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Torwood appeal
By Neil Price, Co-Editor

December 8, 2009: Torwood - Planning Application Appeal Mr and Mrs Perry have appealed against the refusal from West Devon Borough Council's Planning Department ref their Application to demolish Torwood and build new.  The decision making body will take into account all representations sent originally - around 50 from Hatherleigh residents and all other information submitted then.  If anyone feels they would like to reiterate or add to their original comments, I'm sure it would do no harm.  Thank you all again.  The following is my representation regarding the appeal:- To now lodge an appeal, when the Planning Application was Refused under Delegated Powers, leads me to consider the possibility that the applicants are merely property developers with no wish to endear themselves to the local populace and no intention of becoming part of the community.  I suggest that the applicants intend to demolish a much-loved historical Hatherleigh landmark, build a monstrosity wholly unsuited to this quiet, timeless rural setting, sell up for a goodly profit and then move on to their next cynical act of environmental, social and historical vandalism. In short, I believe that the applicants interest to lie purely in fiscal gain, with no consideration whatsoever for this community or landscape. The Applicants reputation in Hatherleigh is already a very poor one.  I have had Hatherleigh based builders (who, believe me, need the money) say that they would outright refuse to work on such a build and for such people, based on their moral opposition to the destruction of Torwood House. English Heritage, were unable to list Torwood due to it not having sufficient architectural merit for it's period on a national level with so many other Victorian structures to consider.  However, English Heritage did make it VERY CLEAR that, and I quote from a letter dated 9th October 2009 written to me by Ms Heather Gordon, Heritage Production Co-ordinator, West, “Torwood House is certainly a locally important building….”. If this appeal is upheld, there WILL be protests from local residents, banners, elderly women on mobility scooters blocking the path of the demolition equipment – the Newspapers and TV stations will love it. Hatherleigh folk are generally very quiet people, but when someone arrives in our community and begins to mess with what we believe in, then passions rise.  The above-mentioned pensioner, who is unable to walk, is not a figment of my imagination, she told me, completely unprompted, that she would take this action.  Many others have said similar. The residents of Hatherleigh have spoken, simply what they as individuals believe.  During my conversations with people, of course, I encountered a few people who were ambivalent, but NOT ONE person agreed that this was a good thing for the local environment, for the community or for the aesthetics of this part of Hatherleigh. I would request that the decision-makers refer fully to the 50 or so INDIVIDUAL LETTERS OF OPPOSITION FROM HATHERLEIGH RESIDENTS, and others living further afield, to give attention to WEST DEVON BOROUGH COUNCIL'S OWN CONSERVATION REPORT, and to the OPPOSITION TO THIS APPLICATION BY THE HATHERLEIGH TOWN COUNCIL. I would also like to be assured that there will be a site visit.  It is impossible to visualise the devastating impact that this proposed demolition and new build would have on the landscape, without actually seeing the current building, the setting and the environs, and feeling the spirit of this place.the original story here



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