Whichford and Ascott are beautiful villages. We all know just how lucky we are to live here. We all know too that it’s vital to ensure our tranquil way of life is protected and nurtured, now and into the future. It’s natural our community will change over time. We’re not against change and we are very supportive of all the local businesses that we are lucky to have. We’re passionate about protecting our villages against proposals which could leave Whichford and Ascott open to irreversible harm..
The Covenants are ready to be signed and have been agreed by the Birtwells lawyers. We are only awaiting approval from the Sally and Andy's Mortgage company. However, no news has been forthcoming despite them having the details since May.
As most people in the community know, Andy and Sally Birtwell have been running two businesses at Holycombe for some years and have applied for planning permission in respect of the House and the Campsite in order to legitimise those activities. Many people support this because currently Andy and Sally have imposed voluntary restrictions on how they run their activities which has meant it has been run quietly over the last two years with no complaints. However, what Andy and Sally have actually applied for far exceeds what they are currently doing. So - if the business is SOLD to a NEW commercial owner, they will seek to maximise the return on their investment and exploit the commercial planning permission that the Birtwells will have obtained. There is no obligation to place the same voluntary restrictions on the site - so NOISE, LARGE GROUPS OF PEOPLE, ELECTRIC NOISE, NO CURFEW, 24/7 etc.
What's the problem?
But wasn't everything solved back in the pub meeting in January?
Yes and no. Since November 2016, the Birtwells agreed with their immediate neighbours that they would enter into covenants to ensure that now, and in the future, the activities carried on at Holycombe and the Campsite would be no more extensive than they are today. However, despite being close to agreement, they still haven't been signed. This means, if planning permission is granted in MAY, and the Birtwells pull out of negotiations on the Covenants, it leaves Whichford and Ascott open to an unknown future which could be the complete opposite of the tranquility we enjoy today.
But I like the Birtwells and what they are running. It's not bothering me at all.
Yes, but you need to ask yourself what is the worst case scenario? Will you still like that site when it's not being run by them, but by someone else with no voluntary restrictions as no Covenants were signed protecting the land? The prevailing wind carries the noise across the village. The site is currently very low key hence little noise. A new business owner would seek to maximise their investment and there would be nothing stopping them from doing this. The village would be powerless to stop them because in 2017, we supported a planing application without foresight and not fully understanding what was being asked for - supporting the now - but what about the future?
This website sets out information on the history of Holycombe, what the covenants cover, latest news and how to take action. We have asked the Birtwells to point out any factual errors in this website. We hope people will make their views known to us and ask questions through our contact page.
Now: A voluntary quiet Campsite and Holistic Centre
The Future? No noise restrictions and curfew, large groups, electronic music, camper vans. The options are unlimited