Save Rame Head From Development

by Jette Johst on behalf of Rame Protection Group

Save Rame Head From Development

by Jette Johst on behalf of Rame Protection Group
Jette Johst on behalf of Rame Protection Group
Case Owner
We are Rame Protection Group, a community group from diverse backgrounds united by our shared passion for protecting the Rame Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
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Jette Johst on behalf of Rame Protection Group
Case Owner
We are Rame Protection Group, a community group from diverse backgrounds united by our shared passion for protecting the Rame Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Pledge now

This case is raising funds for its stretch target. Your pledge will be collected within the next 24-48 hours (and it only takes two minutes to pledge!)

Latest: May 23, 2021

High Court action successful!

Judgment has now been handed down in the judicial review brought by the Rame Protection Group (RPG) to challenge the decision by Cornwall Council to grant planning approval for a large dwelling on a …

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Our case

Rame Head, one of the most iconic headlands in Cornwall, is hugely valued by locals and visitors alike for its breath-taking scenery and tranquillity. The Covid-19 pandemic has thrown into stark relief just how much we value the few unspoilt locations we still have in the UK. They are our refuges and the mental health, happiness and well-being of huge numbers of people are dependent on continued access to these special places.

Although many of us thought it inconceivable, on 17th August 2020 Cornwall Council granted planning approval by 7 votes to 6 for an agricultural dwelling. The plans show a large modern house with 27 windows, a large terrace and double garage - certainly not a normal agricultural dwelling. It is in a green field site within the Rame Head Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) (PA20/03747). 

This was despite expert advice, including from their own Principal Planning Officer, the Planning Officer of the Cornish Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and more than 135 local objectors.

There is widespread anger, both at this decision and the way it was taken. A petition calling for Cornwall Council to reverse the decision has been signed by more than 1,900 people in less than a week ( ).

Who are we and why are we crowdfunding?

The Rame Protection Group (formerly the Rame Head Defence Group) has been actively campaigning against this development since the outset. Our group is now pursuing a Judicial Review of the decision-making process at the Cornwall Council planning meeting. This is the only means we now have of contesting this decision, which we believe sets a dangerous precedent for further development within the AONB.

We have appointed Richard Buxton Solicitors - who have extensive experience with judicial review cases within AONBs - to act on our behalf. Our claim is that Cornwall Council failed to provide sufficient reasons for not following their own planning officer’s recommendation, and that their claim that the development would not harm the AONB has not been justified. According to policy, development in AONBs should only be permitted in exceptional circumstances which are undeniably in the public interest. We, and the more than 1,800 signatories to the petition, believe this is clearly not the case.

The Judicial Review process

Judicial reviews proceed in stages. In the first phase, our lawyers will be requesting Cornwall Council to withdraw their planning permission, based on the reasons we and they have identified. If they do not agree, we will instruct our legal team to submit the case to a judge, who will decide if it proceeds to a full court hearing. We have been told to budget £7,500 for these steps, which would cover the costs for our legal team to review the case, draft the grounds for judicial review, send the initial letter to Cornwall Council, as well as the first round of court fees. If the judge decides the case merits a full court hearing we will be seeking to raise further funds.

In judicial review cases the losing side pays the legal costs of the victor, which could be prohibitively expensive. We will be applying for a costs cap which would mean that, if we were to lose the case, our costs for the other side's legal fees would be capped at £5,000 but we would still have to meet the fees on our side. We are very confident of winning a JR.

If the planning approval is quashed by the courts, the most likely outcome is that the application process will take place again, including Cornwall Council's planning meeting. In this case, we are confident of securing a better outcome, given the public outcry the case has attracted, the narrow majority vote in the meeting and the flaws in the decision-making process.

Our call for action

This is where we turn to you. We’ve been overwhelmed by the passion, the public outcry and the messages of support we’ve received in the wake of the decision, and we have already had many informal offers of donations. In order to formally progress this case swift action is needed. We need to raise the initial £7,500 as soon as possible and well before the 28th September (when the 6 week window for JR applications will expire).

This is now the only means we have to fight this decision and protect our precious AONB for future generations. If we don’t reach our initial target of £7,500 then all pledges will be returned to donors, and the development will proceed without challenge.

PLEASE circulate this campaign as widely as you can, and many thanks in advance for your generosity in helping to protect our precious AONB. 


Documents related to the planning application:

The case officer's recommendation for refusal:

A full transcript of Cornwall Council's East Sub-Area Planning Committee meeting on 17th August 2020, where councillors voted on the application:

Draft minutes from the planning committee meeting:

Contact us & join our mailing list at

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Update 12

Jette Johst on behalf of Rame Protection Group

May 23, 2021

High Court action successful!

Judgment has now been handed down in the judicial review brought by the Rame Protection Group (RPG) to challenge the decision by Cornwall Council to grant planning approval for a large dwelling on a green-field site on a prominent ridge within the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) on the iconic Rame Head in South-East Cornwall.

The Honourable Mrs Justice Tipples accepted both arguments presented by the RPG’s barrister at the High Court hearing on the 24-25th February this year. The decision to grant planning approval for PA20/03747 has therefore been quashed. The full 28-page/12,000 word judgment can be viewed here.

At the High Court hearing, the RPG had argued that;

  • Cornwall Council breached its duty to provide adequate reasons for its decision to set aside the professional judgments of the Principal Planning Officer and the Planning Officer of the AONB, who both strongly recommended refusal of the planning application.
  • Cornwall Council failed to show that the decision to grant planning approval was in line with local planning policy.

In her summary, the judge concluded that – in respect of the first of the RPG’s objections – no reasons at all were given as to why ‘the Committee thought the social and economic benefits of the proposed development outweighed the landscape harm’.

As regards the second objection, the planning committee had invoked Policy 7, which permits new buildings for agricultural workers in the open countryside where need can be shown for a property in a specific location. Policy 7, however, makes no mention of the AONB. This is referred to in Policy 23 of the local plan and Policy 23 specifies that any new buildings should be of an appropriate scale, mass and design, that they should meet a local need and be located so as to address the sensitivity and capacity of protected landscapes. The judge’s view was that even if this had applied, Policy 23 has an additional clause, which says that development proposals must also ‘conserve and enhance the landscape character and beauty of the AONB’. She agreed that this could not conceivably be true in this case, stating that:

“The consequence of this is that establishing the “essential need” criteria under paragraph 5 of policy 7, does not itself justify development in the AONB, and the Committee failed to properly interpret policies 7 and 23 of the Local Plan (para 102).”

Far-reaching implications

The significance of this judgment is that that private ‘need’ alone does not in itself justify developments inside an AONB. It re-asserts the critical importance of the protective umbrella that the AONB offers when it comes to developments in the open countryside. That was the whole point of arguing the case against the proposal and therefore of the judicial review. It is the RPG’s hope that this will help prevent similar attempts to undermine protective legislation throughout Cornwall and beyond.


Update 11

Jette Johst on behalf of Rame Protection Group

Feb. 25, 2021

Court hearing concluded - judgment at Easter

The court hearing into the legitimacy of the planning approval granted to application PA20/03747 ended up running into two days and was concluded at lunchtime on Thursday 25 February.  Judicial reviews can only be about the process through which a decision was reached, rather than the merits or otherwise of the application, so the discussion over the last two days has been about the extent to which councillors have to give reasons for their decisions and whether they are required to refer to policy frameworks when making their decision. Mrs Justice Tipples will now make her deliberations and indicates that she will hand down a judgment around Easter.

Update 10

Jette Johst on behalf of Rame Protection Group

Feb. 23, 2021

Details of High Court hearing on 24 February

The judicial review into the planning approval granted to application PA20/03767 will be heard at the High Court of Justice Queen's Bench Planning Division in London (rather than Bristol as we were told initially). The hearing will be conducted via Microsoft Teams and the judge will be Mrs Justice Tipples. The legal team advise that judgment is sometimes deferred in cases such as these but we will obviously communicate the outcome on this page as soon as we can.

Recent additions to include an interactive list of bird sightings over recent decades. The list comes to 212 species, which puts Rame Head among the top headlands in the whole of the South West as far as bird sightings are concerned.

More comprehensive information on the ancient route of pilgrimage between the Grade I listed St Germanus Church at Rame and the Chapel dedicated to St Michael out at Rame Head is now also available on the History & Heritage section of

Should the Judicial Review be successful and the planning approval for PA20/03747 be quashed, the application will likely be resubmitted to Cornwall Council. In that eventuality the RPG will be working to ensure that Historic England are consulted. This concern has received some local media coverage recently. A recent article in Private Eye is also relevant to the proposed Rame Head development.

Many thanks for your continued support!

Update 9

Jette Johst on behalf of Rame Protection Group

Jan. 28, 2021

Court hearing now only weeks away

The date of our High Court hearing  - the 24th of February - is now approaching fast. It remains the case that the two grounds currently accepted by the Court are that a) Cornwall Council breached its duty to give reasons for approving development PA20/03747 within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), and b) failed to determine whether the development accorded with the development plan. A possible third ground has come to light and the legal team are currently considering whether to apply to the Court to have this included in the case.

Historic England

Many also harbour grave concern over the fact that Historic England was not consulted over this proposed development. The site is immediately adjacent to an ancient track that connects St Germanus Church at Rame (listed Grade 1) and the Chapel dedicated to St Michael on Rame Head (listed Grade II*). The two monuments are approximately 1000m apart and were built at similar times in the 13th century. For hundreds of years the two buildings were regarded by local citizens as part of the same spiritual space. Each year, there would be a pilgrimage to the chapel by parishioners; an event that has survived up until the very recent past.

Historic England has recently emphasised how important the space between monuments is and this is particularly so when there is reason to believe that the link between them had great importance to local people over many years. This fact is reflected also in the NPPF guidelines for planning policy.

Historic England sets out a series of five steps that should be taken in reaching ‘a proportionate assessment of the particular significance of any heritage asset that may be affected by a proposal, including by development affecting the setting of a heritage asset’ (See The Setting of Heritage Assets, Historic Environment Good Practice Advice in Planning Note 3, Historic England 2017, p. 8).

The accompanying map is derived from the Ordnance Survey of 1856-66. It shows Rame Head, the chapel on its summit and the Church at Rame. What has been added in blue is the ancient track and in red the site of the land proposed for development, which is approximately half way along. This can also be seen in the photograph. The land in question is opposite the buildings towards the top of the image. The ancient track runs along the western edge and is identified today as a ‘Gold’ Path but is not visible as it has been recently ploughed up. The visual link between the church and the chapel stands out.

The central point is that Historic England should have consulted over the proposed development and was not.

Facebook page

Notwithstanding the magnificent support our case has received, we are still some way off achieving the fundraising target. To help with publicity, a staunch supporter has created a Rame Protection Group Facebook page that is now attracting healthy interest and has definitely helped us reach more people over recent weeks. Do consider visiting @RameProtectionGroup and, if you support our cause, share some posts.

Thank you!

Update 8

Jette Johst on behalf of Rame Protection Group

Dec. 24, 2020

Trial preparations + Celebrating the Rame Head AONB + Free e-cards

Dear supporters,

Mid-December saw the receipt of Cornwall Council’s Summary Grounds of Defence, which do not differ markedly from their original reaction to our Claim. The RPG team, meanwhile, has been busy gathering more evidence to strengthen our case and has also benefited from external advice offered on a pro bono basis by a QC experienced in judicial reviews. We have now held in-depth discussions with our legal team to determine the best strategy for our forthcoming hearing.  Both our legal team and we believe we have a strong case and our barrister will be working in January on preparing the summary arguments in readiness for submission to the Court in advance of our substantive hearing on the 24th February.

Publicity and fundraising continue to be high priority topics, so we are really pleased to announce two exciting developments.

The Rame Roam

One is the Rame Roam - a carefully designed walk that aims to encircle the Rame Head Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and explore some of its many treasures both manmade and natural. The walk passes by extraordinary former military installations, past some of the 55 listed buildings in the glorious Mt Edgcumbe Country Park, through ancient woods and fine parkland, close by the national collection of beautiful camellias just coming into bloom, along glorious sections of the South West Coast Path, and through picturesque villages and undulating countryside. The views along the route are among the finest in the country.

The Rame Roam walk route is available from as an interactive map with images and information about the many points of interest.

Rame Head E-Cards

The second initiative is a set of gorgeous E-Cards of the magnificent Rame Head that are free to send to friends and family from

Local artists have generously made available original artwork and one of our tech-savvy supporters has turned the images into beautiful digital cards to which you can add a personal message before sending to your friend’s email address.

If you have comments or suggestions, or wish to join our mailing list, please contact us at

We wish you all a happy and peaceful holiday.

The RPG Team

Update 7

Jette Johst on behalf of Rame Protection Group

Dec. 10, 2020

Our court date and website launch!

Our full day hearing is now set for 24th February 2021. It will take place at the High Court of Justice Queen’s Bench Division Planning Court in Bristol. It is apparently quite often the case that judgment is deferred, so we may not know the judge’s decision until some time after the hearing.

Notwithstanding the incredible support we have received from the hundreds of generous pledges already made through CrowdJustice, we are still some way off reaching the fundraising target we need to cover our legal costs (estimated at £35k + VAT). So, our main priority for the next couple of months is to raise awareness of our campaign and attract new supporters.

To this end, we are excited that our website – - is now up and running. We have tried to convey the breath-taking beauty and rich biodiversity of this magnificent headland at the same time as providing full information on the planning controversy and the judicial review. Please do visit, let us know what you think and spread the word!

Over the coming weeks the website will act as a launching pad for a number of initiatives to celebrate the Rame Head Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and attract attention and – hopefully – resources to our cause.

Meanwhile, a wonderful group of energetic supporters are busy distributing leaflets in the local area. The run-up to Christmas is not always an ideal time to fundraise but given that second home owners may well be visiting over the festive season, we were keen to make sure that a leaflet about our campaign was waiting for them when they arrive.

Your continued support is making this legal action possible and you have our sincerest thanks.

The RPG Team

Update 6

Jette Johst on behalf of Rame Protection Group

Nov. 14, 2020

High court grants permission for case to proceed!

We have just received some excellent news from our lawyers. Following the submission of our claim to the Court on 28th September - together with CC's Summary Grounds of Defence issued on 20th October - a High Court judge has now reviewed all the papers and has decided that our case has sufficient merit to go forward to a full hearing.

Our Claim ended up including three grounds on which we argued that the decision to grant planning approval for application PA20/03747 was unlawful, and the Honourable Mrs Justice Lieven has now granted permission for our case to go forward on the first two grounds. These were that:

1) Cornwall Council breached its duty to give reasons for approving this development within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), and

2) failed to determine whether the development accorded with the development plan.

Our lawyers are exceptionally pleased with this development, which means that our case will proceed to a full one-day hearing in the High Court of Justice Queen’s Bench Division Planning Court. We are told the case will be heard in Bristol but we do not have a date yet.

This latest development in our case has led to media coverage at the local, national and international level. For more information and links, please contact us on

PLEASE keep sharing our campaign as widely as you can. We are immensely grateful for your continued support.

The RPG Team

Update 5

Jette Johst on behalf of Rame Protection Group

Nov. 6, 2020

Another milestone in our legal case

Our legal challenge to try and stop development on the magnificent Rame Head peninsula has passed another milestone. Cornwall Council has responded to the claim our lawyers filed with the High Court on 28th September by lodging their Summary Grounds of Defence. All the necessary paperwork for the JR to proceed is therefore now with the Court. It is not yet known when the case will be heard.

As England enters a new lockdown, enforced social isolation will leave many people vulnerable to mental health issues. Spending time in nature, especially by the water, is a powerful means of remaining happy and well. That was the overwhelming conclusion of a survey conducted by the South West Coast Path Association during the UK’s first national lockdown in Spring 2020.

The South West Coast Path on and around Rame Head is used by many thousands of people every year and the health benefits – including very real savings to the NHS – are enormous. Safeguarding precious sites like Rame Head is more important than ever and this judicial review is our only chance of stopping development on this iconic headland.

The amazing response from our wonderful CrowdJustice supporters has enabled us to meet the legal costs of our case to date. Now the lawyers advise us to budget for the full £35,000 + VAT that a complete judicial review is generally estimated to cost. To achieve this target we need to reach as many people as possible. Please help us by sharing the campaign as widely as you can!

To join our mailing list and receive regular updates on the case, please write to

Thank you for your continued support!

Rame Protection Group

Update 4

Jette Johst on behalf of Rame Protection Group

Sept. 29, 2020

Claim filed with the court

Our legal team filed our ‘claim bundle’ with the Court on Monday 28th September and Cornwall Council now have 21 days to acknowledge our claim and prepare their Summary Grounds of Resistance, setting out why they contest the claim.

In anticipation of the Court granting us permission to move forward with a judicial review, we will be spending the coming weeks gathering more evidence to strengthen our case, as well as preparing to re-launch our publicity and fundraising drive as soon as we get the green light to proceed.

Thanks for your continued support! If you're already not on our mailing list, please contact us at to make sure you receive all of our updates. 

Rame Protection Group

Update 3

Jette Johst on behalf of Rame Protection Group

Sept. 23, 2020

Cornwall Council’s response and next steps

Our legal team has now heard back from Cornwall Council. They intend to contest our claim that the planning approval for a new dwelling on a green-field site in the Rame Head Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty was unlawful.

We have therefore instructed our lawyers to seek permission from the Court to apply for a Judicial Review (JR). The Court will need to agree that we have an arguable case and that the individual who will take the case forward on behalf of the Rame Protection Group has what is known as ‘standing’, i.e. a genuine interest in bringing the case. This step will involve our legal team lodging a ‘claim bundle’ with the Court, setting out the context of the case, our grounds for considering the decision unlawful and a summary of the relevant case law. 

Thanks to the outstanding support of our wonderful CrowdJustice backers, we have already raised sufficient funds to cover this next stage of the process. Assuming we receive permission to bring the Judicial Review itself forward, we will have to give serious attention to fundraising for a full JR.

Thanks for your continued support and please keep raising awareness of our campaign!

Update 2

Jette Johst on behalf of Rame Protection Group

Sept. 10, 2020

Pre-Action Protocol letter sent

After some hectic days, our lawyers have now sent the Pre-Action Protocol (PAP) letter to Cornwall Council. The Council has acknowledged receipt of the letter and now has until Monday 21st September to respond. The PAP letter sets out the five grounds on which we contend that the decision to approve application PA20/03747 was deficient.

The Council’s response will dictate the next steps of the process. If they contest our submission then it may become necessary to begin the formal judicial review process in the courts.

Thank you for your continued support.  Please keep raising awareness of our campaign!

Rame Protection Group

Update 1

Jette Johst on behalf of Rame Protection Group

Sept. 5, 2020

We hit our initial target!

After a fantastic start to our fundraising campaign we reached our initial target of £7,500 within the first 48 hours of launching! We’ve been blown away by the pledges we’ve had so far and the messages of support we’ve received. Reaching our initial target was a crucial milestone and now we can really drive this case forward. 

We now enter the second “stretch” phase of our crowdfunding campaign, where we will continue raising funds and moving towards our stretch target of £19,500. Anything you donate will now be collected on a weekly basis and transferred directly to our lawyers so that they can keep working on getting this decision overturned.

Please keep sharing the link to help raise awareness about our campaign. We are becoming increasingly concerned about the damaging precedent this case could set in a wider context; if it stands unchallenged, there would theoretically be no obstacle to any other applicant in Cornwall using the same tactic of an “agricultural dwelling” to circumvent planning restrictions in AONBs.

Thanks for your continued support!

Rame Protection Group

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