the cliff face and how to ensure the natural regeneration of plants". 

The parish council also said: "The proposed conversion of the first floor of the boathouse into a holiday let is an entirely separate planning application and considerations, including, the suitability of the proposed use for the building and location were not considered in the pre-application enquiry.

"As the application states, the existing use of the boathouse is for boat storage, repairs and for use by Bantham Sailing Club, but there had been no consideration of the proven need for boat storage in the parish and community support for marine-related uses.

"The proposed holiday let would contribute to the removal of marine-based uses which are vital to the local distinctiveness of the area, and the building’s optimum viable use had been assessed according to best financial return to fund the cliff works rather than what would be best for the historic building and the area.

"Further, in terms of the public benefits of the proposal, there were concerns that there was no guarantee that the community would be able to continue to use the ground floor in perpetuity, since the ground floor is not part of the application. Whilst in terms of amenity, concerns were reiterated about the 24/7 light spill from the holiday let, lack of outdoor space and the enforceability of the proposed management plan which would set out how the let could be used, including house rules for guests."

The proposal - Design and Access Statement - VESP Architects Ltd

South Hams District Council planning officer concluded that: "As presented the pre-application proposal for conversion to create a holiday let is premature and one that would cause unjustified harm to the listed building. It is a proposal that disregards the fact that part of the special interest and significance of the boatstore is that it was built, and has been maintained by the Bantham estate, as a community asset.

"It is noted that there are no proposals for the ground floor or the pilchard store despite both being described as underused.”

The application has been re-submitted and although the deadline for comments has passed, you can still add your comments to the planning application until the date of determination. 


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