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21.5.12 - The South Hams Society supports our application to develop the Centre.

The Society e-mailed SHDC as follows on 21/5/12:

The South Hams Society supports this proposal for the reasons below.

There is a great and increasing need in our urbanised society for young people to have opportunities to learn and practise rural crafts and study natural history. The High Nature Centre is to provide such opportunities.

It is particularly important to successful operation that these opportunities should be provided in a form and style which young people find attractive. Again the form of the Centre provides an environment appreciated by the young for its ambience and low cost.

It seems altogether appropriate that natural history studies should be based in the South Hams with its diverse and rich natural environment and its strong community of natural scientists, natural history institutions such as the Slapton Field Centre and natural history societies.

It also seems entirely appropriate that rural crafts should be taught and practised in the South Devon AONB where the landscape has been formed by earlier generations of farmers and land owners using these crafts as an alternative to more recent industrialised farming methods which have made inroads into the traditional landscape.

Although there must be an increase in traffic the transport plan and the ethos of the staff and visitors carried out will reduce its volume compared with other activities in this area such as the Gara Rock development. The applicants who will be running the Centre will need to be aware of potential noise problems and it may be appropriate to control this by suitable conditions on the approval.

Policy CS 13 in the adopted South Hams Core Strategy supports rural development where it is compatible with its location and causes no harm to to the surrounding landscape. This development is sustainable and the Kingsbridge Information Centre provides evidence of the demand for the facilities it provides. It diversifies the rural economy and with careful landscaping - again controlled by conditions on the approval - can respect the character of the setting.

The Society urges the District Council to increase the opportunities to use the rural landscape creatively by approving this application.

John Chalmers
South Hams Society
9 Croft Road
Salcombe TQ8 8DZ