Some of the issues are summarised here by an East Devon Alliance correspondent, reporting on concerns at Budleigh Salterton and Newton Poppleford.
‘COMMUNITIES ARE THE BEST JUDGE OF WHERE DEVELOPMENT SHOULD GO
Recording one of the early days during the public hearing on the local plan, Cllr Claire Wright wrote:
“The usually unflappable EDDC planning policy officer got irritated at this and read out paragraph 1 of the national planning policy framework, which was all about encouraging communities to get involved in the planning process.
He said that communities were the best judge of where development should go.”
In East Budleigh due process of consultation has been followed with regard to three sites all of which had been identified by EDDC as suitable. The people overwhelmingly preferred a brown field site at the village entry to the South by a majority of 68.5%. In the plan, EDDC have introduced a series of spurious arguments to reject this site despite it being previously deemed suitable, and chosen a site favoured by only 29.7% with an entry at a known accident black spot.
Formal comments on the village development plan do not seem to be readily available on EDDC’s web site so the input from the Otter Valley Association has been circulated widely within the village by angry residents.
Steve Baker, the Chairman of the Parish Council, which conducted the consultation is quoted in yesterday’s Journal (20 Feb) as saying “we are reasonably happy with [the Syon House site] from all the bits of land around….I think we have got away with it pretty lightly when you consider Feniton and all the rest of it.”
In Newton Poppleford the Parish Council quite brazenly put forward the unpopular King Alfred’s Way site admitting the decision to choose this site was made behind closed doors. As we all know this turned out to be the EDDC preferred site but not that of the local community.
The end result of both processes cannot be said to confirm the notion put to the Planning Inspector that in EDDC communities are the best judge of where development should go. They have either not been consulted or where they have, they have been ignored.’
OVA FORMAL COMMENT ON THE EAST BUDLEIGH PROPOSAL
Reference Point r12.93
Policy 20 Residential Land Development in East Budleigh.
This representation is made by the Otter Valley Association (OVA). The OVA’s purpose is to promote and conserve the history, geography, architecture and natural history of this area of Devon and is a member of the East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Partnership. The OVA is deeply aware that any development in East Budleigh must “conserve and enhance” the area. The choice of sites to be included in the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA) must conform to this policy.
The OVA cannot support the “Proposed Allocation Justification” (PAJ) set out in policy 20 of the draft East Devon Villages Plan which has been submitted for consultation.
The PAJ identifies site C059 as the preferred site for the development of 15 dwellings.
In November 2012 in accordance with a statutory requirement East Devon District Council (EDDC) invited the residents of East Budleigh to consider through a consultation process the sites put forward as available for development.
Due process took place and the views of the residents were expressed and are set out in the Village Consultation and Engagement Report 2013. However their views have been ignored.
The proposed site C059 was the least popular option. Only 29.5% of the residents completing the questionnaire prepared by the East Budleigh Parish Council identified this site and then only as “a last resort”.
See Village Consultation Report – C059. “was not favoured by members of the public who completed the questionnaire; 29.5% in favour. It was the last resort if we must attitude. It was felt that if development was here then it would be cut off from the village by the main road which is very busy and difficult to cross.”
East Budleigh is in an area of outstanding natural beauty and is enjoyed as an historic village visited by many tourists and any development must be undertaken with great care.
The OVA cannot understand how this site was included in the assessment as the Draft East Devon Villages Plan recognises that “the site is particularly sensitive due to its location in the AONB”
The site C059 is grade 1 agricultural land and before considering development of such land the planners must take into account the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) guidelines paragraphs 111 and 112.
NPPF paragraph 111 says “planning policies and decisions should encourage the effective use of land by reusing land that has been previously developed (brownfield land).”
NPPF paragraph 112 says “Local planning authorities should take into account the economic and other benefits of the best and most versatile agricultural land. Where significant development of agricultural land is demonstrated to be necessary, local planning authorities should seek to use areas of poor quality land in preference to that of higher quality”
Site C059 is on the gradient and on the edge of a floodplain. Building will increase the risk of flooding into the row of cottages below the site. Frogmore Road has experienced frequent flooding. Question 15 of the Sustainability Appraisal Objective was not answered on this topic which given the recent history of flooding in the area was a major omission.
The site is 50m. from a substantial Georgian house (now an hotel). If EDDC had a local heritage asset list this house would surely be included in it. A housing development in close proximity to this property will impact on its character.
OVA is concerned that an access road to 15 houses should exit from the site straight onto the B3178 and very near the crossroads at the Rolle Arms. This stretch of the B3178 has had three road accidents in the recent past. The OVA is astonished that it is deemed acceptable for children to cross this very busy road to access the Village Centre, the shop and the school.
There is an alternative site which meets the NPPF paragraph 111 criteria and other requirements. This is site C307.
The draft plan has ignored the wishes of the residents of East Budleigh whose preferred site is C307. This site was favoured by all who attended the meeting and 68.5% of those who completed the Parish Council questionnaire. It is a brownfield site including an industrial unit at the edge of the village. A new development on this site would have the least adverse impact on the village and surrounding countryside. It is within the recommended 600 metre distance from the centre of the village. One of the main attributes of East Budleigh is that is not bisected by a major road. The development of this site would contain the expansion of the village to the west of the B3178 and therefore will not impact on the exceptional landscape of the Otter Valley to the east of this road. With the construction of a pavement (which may have a calming effect on the traffic) residents of the new development would not have to cross the busy B3178 to reach the facilities in the village.
In the view of the OVA site C307 is the more acceptable site to meet the housing requirements demanded by the SHLAA.
Finally, the most important point the OVA wishes to emphasise is that the Draft Plan has disregarded the democratic process and ignored the views of the people of East Budleigh who did not vote in favour of site C059.