A link to the DDC planning portal is here so you don’t need to google it – have a look, make your own mind up and have your say! The number of objections really do matter – Please don’t forget – Ignore the date on the portal – You can carry on making objections until the planning committee and that wont be happening any time soon – watch this space! – but Don’t leave it too long please
You have missed the popular exhibition 12th & 19th Sept. Assistance was provided. Pens, paper, envelopes, access to the internet – weapon of your choice!
A link to the DDC planning portal is here so you don’t need to google it) have a look, make your own mind up and have your say! The number of objections really do matter – Please don’t forget – Ignore the date on the portal – end of Sept is good – Go for it.
Alternatively come along to the exhibition. Assistance will be provided. Pens, paper, envelopes, access to the internet – choose your weapon!
There are costs associated with this campaign. Despite a lot of good will and volunteering. Thank you those delivering leaflets – and it is quite a challenge finding letter boxes in our village, thank you Village Hall for allowing us to put on the exhibition for free. But we do need to pay for the printing of our leaflets, the banners, the panels, the posters and this time we are paying for professional advice. It is too important not to. Some of this is coming from your village precept. Your council unanimously believe the proven number of objections and the feeling within the village warrant this expenditure. Some funds are coming from donations. We have set up a crowd funding page to make this easy, if you wish to, (after you have objected)
Your Parish Council has been trying, so far without without success, to enter into negotiations with the Bay Trust to buy the field. We will continue with these efforts.
You can contact us via our special email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Following on are the two articles from the village magazine – June and July. – There is a bit of repetition but there is also some useful history.
As anticipated, following on from the developer’s consultation, which we covered in last month’s parish magazine, a full planning application has now been made to erect 14 dwellings on Glebe Field.
The Bay Trust are still the owners of the field, having acquired it when the original purchaser, St Margaret’s Bay Trust, was dissolved.
The DDC Planning Ref number is 21/00936 and is described as:
‘Erection of a three-storey building comprising 7no. self-contained flats, 4no. detached dwellings and 3no. terrace dwellings, new vehicle access, turning head, parking and landscaping | Land To The South East Of 1-9 St Georges Place Reach Road St Margarets At Cliffe CT15 6HU’
Your Parish Council, reflecting the proven views of residents in 2016, and more recently those in the developer’s 9-day online consultation, (a requirement of the application), strongly opposes this application and would like to see this amenity returned to public use.
Over 300 people responded to the Developers consultation and 90% felt ‘very negatively’ about it with 231 leaving comments. Important though this was, if you want your views to count, please still make an objection to the application – link above – Do not worry about the 6th August consultation date, comments will be accepted right up to the date of the meeting which we don’t expect until October at the earliest (Watch this space!)
Why is the Glebe Field so important?
This is an important designated open space in the centre of the village, opposite the village hall and used over generations for village events. This was the outside area for our village Scouts, (permission had been given) safely close to its Scout Hut and sorely missed by them now. Who doesn’t want to see the return of the fetes, displays, and shows back where they have always been and where they belong? Do you remember the dog shows, dance displays, music and egg & spoon races over the ages and how the kids adored playing hide and seek (man-hunt) whilst in Beavers, Cubs or Scouts?
This proposed housing development could also have critical consequences on the viability of our hall – the centre of our community – in removing most of the parking spaces hirers have used for years along St George’s Place and reducing its available parking to the limited space in its small, dedicated carpark. When the new hall was built in 2000 the St Margaret’s Bay Trust originally allowed the hall use of Glebe Field, as overspill parking. A privilege the hall no longer enjoys.
Attempts to develop the site have been made before. Mr Fred Cleary, Chairman of the then St Margaret’s Bay Trust, was our knight in shining armour, as he states in this very magazine nearly fifty years ago.
‘The Trust has purchased the Glebe land adjoining the Parish Hall and the Vicarage. This land was likely to be built on and the Trustees felt that any development here must inevitably have a
deleterious effect upon the hall and the Vicarage. This land is now preserved for ever and the Trustees have let the land to the Church Council at a nominal rental.’ 
5 years ago, a planning application to build 24 dwellings, later reduced to 14 was submitted by the same organisations as today. This time it was the Scout group who took up the sword as they successfully applied to DDC to have the site listed as an Asset of Community Value (ACV). The Bay Trust failed in its attempt to overturn the ACV despite bringing in a Counsel from a London Chambers to fight the case. The planning application was quietly withdrawn but the land remained closed and padlocked to the public with warning signs in place.
The ACV expired last year as the land was not/could not be used recently by the community.
What are we doing?
Your Parish Council want to get this amenity returned to the community. We voted unanimously last week to put aside money to fight this application This will run alongside a soon to be announced crowd funding initiative. This will be used to engage a planning consultant, obtain legal advice, to lobby the decision makers and to ensure effective persuasive communication to all stakeholders.
A working party has been formed made up of the Parish Council, members of the Save Glebe Field group and others with appropriate skills to put together a case and campaign to stop the development and return the field to community use.
If you feel passionate and want to be part of this important community initiative, leave a message on our Parish council number below or send an email.
We intend to:
- Do a leaflet drop to everyone in the village.
- Have a walk-in display at the Village Hall for you to come and see what’s proposed and how you can have your say
- There will be a petition.
- There will be press releases and communication with the press.
- We have set up a Just Giving crowdfunding campaign to help contribute towards our quest. We need funds for professional advice, an exhibition, leaflet and events. Please help if you can. Link below!
What can you do?
We need your help – Community participation is key to get this planning application rejected. The planner will make a strong recommendation in a report, but the decision will be made by the DDC councillors on the planning committee at a special meeting. The number of objections will influence both the planner and the councillors. There were over 150 in 2016, let’s try and beat that this time.
The Parish Council have negotiated an extension to their consultation period to 14th Sept. The formal public consultation period officially still finishes on the 6th August, however comments should be accepted right up to the date of the meeting, but more usefully up to when the report is finalised.
Once we get clearer guidance on deadlines and the key factors that can affect the decision, we will let you know through the village Facebook sites and other means. You may wish to let your views known now or to wait for more advice on the most effective response but please don’t forget!
Comment online on the council website or in writing, via post quoting the reference 21/00936 to the planning officer Mrs Lucinda Roach, White Cliffs Business Park, Whitefield, Dover CT16 3PJ
What can you say?
At this stage we believe our most important defence is Glebefield’s DDC designated “Open Space” status (this is separate to the ACV) This means there are other areas in the village which DDC has already identified through its Local Plan for housing which should be built on first and this area is protected as a green open space. The applicant is arguing that St Margarets has enough green space and this development would be just a little bit of “in-filling!” What do you think?
A Brief History of Glebe Field
Glebe Field, opposite the village hall, was part of land in the village originally owned by the Church until it was bought by the St Margaret’s Bay Trust in 1972 with the expressed intention of protecting it from development. It has been used for community activities since at least 1900, was the site of the village fete from the 1960’s, regularly used by the village Scouts for decades, and from 2000-2015 provided overflow parking for the village hall. Since 2016 the field has been closed to the community by the current owners, The Bay Trust. The St Margaret’s Scouts registered it as an Asset of Community Value in 2015 but that has now expired. A planning application to build 14 dwellings on the site was made and then withdrawn in 2016.It received over 150 objections from residents.
What was the St Margaret’s Bay Trust?
The St Margaret’s Bay Trust (SMBT) 1970-2011
The ‘founding charity’ for The Bay Trust, the St Margaret’s Bay Trust, was set up in 1970 by FE Cleary (FEC) a wealthy London developer. The objectives of the SMBT were centered on this village.. The aims of the SMBT expressed in its charity registration were:
‘to improve and preserve the physical environment of the Parish of St Margaret’s at Cliffe by the purchase of land and property, the planting of trees, the provision of seats and such other activities which will maintain the character of the village’
1972: Purchase of Glebe Field
In 1972 SMBT bought the Glebe field to protect it from development.
In April 1972 FEC wrote the following in the Parish Magasine
‘The Trust has purchased the Glebe land adjoining the Parish Hall and the Vicarage. This land was likely to be built on and the Trustees felt that any development here must inevitably have a deleterious effect upon the hall and the Vicarage. This land is now preserved for ever and the Trustees have let the land to the Church Council at a nominal rental.’ 
This intention to protect the land is further supported by a quote from FEC’s autobiography,
‘The Trust’s next move was to buy the Glebe land adjoining the church. Town Planning consent had already been given for houses (to the Church) but we felt that we could protect it and provide a safe space for recreation close to the Vicarage.’
2009/11: Creation of The Bay Trust and deregistering of the St Margaret’s Bay Trust
In May 2009 the St Margaret’s Bay Trust (SMBT) and the newly formed Bay Trust merged and the SMBT was de- registered by the Charity Commission in 2011. All the property originally owned by the SMBT passed to the new Bay Trust, including Glebe Field, and much of this was now classified as investment property which could be used to further the objectives of the Bay Trust. Subsequently, properties like the Old School, the Sea Street Chapel and the Coastguard Cottages have been sold.
The current Bay Trust is an environmental and educational charity and not principally, as its predecessor was, a charity for the improvement and preservation of the village. The current objectives of the Bay Trust, seen below, registered with the Charity Commission. are different to those of the original SMBT.
‘To promote and provide for education and science in the United Kingdom and elsewhere, in particular but not by way of limitation in the fields of environmental protection, preservation and conservation; and to promote for the public benefit the preservation of the natural beauty, flora and fauna of St. Margaret’s-at-Cliffe and such other areas as the trustees shall from time to time determine.’
 St Margaret’s at Cliffe Parish Magazine April 1972
 I’ll Do It Yesterday’ an autobiography by F E Cleary. 1979
 Source: Charities Commission website
From Julys Parish Mag ———————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-
Your Parish Council does not want and has never wanted a housing development on Glebe Field. It is a designated green space for use by the community and has been used so for many generations. We want this to be rekindled. Do you?
Yesterday 23rd June a very rushed and non-inclusive (web based) consultation was launched proposing 14 new homes on Glebe Field, the meadow opposite the Village Hall. Herewith the community is consulted prior to a planning application! A cynic could say this was a tick box exercise. The Parish Council, on reflection last night, believes that a large response would be beneficial. The kind people on the Village mag are squeezing this article in today, in the hope that we can reach people who don’t use Facebook and they too can have their say before the 2nd July deadline.
Many of you remember the 2016 application. This application was withdrawn because the Scouts were able to designate Glebe Field as an Asset of Community Value (ACV) They went to the High Court. This has now expired and cannot be renewed as the field has not been used by the community in recent years -It is fenced off.
The battle was postponed, we didn’t win, the fight starts again now! Please don’t leave it to us or DDC. The only way to stop this development will be by huge mass village involvement. All of Us.
A quote from a previous Parish Mag article “ We have written formally to the Bay Trust asking if they would consider selling the Glebe Field to the village. This area is designated by Dover District Council as a green site and so would be difficult to get permission to build on. The Bay Trust is a charity with a mission to improve lives through outdoor learning and connections with nature. Historically this was a St Margaret’s charity. Wouldn’t it be great to have the field back for the community? Who else remembers the fayres, the dancing and the egg and spoon race in the field opposite the village hall? I would love to see this a win for the community and a win for the Trust in line with their mission statement.”
On 5th June we received an email from their Agent, informing us that a planning application would be made to ascertain its proper market value. There have been no discussions. We have no reason to believe that the building will not take place if permission were granted.
To add your opinions to the consultation, go to: https://www.glebefield.site/ I (no longer online)
If you click on “share your views” you can state how you feel about the proposal for new homes on this site. Be warned, when it comes to the comment box you only get about one line. It is very quick.
Summary: 14 homes – 50% over 4 bedrooms (no housing need), tall imposing 3 storey buildings. (effect on streeet scene) and just think of the implications for the Village Hall.
The real opportunity to have your say will be when it goes to planning. Those that want to be prepared can look at 16/01028 on the planning portal. There will be more details in the next magazine, on Facebook and we are setting up a new page on our website (this is it) Save-Glebe-Field and the link will be on our homepage.