Feniton residents take to the streets in protest against housing growth of over 40 percent

A march – organised by local pressure group ‘Fight for Feniton’s Future’ and the East Devon Alliance – will take place in the small village of Feniton, East Devon, at 11.00 on 11 January 2014 to protest against the impact of the National Policy Planning Framework (NPPF) on the country’s rural villages. Local MP Neil Parish will be present.

Because of the NPPF, with its presumption in favour of development and no upper limit placed on what constitutes reasonable growth for a community, Feniton is currently battling a major planning appeal inquiry against developers’ plans for a further 235 houses in the village, which, together with the 50 houses won at appeal last year, would increase the size of the village by over 40 per cent.

East Devon District Council’s draft Local Plan states that growth of just 5% is right for Feniton. Growth of this level is all the more inappropriate given that the village suffers frequently from flooding  (a £1.6M flood defence programme is due to be implemented in the coming years. Flooding over the new year has been covered by national media), while the new town of Cranbrook (which will host up to 7,500 houses) lies only a few miles away.

Whether or not Feniton, with its narrow country lanes and poor local infrastructure, will be forced to accept this level of unsustainable and explosive growth, will be determined by the Planning Inspectorate following a public inquiry which starts on 7 January 2014. What is clear is that if growth of over 40% is approved for Feniton, then no village across the country can consider itself safe. Hence the slogan adopted by Fight for Feniton’s Future and East Devon Alliance: “When is Enough, Enough?”

A previous march in the village earlier this year attracted hundreds of people and was covered by regional television.

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