The Threat of Tomorrow with No Covenants agreed

What happens if planning permission is granted and NO Covenants are entered into?

Without the Covenants being entered into, planning permission would leave Whichford and Ascott open to irreversible harm.


Holycombe House and the Campsite can be operated as they are now – but there will be nothing to stop the activities being expanded and more people using the facilities. There could be increases in:


  • The number of classes, residential courses and other activities.

  • The numbers of campers and glampers.

There could be substantial intensification of the commercial use of Holycombe House and the Campsite. 

Any of this will result in significant increase in noise, traffic and levels of activity in the village. 

There will be no controls that anyone in the village can insist upon. Unless SDC imposes conditions on the planning consents, there will be no restrictions at all on how Holycombe House and the Campsite are operated.


Residential land is far more valuable if it is sold with planning permission to operate one or more commercial businesses rather than merely using it as a home with adjoining agricultural land. If the planning applications are granted, the Birtwells will be free to sell Holycombe House and the Campsite with commercial use which includes the ability to operate an hotel, a residential institution and a business such as a health centre, a training centre or a place of religious instruction.




Whilst we’re not suggesting this is the Birtwells’ intention, they would be unable to stop such development taking place once they’ve sold the site.


Unless SDC imposes stringent conditions, it will be possible for any new owners to operate as they wish.  Even if any new owners do not intensify the activities they will still – under the planning permission that the Birtwells are trying to obtain – be allowed to operate:


   1. Outdoor dining.  This could be on a 24 hour a day basis, seven days a week.  There is no limit on the number of people who can be dining at any one time,  so no control on the noise and what negative impact would this have on other local businesses such as The Straw Kitchen and The Norman Knight

   2. A Campsite.  Again on a 24 hour, seven days a week basis but in greater numbers than we have currently seen. Will the new owners agree to operate under the Birtwell’s current “quiet” restrictions?  Will they prevent children, big parties, music, dogs etc?  Or will they seek to maximise their commercial profit?

Unfortunately due to the timeline for the SDC planning process and the fact that the Covenants are not yet signed, although agreement on the wording has almost been reached, we need to take ACTION NOW.


Until the Covenants are signed, we need to oppose the applications for planning permission; without the Covenants, planning permission will threaten the longterm future of our village.