• Issue 37

  • Jun 2018

The Source

Newts delay Ed Sheeran’s Chapel Plans

Ed Sheeran, the 27 year old singer-songwriter famed for hits such as Shape of You and Castle on the Hill, has submitted a planning application to Suffolk Coastal District Council for a Saxon-style chapel on his land in East Anglia.

Having recently announced his engagement to long term beau Cherry Seaborn, it seems any plans the pair had to marry in the chapel must be postponed until the local Great Crested Newt population are sufficiently dealt with.

It is illegal under European law to harm or disturb the animals or obstruct access to areas in which they live and breed. Following an objection from Suffolk Wildlife Trust that said there were records of Great Crested Newts in the area in 2015 and that the ponds within the site’s boundary could be potential breeding sites for the newts, the star has had to commission experts to look for them.

Paul Smith of Apex Planning Consultants has stated, ‘The applicant had responded promptly to this matter and has also commissioned an appropriate survey that will identify the presence of Great Crested Newts or otherwise, propose mitigation measures as appropriate and recommend measures to enhance biodiversity.’ At the time of submission, Ed was not aware of the historical presence of newts and certainly did not believe any were residing in the ponds.

Other objections included concerns from local residents that the chapel will attract celeb hunters and the media whilst also being a blot on the landscape. However, the applicant believes that this only demonstrates why Ed Sheeran should be able to have a private chapel for non-denominations contemplation.

Mr Smith went on to state that ‘it is every person’s right to be able to have a place of retreat for contemplation and prayer, for religious observance, celebration of key life and family milestones, marriages, christenings and so forth.”

This is not the first time Ed Sheeran’s planning applications have faced objection. In December 2016, Suffolk Coastal refused permission for a ‘1.5 storey cart lodge with ancillary car parking’ after it was deemed it was ‘creeping domestication and would have an adverse impact on the character and appearance of the countryside.’ This decision was later overturned at appeal and permission was granted in February 2017.