More East Devon farmland to be lost to development? No joking matter, as DMC decides tomorrow, April 1st.

Please note that the Weeks Farm application is up before EDDC’s Development Management Committee tomorrow morning ,Tuesday 1st April, from 9.30 am, at Knowle.
EDDC officers have recommended this application be refused on the grounds that the development will not be sustainable, given the lack of employment opportunities, access to schools, lack of adequate sewerage capacity, etc. But one local Councillor and DMC member has already declared his support for the application, despite a public consultation which shows the majority of his constituents do not.
The Talaton group would be most grateful if you can spare the time to attend in support of their objections, in their efforts to prevent yet another bad planning decision going ahead in the face of local opposition.

Agenda here:


Local Plan Inspector’s letter has been received by EDDC but will not be published by them before Thursday 3 April (after the next Development Management Committee on 1 April where 10 planning applications will be discussed

How fortuitous that the Local Plan Inspector’s letter (which EDDC has now received) will not be released until at least Thursday 3 April 2014, after yet another Development Control Committee meeting on 1 April 2014 where 629 more houses will be discussed, including a further 590 at Cranbrook.

Pots and kettles

If only EDDC could learn from its own criticism of Ottery St Mary Council!….. ground rules for behaviour during meetings

…..  ‘misjudgements’ had been made by both officers and councillors, and that it would be appropriate for the council to ‘reflect on events and their behaviour’ to ‘consider what they might learn for the future’

….. respectful relationships and a focus on well-managed debate

Oh, if only EDDC had insight!



And it is only going to get worse says climate change report

The climate change report prepared for the United Nations makes grim reading.  For those of us in this area the particular issues are the loss of Grade 1 agricultural land, because much less land is going to be available for us to grow the crops we have been used to, particularly wheat, and flooding – more of it more often.

See a summary of the report here:

“Mafia- style behaviour in the planning system,” says National Trust

A furious Sir Simon Jenkins believes ” the housing problems of Britain will not be solved in the countryside” . This Daily Telegraph report explains his good reasons  :,d.d2k

The Friday quiz

What geographical area is being described here?

“Our rulers need to understand democracy is not solely about getting a majority of votes in the ballot box … Far beyond that, democracy is a culture of inclusiveness, openness, human rights and freedom of speech, for each and every one, regardless of whichever party they voted for.  It is the realisation of the very core of democracy that has been sorely lacking in [this place] today”.

No, not East Devon – Turkey – but it could just as well apply here.  Citizens denied a voice at committees, particularly a voice at planning committees, where committees (particularly the Overview and Scrutiny Committee and its Task and Finish group on the East Devon Business Foru,, all of us who are not the favoured few apparently denied a voice before the all-powerful Executive and the Executive in thrall to its Leader and the CEO.




EDA anger at how EDDC decision was taken for more mass housing on Grade 1 farmland.

This EDA press release was issued yesterday, 27th March 2014 :

‘East Devon Alliance (EDA) is appalled by the circumstances of this week’s decision by EDDC to approve more mass housing in the western end of East Devon.

In a specially called meeting of the Development Management Committee (DMC), on Tuesday 25th March, two major planning applications for a total of 1200 houses, were lumped together, in one executive summary. Yet councillors were obliged to vote on the first application before hearing details of the second, related one. Thus, the proposals’ combined impact on the communities of Broadclyst, Westclyst, Poltimore and Pinhoe , was taken out of the debate.

East Devon Alliance questions why these two planning applications, at Old Park Farm and Pinn Court Farm respectively, involving a member of the now defunct East Devon Business Forum, were rushed through in inexplicable haste. DMC Chair, Helen Parr, refused requests from some members to defer a decision until the soundness of EDDC’s Planning Policy has been assessed in the Inspector’s report (expected sometime this summer).

Most shockingly, councillors who voted in favour, acknowledged that much of both sites to be built on is Grade 1 agricultural land.

Ian McKintosh, EDA Chair, says, “This is madness, when the National Farmers’ Union is already warning that demand for farmland will soon outstrip supply. EDDC’s current planning policy is causing the loss of much high quality fertile land. All that will feed is a future food security crisis. It’s time for our planners to pause, and listen to local people with insights, especially at meetings of the DMC “. ‘

“NPPF has given too much power to developers”, concludes CPRE

Key conclusions from the  research done by the Campaign to Protect Rural England, are summarised by Community Voice on Planning (CoVoP) at this link:  CPRE report summary

See also our earlier post:

For latest news from the CoVoP national network, of which East Devon Alliance is an active  member, go to



“You have given permission for 1,200 homes” DMC Chair told

Those were Councillor Bowden’s words at the end of yesterday’s ‘special meeting’  of the Development Management Committee (DMC), which approved two major planning applications for housing on Old Park and Pinn Court Farms, in East Devon’s already blighted west end. He echoed the dismay and incredulity of residents from Broadclyst, Westclyst, Poltimore and Pinhoe who had spoken out at the meeting, about such things as the “suburban form and layout ” of the proposed developments; flooding and increased traffic dangers; and overlooking of existing houses.

Probably the most serious issue of all was raised by  members of the DMC. They asked whether the two related planning applications  were intended to be decided separately, or lumped together as they had been in the  executive summary which had been provided  for this meeting.  As Cllr Bowden pointed out, the decision on the first would “impact on” the second, and the totality of them both was a very different matter from considering them as individual items. But Cllr Mike Allen’s reasonable proposal that “we should hear the second application and then make our decision”, was firmly blocked by Chair  Helen Parr’s “No!”

Puzzling, as both applications involved, in Cllr Williamson’s words,   “loss of agricultural land, much of it Grade 1”. “We keep hearing about this agricultural land”, said the Chair, somewhat irritably, reminding her Committee that  “It is unfortunately wonderful agricultural land” that the Growth Point is built on.

Her theme was picked up by  Councillor Key, EDDC’s representative on the East Devon branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England. He chipped in with, “They keep on about this Green Wedge….and farmland. Irrespective of what grade it is, houses are needed.”  Or as Cllr Chamberlain simply put it,  to gasps from the public,  wasn’t the Green Wedge   “the n****r in the woodpile”?

This was of course the considered view of the Local Development Framework Panel , as illustrated in these minutes, including declarations of personal interest (p. 4), from 2010:  .



Today’s Development Management Committee passed the planning applications for the Pinhoe area, including “Old Park Farm 2” with minimal debate.

Two questions spring to mind:

Why bother with a DMC at all?

Which councillors on the DMC seem to have severed their friendships with one of the developers – having declared a personal interest as “acquaintances” in 2010 but no interest at all in 2014?

Keep up to date with Local Plan correspondence – and check for the Planning Inspector’s initial findings letter.

Quite a few letters were exchanged between interested parties whilst the Planning Inspector was hearing submissions for the local plan (including one rather tetchy exchange between him and an EDDC officer.

Letters can be accessed at the link below – where the letter promised by the Inspector by 31 March 2014 should be posted when it arrives

Old Park Farm 2: some objectors comments for the DMC to think about tomorrow

….. I would comment on the level of community involvement in this application. The statement of community involvement submitted by the applicants’ agent considered that it is not “considered necessary to undertake community consultation to the extent which might normally be expected”.

…..I write on behalf of myself and my husband. We are one of the closest residents to the proposals and were only made aware of the proposals because of media attention.

Putting aside the fact that we have not been consulted on something so close to our property (…..20m or less away from us) we wish to strongly object on the following grounds:

…..Millwood has taken Counsel’s advice in respect of the interrelationship between OPF2 and Pinn Court. In the event that OPF2 is permitted in advance of Pinn Court, Millwood intends to lodge a judicial review of the decision.

…..It is my understanding that there claims to have been local consultation over this matter. This I find difficult to understand. I live some 50 metres form the first of the two mini roundabouts, if approaching from the Heart of Oak side on Main Road. In my experience there has been no attempt to obtain my views on this proposed redevelopment of the roundabouts. Consultation could have been attempted to affected householders by letter, leaflet drop or cold calling to households. Here it appears to have been by stealth, whisper quietly about it, post some very small planning application to a non descript lamp post or take out a small advert in a paper if indeed any of them. All of the immediately mentioned methods can hardly be called consulting!

…..Note to EDDC – Advertising of such a large scale developments deserve more than a single notice tied to a lamppost. This is worthy of a leaflet drop to the area, since the long term financial benefits to EDDC through council tax would more than cover this short term cost. EDDC wake up to your moral and social responsibilities and not just the ones that central government dictates!

….For some reason we have been left out of any consultations, only finding out about meetings where we could object, after the event, ..

…..The plans seem to have been little publicised and despite living around a mile from the proposed access road, have only discovered the plans through spotting a dishevelled notice half way down a post at the side of the road.

Town councillor who stole £1,200 “despicable” says judge

The British Legion is not there to help you through financial difficulties and people would be horrified that you were effectively putting your hand in the till. You were stealing from a charity and that makes this the more despicable,” she said.  “It is extremely disappointing that you succumbed to temptation not once but repeatedly over a significant period of time.

Read more:

It makes you wonder what the judge might say about a town or district councillor who makes an even more serious error.

Development Management – democracy or “special” treatment – tomorrow’s DMC meeting – your chance to have your say

If you believe that EDDC should not be hearing planning applications that are not in the old or new local plan before they receive the initial comments of the Planning Inspector who reviewed the Local Plan (and who has promised them by 31 March 2014) please attend the Development Management Committee meeting on 25 March 2014 at 2 pm (Knowle – agenda HERE) where two planning applications for hundreds of houses which may not be needed have been speed-tracked (see posts below) by the creation of this “special” meeting. A routine meeting of the committee is being held on 1 April 2014.


“Community Control or Countryside Chaos?” asks new CPRE report

A revealing document called  “Community Control or Countryside Chaos?” , has been published today by the Campaign to Protect Rural England.

In it, the CPRE assesses the impact of the governments’ National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) two years on. Feniton is featured on p 10, as one of a number of communities in England ‘under siege’ (with an excellent map!). There’s a good Case Study on East  Devon on p15, which again refers to Feniton, but also the Colyford decision.

The report made the front page of today’s Western Morning News – again referencing Feniton, and featuring an interview with Councillor Susie Bond *.The Express and Echo also has the story, as has the national press

The Daily Telegraph has a report, too. Link will follow.

*Note:  Independent Cllr Bond was elected in a landslide victory, replacing  former Councillor Graham Brown, who is the subject of a lengthy, on-going  police investigation .