Knowle relocation may not be necessary…Councillors call for more evidence.

EDDC bosses will be asked, by the Overview and Scrutiny (O&S) Committee, for the full calculations of the office move costs.

The SIN blog has this report of last night’s O&S meeting :

Knowle relocation costs “getting out of control” .

Independent Councillor Claire Wright’s ‘s words were echoed in the comments of  her colleagues, of various political persuasions, at tonight’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee.  Cllr Derek Button (Lib Dem) said, “Now is not the time for a massive spending of public funds”. And Cllr Mike Allen (Con) told the Chairman, Tim Wood (Con) , “It’s time we took a second look” at the plan to move.

First reports on tonight’s debate are here: :

EDDC to propose EXTRA £400,000 for preparing Knowle move, at O&S Comittee this Thursday.

Now let’s get the figures right. A possible loan of well over £4,000,0000 was mentioned at the last meeting for ‘stakeholders’, on the Council’s Office Relocation plans. This Thursday evening at Knowle,  EDDC will explain why, in addition to the £350,000, (not including cost of officers’ time) already spent, at least double that sum should be budgeted for over the next two years, just for PREPARING to move. The destination remains unclear.

Public can ask questions. The Overview and Scrutiny Committee begins at 6.30 p.m. (Thursday 30 January, Knowle Council Chamber).

More comment here:

Consultation on EDDC’s draft Village Development Plan now in progress.

 Deadline for comments is 12 noon on Monday 10 March 2014.

Details below, in e-mail circulated by EDDC’s Planning Policy Manager:

Dear Sir or Madam
Consultation on the Draft Villages Development Plan Document (DPD)
East Devon District Council has produced a Draft Villages Development Plan Document (DPD) for consultation. This plan sets out Council proposals for where development in East Devon villages and smaller settlements (as identified in Strategy 27 of the New East Devon Local Plan 2006-26) is proposed. The DPD complements the main Local Plan and sets out policies and boundaries for developments at those settlements proposed for housing growth. It also includes some local village policies.
Views are sought of the public, community groups and organisations, businesses and any other interested bodies or individuals on proposed sites and policies for development at East Devon villages and at Greendale and Hill Barton business parks. The Draft Villages DPD and Representation Form will be available to view at the Council Offices, libraries around the District and online at
Representations can be made by filling out and returning a representation form or writing to Villages DPD, Planning Policy, East Devon District Council, Knowle,Station Road, Sidmouth, Devon, EX10 8HL, emailing, or by clicking on RefPoints in an electronic version of the plan (you must be connected to the internet to do this). Please see the Villages DPD and Guidance Note at the end of the Representation Form for further details.
The closing date for receipt of representations is 12 Noon on Monday 10 March 2014. Please note that representations received after this time/date may not be taken into account. The intention is that feedback received will inform a revised draft of the plan that will be produced later this year.
Yours faithfully
Matthew Dickins


Exmouth Seafront Covenants: “an unfortunate public airing”

If you thought getting information from EDDC was harder than extracting a wisdom tooth, your opinion might just be confirmed by today’s news from the “What Do They Know?” website.

It concerns the saga of an Exmouth resident’s struggle to shed some light on the 2009 deal between EDDC and Clinton Devon Estates to lift the historic covenants owned by CDE which restricted building along Exmouth seafront.

In return for a payment of £50,000 to CDE, the council was able to proceed with its controversial plans to redevelop the seafront – including the demolition of Elizabeth Hall.

But the public never knew the background to the agreement. Two officers’ reports to Council Leaders were marked strictly “not for publication.”

In April 2013, Tim Todd lodged a Freedom of Information request for these reports to be released in “the public interest”. In August the Monitoring Officer refused on grounds of “commercial confidentiality” and an infringement of  “the human rights of Lord Clinton” were cited as a possible reason not to publish.

The Information Commissioner disagreed, and required East Devon District Council to disclose the secret reports, which they have just done – with some redactions. BUT,  EDDC misleadingly fail to mention that it was the IC’s intervention that obliged them to do so.

The reports suggest that EDDC would be held to “ransom” by CDE every time they wanted to develop individual sites, so it would be better to make  a comprehensive agreement for the whole seafront, once and for all. And, significantly, the senior officers also point out that a quick deal would have the advantage of “bringing to an end what has been an unfortunate public airing of this issue”.

A vain hope…as this link confirms:

Local MP confirms support for Feniton

In reply to his letter of thanks to Neil Parish, MP, for attending the recent march at Feniton (organised jointly by Fight for Feniton, and the East Devon Alliance), EDA Chair, Ian McKintosh, has today received this e-mail:

‘Dear Ian,
Thank you very much for your letter of 17th January.
I do hope that the Inspector sees the strength of very good arguments as to why these developers should be refused their planning applications in Feniton.
Kind regards,
Neil Parish
Neil Parish MP
Member of Parliament for Tiverton and Honiton
House of Commons | London | SW1A 0AA
Tel: 020 7219 7172 | Fax: 020 7219 5005′

First of two ADDITIONAL major planning applications at Westclyst go to appeal

Residents of East Devon’s west end, already experiencing the consequences of the massive housing estates enveloping villages and farmland, have now learned that an Inquiry will decide a further appeal by developers.

The deadline for objections is 7th February 2014. Quote reference : 12/0795/MOUT – Pinn Court Farm Pinncourt Lane Exeter EX1 3TG

Details have been circulated as follows:    Pinn Court Farm Planning App Appeal Jan 2014

Inspector dismisses developer’s appeal. Good news for Colyford/Seaton.

The Inspector’s decision, just announced, will be especially well-received by Seaton and Colyford Green Wedge Community Action Group.

Click here for details: GREEN WEDGE…DECISION

The Inquiry had not begun well for East Devon District Council,  as noted on this link to the SIN blog:

SIN has several archived posts on the background to the appeal.

Feniton march hits the Western Morning News headlines.

Feniton march (NK2)JPGOrganisers of last weekend’s protest march, ( Fight for Feniton’s Future and East Devon Alliance (EDA)) would like to thank all who attended. Particular thanks go to Neil Parish, MP, and to the press and media who supported the event with prominent coverage, including the Western Morning News.  (More notable examples in recent posts on this  website)

)EDA Chair addresses the crowd 11.01.14It’s going to be a busy year for EDA and its Chair, Ian McKintosh, seen here addressing the crowd at the end of  last Saturday’s march.

Proposed solar farms in East Devon..what exactly is planned?

An example will be shown at Luminicity’s public exhibition (Fri 24 Jan, afternoon and early evening) of the planned application for a solar farm at Sidbury. The proposed site is in a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) .   Exhibition details here:   East Hill Strips advert poster

Meanwhile,the Sid Valley has  another, different,  initiative to help solve both the looming energy gap, and the huge problem of waste disposal, with the recent launch of a Community Energy Co-operative by the Sid Valley Energy Action Group (SVEAG). See  .

Budleigh Longboathouse Judicial Review decision

21 DECEMBER 2013 Press release on Judicial Review outcome

The Budleigh Longboat Association and its many friends are surprised and disappointed that in a written judgement issued today, Judge Birtles, did not find sufficient merit in its claim to quash the Longboat planning consent of 2012. Judges do have considerable discretion and the case has to be exceptionally strong to succeed.

Although all who supported the appeal are disappointed, the decision is accepted.

The challenge was made because this was a controversial planning decision to build a two-storey contemporary café on an important site on the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site. Importantly, it was the first planning application in what is supposed to be one of the most highly protected sites of outstanding natural beauty in England.

The plan, which also involved the demolition of the last known example of an Admiralty Longboat House, attracted widespread local opposition. In a poll conducted by the Town Council, three out of four voted to keep the historic building and even more were opposed to a two-storey development. No less than 36 per cent of residents voted, compared to 33 per cent in local elections.

This development was also opposed by the World Heritage Coast Management Team and Natural England who raised further objections relating to the vulnerability of such a large structure on the beach to storm surges.

We believe it was important and responsible to make this challenge as two other similar applications had been rejected by the planning committee, one a few months before and another quite recently. We felt that members of the planning committee had been misled by the Planning Officers’ report.

When considering planning matters, the East Devon District Council (EDDC) is supposed to act, and to be seen to act, in a quasi-judicial and fair way. By pursuing this action we have made the point that the EDDC faces the real risk of legal challenge from objectors whenever they attempt to push procedural boundaries to support their recommendation.

There are already signs that, as a result, EDDC is now paying more attention to the correctness of their procedure. For example, they are bringing important consultee comments, from groups such as Natural England, to the committee however late in the process they arrive, rather than ignoring them; and they are making full audio recordings of proceedings so that there can be no doubt about what was said.

So far the Longboat applicant has refused to work with the community to find a solution which is sympathetic to the history of the existing building and natural beauty of this World Heritage Site. We recognise that to remain economic the Longboat House needs refurbishment and remodelling.

It is still not too late to find a solution that enhances rather than dominates the heritage landscape; most importantly, the solution should be one which commands local support without which local businesses cannot flourish.

The legal challenge was issued in the name of David Daniel and he would like to thank all those in the Budleigh Longboat Association who have supported him over the past six years. All concerned greatly appreciate the specialist professional support received in recent months from the newly-formed East Devon Alliance and from local councillors.