According to a local researcher:
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.
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 “. ‘
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: https://eastdevonwatch.org/2014/03/24/community-control-or-countryside-chaos-asks-new-cpre-report/
For latest news from the CoVoP national network, of which East Devon Alliance is an active member, go to http://covop.org/