Chairman Brian Lamb explained how the meeting would be run; as a member of the Sailing Club he is deemed to have a personal interest in the matter, so he would be vacating the Chair and someone else would take over. Cllr Mike Benson also declared an interest.
Cllr Lamb then took the committee through the planning application, which was nearly 900 pages long. He then vacated the chair and the Plans Vice-Chairman was invited to run the meeting, but she declined. The Parish Chairman, Cllr Hilary Boot-Handford was voted in as Chairman for this particular application.
Cllr Boot-Handford explained that this was not a public meeting, but after short presentations from the Hub Club and The Friends of Weir Quay there would be an opportunity for parishioners to air their views – for three minutes each.
Mr Street spoke on behalf of the Hub Club and pointed out that the Club were not trying to increase membership or the amount of traffic on the lanes.
Mrs Mary Logan, on behalf of Friends of Weir Quay, said that they had conducted a survey in the Peninsula and 75% of the people who visited were not sailors. However, the Ferret, for one, had not been consulted on this survey, so it could be considered inconclusive.
After these presentations, Mrs Patterson was first to speak and professed to ‘speak on behalf of the parish’ and was against the planning application.
Dr Frances Howard put up a good case on behalf of the glow worms. She had concerns about the destruction of their habitat and also the intrusion of lights in the area. There should be conditions on the use of lighting in the area and new screening should be erected.
Next to speak was Pete Silcox, who pointed out that the ground contamination was not as bad as some people were making out.
Sue Hamley asked if approval of these plans would lead to increased development at Weir Quay. Unfortunately, like a few other people, she got the Hub Club confused with the boatyard and the Floating Classroom and lumped the two together.
John Hilson was keen to propose a solution: the original clubhouse, the barn, was ideal, but the new development was unacceptable and would have a huge impact visually. Why was there no dialogue between the Hub Club and the Cleave Estate to purchase the barn? Perhaps the Parish Council could mediate between the two parties?
One of the trustees of the Club, Bob Turner, told the audience that all the members were local people and that both the sailing and gig clubs provided excellent facilities and tuition. If the proposal was denied, then both clubs would close. He also pointed out that it was not on the Cleave Estate’s agenda to sell the barn. He earnestly pleaded that the plan should not be thrown out.
Borough Councillor Robin Musgrave was next to speak. He had been canvassed by both sides, but pointed out that these facilities are necessary and the clubs will not get any bigger.
Cllr Lamb also said that the Cleave Estate will not sell and the other 11 sites that were proposed were not acceptable. The Hub Club has done everything possible to take on board residents’ concerns after the public meetings. But, he said, the facilities for the children are most important. Without a home the clubs will die.
Elizabeth Lenton, a trustee of the Cleave Estate, stated quite categorically that the barn has never been for sale and never will be, as the family has plans for it. Despite the rumours, the Estate has had a good relationship with the clubs over the years. She told the meeting that, having carefully studied the plans, her mother (who would be nearest to the new development) and the Estate would be happy to have the Club as a neighbour.
Several other people made points, before the Chairman closed on comments and asked the Parish Clerk to read two letters received: one was against the development and the other for it.
The Chairman told the meeting that normally the committee would discuss the plans and then vote on them. She then proposed that, with the approval of the committee, the Plans committee would, because of the split in the community, defer any decision and request that West Devon Borough Council Planning department hold a site visit.
This proposal was put to the committee and it was passed as follows: 4 For, 1 Against and two members ineligible to vote because of interest.
The application will be referred back to WDBC for a site visit.