Case Officer:  Graham Smith                  Parish:  Ugborough   Ward:  Ivybridge East


Application No:  2084/22/OPA    





Mr Jason Oakes - NPS SW Ltd.,

Venture House

Capital Court

Bitten Road, Sowton Ind Est, E




Mr Neil Pateman - Devon County Council Built Environments Team

M11 Matford Offices

County Hall




Site Address:  Land at SX 648 561, Rutt Lane, Ivybridge





Development:  Outline application (all matters reserved) for the provision of a Special School including new two storey teaching block with associated hard & soft landscaping


Recommendation: Conditional Approval


Reason application being put to committee: At the request of Cllr Abbot who considers that without 5 more conditions the proposal will fail to comply with government guidance on its intention to support the growth of walking and cycling and local policies. Reference is made to the Street Design Report by Sustrans and the extent Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan. The Councillor considers that there are physical gaps in immediate network provision and a lack of vision in support provision in the adjacent area.  





  1. Reserved Matters time limit
  2. Reserved Matters details to be submitted
  3. Accord with plans
  4. Pre commencement Construction Management
  5. Road Surfacing
  6. School Travel Plan
  7. Waste Audit Statement
  8. Designing out crime
  9. Landscaping including along frontage
  10. Tree retention
  11. Detailed Drainage Strategy
  12. Foul Drainage
  13. Noise Mitigation
  14. Ecology Survey recommendations
  15. Biodiversity Net Gain
  16. Carbon Reduction Measures
  17. Local employment & skills
  18. External Lighting
  19. Archaeology
  20. Contamination
  21. Restrict external lighting

Key issues for consideration:


Principle of Development/Sustainability, Highways, Design, Drainage & Flooding, Residential Amenity, Ecology and Carbon Reduction



Site Description:


Broadly triangular shaped area of some 2.08 ha of open grass with peripheral tree belt and levels falling downwards gently from the northern frontage to the south. The site is close to the eastern edge of Ivybridge and has established housing to the east and west and more housing under construction to the north east. Exeter Road runs along the northern boundary with playing fields, construction sites and then Dartmoor National Park beyond. To the south and east are open fields and Ivybridge Rugby Club is immediately adjacent to the south west.


The Proposal:


Outline planning permission is sought for a school which would cater for children with Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) conditions. The school would accommodate 120 pupils aged between 5 to 16 and has been brought forward by Devon County Council in response to increasing local demand in the area as a result of recent and future housing growth.


An indicative layout has been submitted showing access to be taken from the existing roundabout on Exeter Road leading to a drop off and parking area within western half of the site and the main school building to be located to the front of the eastern half with a mixture of different play surfaces to the rear. The indicative layout shows the treebelt that extends around most of the site to be retained and bolstered by some additional planting along the frontage at Exeter Road.




·         County Highways Authority:   


Highways acknowledges that the site benefits from an extant permission that exceeds the expected traffic generations this proposal is likely to generate however the proposal is considered to attract vulnerable road user movements from the west and staff movements on the B3213 and a proportion of those movements would be from the northern side of the B3213. On this basis it is considered that a formal Toucan Crossing should be provided on the B3213 between Godwell Lane and St Peters Way on the B32123 in the interests of these vulnerable users and staff movements. Highways requested that a financial contribution towards the Toucan Crossing of £20,000 to be secured via legal agreement and that it be delivered prior to the occupation of the school. Following further discussions with the applicant, who is Devon County Council, Highways confirmed that a legal agreement would not be necessary in this instance for the necessary funds to be secured.


Conditions are proposed securing a Construction Management Plan (CEMP), ensuring the internal road and parking areas are properly surfaced prior to the development being brought into use and also a school travel plan to be submitted, approved and adhered to during the lifetime of the development.


·         Environmental Health Section:


Reviewed the noise impact assessment and did not object subject to noise mitigation measures being incorporated.


·         Town/Parish Council:


Ivybridge: Support


      However members had concerns that some aspects of the application conflict with the Joint Local Plan. Specifically:


1)    The impact of increased traffic has not been sufficiently covered by the application and members would want to see further reassurance in the full application that the policies of TTV6 will be fully met including the prevention of a negative impact on the Western Road AQMA due to the increased number of pupils expected to arrive by motor vehicle from Plymouth.


2) TTV6 also requires mixed development that will improve facilities for local people and enhance the sustainability and self-sufficiency of the town.


The current application does not address this. The applicant is requested to:

a) demonstrate that facilities will be made available to the Ivybridge public once the school opens and,

b) demonstrate how it will actively recruit staff from the town.


The DCC S106 requirement is insufficient to provide any active travel infrastructure in the area and only part funds one crossing. DCC Highways are asked to review this, in conjunction with the applicants, to improve the travel plan.


Ugborough: Support


The £20k S106 funding was inadequate in the light of the crossing proposals and improved cycleway from Ivybridge to Bittaford: £100k S106 funding was needed. A crossing to the East of Godwell Lane would be preferred.


·         Devon and Cornwall Police Architectural liaison


Request a condition to receive a Designing out crime statement in subsequent reserved matters applications.


·         Dartmoor National Park


No objection but requests that the landscaping proposals provides some screening and to ensure that the development is well assimilated into the surrounding landscape mitigating any potential visual harm taking cognisance that the site is within 0.3km of the park’s boundary and therefore has the potential to have a degree of impact.


·         Lead Local Flood Authority


Initially objected on the basis that the initial information didn’t satisfactorily demonstrate that all aspects of the proposed surface water drainage management system have been considered. Upon receipt of further details they lifted their objection.


·         Tree officer


No objection on arboricultural merit.


·         Waste Management


This type of proposal should be accompanied by a waste audit statement ensuring that waste generated by the development during both the construction and operational phases is managed in accordance with the waste hierarchy, with a clear focus on waste prevention. It is noted that this application has not been accompanied by such a stamen and therefore a condition should be imposed requiring this at the reserved matters stage.


·         Historic Environment/Archaeology


No objections subject to a pre-commencement to ensure that archaeological works are agreed and implemented prior to any disturbance. Condition recommended securing a written scheme of investigation to be submitted, approved in writing by the LPA and adhered to at all times.


Representations from Residents


Letters from 14 residents were received, 5 supporting, 1 undecided and 8 objecting to the development.


The points of objection can be summarised as follows:



The points in support of the application can be summarised as follows:



Representation from PL21 – Transition Town Initiative


One representation was received from PL21 –Transition Town Initiative which is a local registered charity. Their letter states that they would be supportive of the application however they have the following concerns:


§  DCC/SHDC to provide a masterplan of all existing and proposed traffic free routes for the local area before granting of any planning consent.

§  Parallel crossing required on south side of roundabout to be included in this application so as to link two existing unconnected traffic free paths

§  Ensure parallel or signalled crossing provided on B3213 as access to train station, Wain Homes site, commercial development and DNPA policy

§  Redesign existing junction between B3213 and Godwell Lane in accordance with LTN1/20 so as to link two existing unconnected traffic free paths and proposed future traffic free path to Godwell Lane.  We anticipate a raised platform crossing with 2-stage Give Way markings to motorists

§  S106 contribution up to £100K is given to upgrade Godwell and Filham Moor Lanes to improve existing walking a cycling route into town centre in accordance with local policies


Relevant Planning History


This site forms part of a larger development comprising of land across Exeter Road to the north all of which was granted Outline Planning Permission on 4th September 2018 (reference: 57/2472/14 allocated under TTV13) for mixed use development of approximately 198 no. dwellings, public open space, employment uses (including Health centre), a neighbourhood centre and new roundabout on Exeter Road (access to be considered). The residential development is already underway and on the indicative layout drawing approved it was envisaged that the site subject to this application would accommodate Class B1 (Office, Research and Development, Light industry).






Principle of Development/Sustainability:


Strategic Objective S01 of the Plymouth and South West Devon Joint Local Plan (‘JLP’) promotes an integrated approach to the strategic planning of the Plan Area as part of a wider region. The primary objective is to maximise and prioritise growth in Plymouth and then focus growth in the Main towns of the Thriving Towns and Villages Policy Area (TTV). Ivybridge is one of the six main towns in the TTV and S01 reinforces the role of this town as a sustainable service centre by providing a range of facilities and services enabling it to meet the needs of its residents.


The JLP sets an overarching strategy for delivering sustainable development that compliments the existing settlement pattern within the plan area. The high-level strategy for delivering sustainable development is expressed within policies SPT1 and SPT2, both promoting sustainable development and the principles of sustainable linked neighbourhoods with other policies amplifying and giving effect to those requirements. Integral components of the strategic spatial vision as outlined by SPT1 and SPT2 are equal and fair access to facilities and services, the promotion of sustainable transport, and an appropriate provision of facilities to meet the identified needs of the local community, including provision of education and training.


Spatial Priority 2 (SP2) specifically relates to Ivybridge. The vibrancy and sustainability of the town will be enhanced through focussing on a range of aims including; the provision of mixed use development, delivering investment which enhances the identity and economy of the town, recognising the sensitive location in proximity to Dartmoor National Park, improving air quality and ensuring the delivery of appropriate infrastructure including community facilities identified in the Ivybridge Neighbourhood Plan.


Policy TTV6 of the JLP allocates land east of Ivybridge, of which this site is part, for a mixed use development including residential and employment space (Use Class B1). Under TTV6 development should provide for the following:


  1. Appropriate local facilities to support new residents and to enhance the sustainability of the local area, including local convenience retailing facilities of a scale and format where it can be demonstrated that there will be no significant adverse impact on the existing town centre.
  2. The continued and enhanced operation of the railway station and associated park and ride, including high quality design and layout which maximises opportunities for natural surveillance.
  3. A landscape strategy which addresses the site’s scale and prominence and the edges of the development, and to mitigate any adverse visual impact on Dartmoor National Park.
  4. The retention of Ivybridge Rugby Club, with any reordering of land-uses only acceptable if it is beneficial to the operation of the club.
  5. A quality form of development which integrates with the existing housing, and provides a design and density that is not prominent when viewed from Dartmoor National Park.
  6. Safe and attractive pedestrian and cycle connections for residents to access, local facilities and services, including the station and local schools.
  7. An appropriate strategy to mitigate for any impact on the Western Road AQMA, including proportionate contributions as appropriate to any relevant Air Quality Action Plan and traffic management schemes.
  8. A site wide Sustainable Drainage Strategy to ensure that drainage requirements can be met on site and are designed to deliver landscape, biodiversity and amenity benefits.  


The accompanying text states that the proposal ‘aims to improve the sustainability and self-sufficiency of Ivybridge through a large scale development incorporating new homes, employment land and local facilities.’


With respect to the first criteria of TTV6 an educational establishment of the kind proposed is considered to be an appropriate local facility for those young people in the vicinity who may require it and their parents who may otherwise be forced to travel long distances to alternative venues in the wider area. In relation to the second it is not considered that the proposal will have an impact on the operation of the railway station. In terms of the third criteria an appropriate landscaping scheme can be secured at the reserved matters stage via condition along with the retention and expansion of the existing treeline around the periphery of the site. With regards to the fourth criteria the proposal will be immediately adjacent to the rugby club however it is not considered that the two uses will be incompatible. The applicant has agreed to contribute towards a pedestrian crossing on Exeter Road and will enable Highways to improve pedestrian facilities near the entrance of the Rugby Club for visiting members of the public. In relation to point 5, the design and density are reserved matters that would require detailed consideration at the appropriate stage but an indicative layout has been submitted showing the main two story building fronting onto, but set back from Exeter Road. Retention of the existing tree belt along the frontage and supplanting of this with additional landscaping will help maintain the lush character of the surrounding area and provide effective screening from the National Park Area. A condition is proposed protecting the trees and requiring a scheme of landscaping to be submitted along with the reserved matters application for further consideration.


In relation to point 6, the applicant has agreed to Highway’s suggested contribution towards a pedestrian crossing on Exeter Road. It is considered that the development will be attractive to pedestrians and cyclists, both from the locality and those who may choose to access the site from a variety of public transport options.  In terms of point 7, an Air Quality Impact Assessment has already been submitted for the wider site and the impact of the use proposed is similar to the use consented for this site. With regards to point 8, as detailed later in this report, the drainage strategy outlined as part of this development is considered to be acceptable in principle subject to a condition that full details are provided and considered further in detail at the reserved matters stage.


Strategic Objective SO7 promotes locally distinctive and sustainable development in the main towns with sufficient new homes, jobs services and infrastructure to improve their self-containment and meet local needs. Policy TTV3 then goes on to specify that the expansion of special educational needs places is to be delivered as part of a strategy for Main Towns.


Changes to the Use Class Order from the 1st September 2020 have resulted in Use Class B1 – Business (office, research and development and light industrial process) now falling within the broader Class E category which could consist of a variety of commercial operations such as shops, financial and professional services, food and drink and non-residential institutions such as medical or health services and day nurseries etc. The use proposed as part of this application would fall within Class F1 (School) of the Use Class Order (as amended) and therefore Policy DEV14 of the JLP would be of relevance which seeks to maintain a flexible mix of employment land.


Under DEV14 change of use away from employment land is only allowed when the following circumstances apply:


  1. The proposal is specifically provided for by the local plan to deliver wider strategic objectives, or
  2. There are overriding and demonstrable economic, regeneration and sustainable neighbourhood/communities benefits from doing so, or
  3. There is no reasonable prospect of a site being used for employment use in the future.


The proposed development doesn’t strictly provide the type of business employment floorspace specified in the policy. It does nevertheless provide a local facility that will help DCC increase the quality and quantity of educational provision for local young people and deliver one of the key priorities as specified in TTV3. In this respect the development will deliver wider strategic objectives. The Devon County Council Education Infrastructure Plan has made a commitment to delivering increased SEN (Special Educational Needs) provision to meet the increasing demand following on from the SEN Strategic Review completed and published in 2017-18 which highlighted the need to reduce the reliance on the independent school sector and address a widespread shortfall for SEMH /ASC (Autistic Spectrum Condition) learners.


The use proposed will be a generator of employment, both in terms of the construction and long term with the staff required to run such a facility, with higher pupil to staff ratios and in addition to the economic benefits will carry with it clear community benefits for the local area at a sustainable location that is well connected with the wider area. It is noted that since the Outline permission has been granted the office/business landscape has undergone significant structural changes with the move towards remote homeworking. In the years since outline permission was granted there has been no reserved matters applications coming forward for office or other employment development at this site. The proposal will secure investment for the Town and make a positive contribution to its ongoing regeneration.


The Ivybridge Neighbourhood Plan (INP) is also part of the Development Plan and Policy INP5 (Community Facilities) is relevant given that the application proposes a school. INP5 prioritises provision or enhancement of community facilities for young people and the proposal is therefore considered to comply with INP5


Taking the above into consideration the use proposed as part of this application is considered to be in line with the strategic spatial vision of the Development Plan and is acceptable in principle and in accordance with Policies SPT1, SPT2, TTV6, TTV3 and DEV14 of the JLP and INP5 of the INP.




The policies of the JLP promote high standards of design across the plan area as a means of achieving successful places. Policy DEV20 in particular recognises the importance of design in contributing to townscape and landscape and under this policy the quality of the built environment should be protected and improved wherever possible. Design solutions must be resilient to their local context and have proper regard to the pattern of local development and the wider development context but also achieving a good quality of place through good utilisation of existing assets such as trees and landscape features. Design should also take cognisance of safety and reduce opportunities for crime and fear of crime and also repair and rectify damaged environments and enhance the appearance of gateway locations into the main towns.


The proposal is in outline at this stage and the visual impact and detailed design elements including the layout and elevations would need to be carefully considered at the reserved matters stage should permission be granted. At this stage whilst in close proximity to the National Park and at a relatively prominent gateway into the town, there is an opportunity to achieve a design that can integrate well into the local context. Integral to this would be tree retention supplemented by quality landscaping and a high quality design utilising appropriate materials that enhance the local context and reinforce local distinctiveness. The concerns of some neighbours relating to the size and massing of a 2 storey building is noted and given that the site is vacant there will undoubtedly be an impact on the streetscene. However, it is considered that in principle, if set back sufficiently from the site frontage, there is potential for the established trees to provide good screening and for this to be bolstered by additional planting combined with a quality design the development will provide be similar in height to the houses forming part of the new development in this area and would be a welcome enhancement. It should also be noted that the indicative layout of the approved development on this site envisaged a much more dense and active frontage than what is proposed indicatively here.


Taking the above into account, and subject to condition requiring a detailed design to be submitted as part of a reserved matters application, it is considered that the proposal complies in principle with Policy DEV20.


Neighbour Amenity:


Policy DEV1 of the JLP protects health and amenity by ensuring that development does not cause any adverse impact on residents. Issues such as overshadowing, privacy and noise from development, amongst others, are considered. Policy DEV2 states that development should avoid any harmful impacts on items such as soil, air, water or noise pollution. The closest residential properties are to the east and west. A noise impact assessment was submitted in support of the application which found that, subject to a condition restricting plant associated with any mechanical ventilation, the development could be accommodated without an adverse impact. A condition restricting external lighting is added in the interests of residents. Overshadowing and overlooking issues would require to be considered further at the reserved matters stage once a detailed design has been arrived at, however it is considered that the impact in this regard could be minimised to an acceptable level because of the size of the site. Accordingly the proposal in principle does not conflict with policy DEV1 of the JLP.




Policy DEV29 of the JLP requires consideration of the impact of developments on the wider transport network, and require safe traffic movements and vehicular access to and from the site. In addition issues such as parking provision and what the local infrastructure needs are should be considered alongside what could be done to mitigate any adverse impact on the local highways. Policy INP7 (Traffic and Movement) of the Ivybridge Neighbourhood Plan also applies which requires appropriate assessment of transportation impacts.


DCC Highways have confirmed that they can secure the necessary financial contribution towards a Toucan Crossing from the applicant, who is also DCC, without the need for a legal agreement in this instance. An internal agreement between the relevant departments is in place to secure this contribution. In addition further conditions can be attached to ensure that any potential adverse impacts can be mitigated such as a construction management plan to be submitted and agreed with the LPA and that a school travel plan is also submitted and agreed with LPA and adhered to for the lifetime of the development. On this basis Highways would have no objection and it is considered that the proposal could be accommodated within the site in principle at this stage.  Any potential road safety concerns will be considered in further detail at the reserved matters stage as access is one of the reserved matters. As such the proposal is considered to accord in principle with DEV29 of the JLP.




Policy DEV26 requires developments to support the protection, conservation, enhancement and restoration of biodiversity and geodiversity across the plan area. The impact of development on protected species and their habitats is an important consideration along with the ability of proposals to achieve a measurable biodiversity net gain.


The development has been accompanied by an ecology survey which has found no adverse impact on protected species and which contains recommendations to mitigate the impact during construction and achieve a biodiversity net gain within the site. The biodiversity net gain will be achieved by the retention and enhancement of existing habitats supplemented by additional planting and the incorporation of features that will encourage increased biodiversity into the design. It is considered that sufficient information has been submitted to demonstrate that the development will not have an adverse impact on protected species. As such, subject to a condition that the recommendations of the ecology survey are adhered to, and a biodiversity net gain is successfully delivered, the proposal is considered to be in compliance with DEV26.





Policy DEV35 (Managing Flood Risk and Water Quality Impacts) of the JLP requires for consideration of the wider implications of surface water and foul drainage arising from new development and for proposals to incorporate sustainable water management measures. In terms of surface water, the site is in zone 1 (low risk) but falls within a critical drainage area. A Flood Risk Assessment was submitted which shows low risk of flooding and potential options for treatment of SUDS. Adjacent sites use infiltration and the applicant would seek to employ a similar strategy, the finer details of which will be considered further at the reserved matters application. Confirmation has been submitted that there is capacity to accommodate foul drainage and a condition will secure further details for the reserved matters stage should outline permission be granted. The flood authority have lifted their objection and there would be scope to provide onsite attenuation if required at the reserved matters stage. A condition can therefore secure full details and for the drainage design to comply with the criteria of the relevant policy.  As such the proposal accords with Policy DEV35 of the JLP.


Low Carbon Development


The JLP supports the transition to a low carbon future with DEV32 requiring developments to identify opportunities to minimise the use of natural resources and reduce the energy load as a means of combating the climate crisis. A carbon reduction statement has been submitted that demonstrates that the detailed design and layout will be heavily influenced by a drive towards reducing energy load, maximising controlled natural heating, cooling , lighting and reducing the heat loss area. Provision of renewable energy sources will be reviewed, along with choice of materials and ventilation that minimise energy loss. A condition is proposed to secure full details at the reserved matters stage. On this basis the proposal does not conflict with DEV32 of the JLP.




The development is considered to accord with the spatial strategy of the JLP, the relevant Neighbourhood Plan Policy and the guidance set out in the National Planning Policy Framework as it will provide a valuable community resource and can be integrated in such a way, subject to conditions, without any adverse impact. On this basis it is recommended conditional planning permission be granted.


Other Matters:


This application has been considered in accordance with Section 38 of the Planning & Compulsory Purchase Act 2004


Planning Policy


Relevant policy framework


Section 70 of the 1990 Town and Country Planning Act requires that regard be had to the development plan, any local finance and any other material considerations. Section 38(6) of the 2004 Planning and Compensation Act requires that applications are to be determined in accordance with the development plan unless material considerations indicate otherwise.  For the purposes of decision making, as of March 26th 2019, the Plymouth & South West Devon Joint Local Plan 2014 - 2034 is now part of the development plan for Plymouth City Council, South Hams District Council and West Devon Borough Council (other than parts of South Hams and West Devon within Dartmoor National Park).


On 26 March 2019 of the Plymouth & South West Devon Joint Local Plan was adopted by all three of the component authorities. Following adoption, the three authorities jointly notified the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG)* of their choice to monitor the Housing Requirement at the whole plan level. This is for the purposes of the Housing Delivery Test (HDT) and the 5 Year Housing Land Supply assessment.  A letter from MHCLG to the Authorities was received on 13 May 2019 confirming the change.

On 13th January 2021 MHCLG published the HDT 2020 measurement.  This confirmed the Plymouth. South Hams and West Devon’s joint HDT measurement as 144% and the consequences are “None”.


Therefore a 5% buffer is applied for the purposes of calculating a 5 year land supply at a whole plan level. When applying the 5% buffer, the combined authorities can demonstrate a 5-year land supply of 5.8 years at end March 2021 (the 2021 Monitoring Point). This is set out in the Plymouth, South Hams & West Devon Local Planning Authorities’ Housing Position Statement 2021 (published 12th November 2021).


[*now known as Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities]


The relevant development plan policies are set out below:


The Plymouth & South West Devon Joint Local Plan was adopted by South Hams District Council on March 21st 2019 and West Devon Borough Council on March 26th 2019.


SPT1 Delivering sustainable development

SPT2 Sustainable linked neighbourhoods and sustainable rural communities

TTV1 Prioritising growth through a hierarchy of sustainable settlements

TTV2 Delivering sustainable development in the Thriving Towns and Villages Policy Area

TTV3 Strategic infrastructure measures for the Main Towns

TTV6 East of Ivybridge

DEV1 Protecting health and amenity

DEV2 Air, water, soil, noise, land and light

DEV14 Maintaining a flexible mix of employment sites

DEV19 Provisions for local employment and skills

DEV20 Place shaping and the quality of the built environment

DEV26 Protecting and enhancing biodiversity and geological conservation

DEV28 Trees, woodlands and hedgerows

DEV29 Specific provisions relating to transport

DEV31 Waste management

DEV32 Delivering low carbon development

DEV33 Renewable and low carbon energy (including heat)

DEV35 Managing flood risk and Water Quality Impacts


Neighbourhood Plan


The Ivybridge Neighbourhood Plan was adopted in December 2017 and is a material consideration for this application. As detailed above the proposal is considered to comply with the relevant policy in the Neighbourhood Plan.


Considerations under Human Rights Act 1998 and Equalities Act 2010


The provisions of the Human Rights Act 1998 and Equalities Act 2010 have been taken into account in reaching the recommendation contained in this report.