Updated 15th May 23
Planning Application for housing development has been REFUSED!
Read the Planner’s reasons here – 21_00936-DECISION_NOTICE-2410368
2 Years* fighting this application and 507 community objections – this must be a record – St Margaret’s be proud!
* 7 years since the original application was submitted.
15th May 2023
A Planning application to build
14 8 homes on Glebe Field has been submitted and refused. The Parish Council strongly object and are working with the Save Glebe Field Community Group to return this field to community use. Village participation is key to our success. Please click here for more information
Many villagers feel very strongly that they are being deprived of their bequeathed asset, they remember the village fetes, the scout activities, the dog shows and the bands that played here, they are concerned about the future viability of the village hall and do not understand how an environmental charity can cut down trees to build predominantly large properties that our community does not need. (Not identified in 2011 housing survey or current Dover Plan)
Updated 13th May 23 – Asset of Community Value – decision upheld
Glebe Field in St Margaret’s at Cliffe has been used for community activities for over a century. The Scouts successfully had the field listed as an asset of community value in 2015. The Bay Trust appealed unsuccessfully at the High Court at the time. In 2020 the designation expired, and as the Scout community had been unable to use the field over the previous five year period the Scouts were unsuccessful in getting a renewal.
Last November your Parish Council applied successfully to have this protective status reinstated. We argued there is a real chance for the Glebe Field to return to community use and highlighted the long length of time the field had been used by the community. The Bay Trust asked for the decision to be reviewed, disagreeing with the Parish Council’s claim the land has been used by the community for over a hundred years and stating it has only been used seven times in the past 25 years. The review process ultimately determined the property meets the requirements set out in the Localism Act 2011 and will remain on the list of Assets of Community Value.
Sadly, The Bay Trust, stated in their appeal they will continue to proceed with their request to redevelop the site for housing which is within their rights, so please do ensure you add any comments to the DDC Planning Portal if you have not done so already. You can find the full decision notice here
Updated 13th March 23 21/00936
The Parish Council have been advised that this application is being re-advertised – We are assured that this is due to a technical procedural issue only. The amended scheme has not changed. It is just yet another delay! It appears that the applicant who was trading as East Kent Sustainable Homes is not using a limited company – International Haus ltd.
Updated 14th Feb 23
Your Parish Council agreed it’s formal objection at it’s meeting on 13th Feb and it is already on the Planning portal.
We reviewed the 24 documents, some quite lengthy, from the 30 th December and the 3 extra from the 26th January, including the rather incendiary allegations in the agent’s response. We have taken advice and limit our response to facts and material planning considerations only. It is here Final draft of Parish Council objections to 21 00936
We have also been made aware of a letter from a local accountant disputing the financial claims made by the applicant and publish it here too Financial analysis
The Bay Trust have modified their submission and it was re advertised 14th Jan 23. They still wish to develop this land despite the 408 objections but are now asking for 8 dwellings rather than 14 and siting them in the middle of the field. The Parish Council objects strongly to any development on this land as explained below.
Latest leaflet – January 2023 – hardcopies to be found in all local outlets.
I have objected already should I do it again?
Enough People have objected already – why should I?
YES – Please do! – Otherwise the applicant could say that this latest proposal is acceptable as it has not caused the uproar of the first application.
You may just wish to refer to your previous objection empathising something particular, you may wish to add something further, complain about this long drawn out process, you might think this new proposal is even uglier – just get it off your chest! Tell it how you see it but there are some ideas in the leaflet above.
The consultation end date states 10th Feb but they will consider later comments – just don’t procrastinate too long. NOW
The history and the explanations below are still valid.
A link to the DDC planning portal is here 21/00936 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
Updated 14th Nov 22
DDC have awarded the field Asset of Community Value Status. This was requested by the Parish Council. There is a review period so watch this space.
This does not mean that the field can be immediately returned to community use. it is however an important material consideration for Planning and paves the way for a community group potentially buying the field in future.
The following is leaflet was referring to the 2021 application. Spot the changes….
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: email@example.com
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.
The official line “The current objections would stand following the re-consultation on the revised scheme and there is no need to resend in the same objection, though if objectors would like to comment on specific elements of the revised scheme they should send in a further comment/objection.”