Knowle relocation – has EDDC shown that it has complied with its Public Equality Duty – Equalities Act 2010? Has anyone seen an impact assessment? if not, could it be the subject of judicial review (aling with lack of consultation)?
“Members’ attention was drawn to the Equality Impact Assessment and Decision Making report within the agenda papers. This report highlighted the key points of a recently published Devon County Council report, which had been the subject of a judicial review. The report also stressed the importance of the Public Equality Duty, how that duty should be exercised and how decisions might be challenged and the possible impact if they were. The Committee noted that the Council had put a number of measures in place to ensure that decisions were not subject to judicial review under the Equality Act 2010. When making decisions leading to changes to policy or services the Council needed to demonstrate that active consideration had been given to the impact assessment. Most of the judgements against councils were made where it was evident that the decision makers had not genuinely considered equalities’ impacts in their decision-making.”
(Overview and Scrutiny Committee Minutes 27 February 2014)
Some thoughts sent to EDA from a local correspondent:
‘Information gradually drips from EDDC regarding the Local Plan and the details of the Strategic Housing Market Assessment ( SHMA ). It seems that the SHMA is recommending a more modest housing allocation for East Devon. Many commentators at the time of the Local Plan Panel advocated lower housing numbers, as did EDDC’s consultants. Those commentators appear to have been vindicated by the draft recommendations of the SHMA.
Whilst, everyone told EDDC at the Local Plan Panel that their housing provision was excessive, particular opprobrium was directed at the employment land allocation, which all agreed was absurdly high. And, of course, based in part upon hopelessly miscalculated commuting numbers, and the inexplicable exclusion from the employment numbers of the Inter Modal Freight Facility, since purchased by Sainsburys.
We are now told, bizarrely, that EDDC is arguing for an increase in the SHMA housing allocation to reflect the huge employment land allocations that they have made. Workers will have to be housed. Previously they argued the reverse: that a huge employment allocation was necessary to employ the workforce generated by their housing numbers! An absurdly spiralling argument that will only serve to devastate the countryside of East Devon, and place enormous strain upon our infrastructure and services.
Clearly, the whole edifice of the Plan has collapsed, and Matt Dickins is standing naked amidst the rubble.
The solution is obvious: the employment allocation within the Plan has to be substantially reduced. This can be easily achieved by incorporating the Sainsburys site into the calculations, and by correcting the commuting errors. Such a move would transform the Plan, making sense of the housing numbers, and providing a way forward that would be acceptable to all sides.
In particular, this would ensure the removal of the highly controversial Sidford allocation, which has attracted more opposition than any other component of the Plan.
The need to remove Sidford from the Plan is greater than ever, given the warped logic with which EDDC has responded to the SHMA. If more housing is needed to ‘feed’ the District’s employment sites, then Sidmouth is threatened with a big increase in its housing allocation. After all, we have only 70 unemployed, and Sidford is intended to accommodate 1400 jobs. Where are the workers to be housed? ‘
“ …. a delay in production. This is principally due to the collective belief of the five SHMA authorities that the full objective assessment of need isn’t yet fully evidenced. Officers of the commissioning authorities have agreed what needs to be done and are in the process of quickly confirming this with the consultants.”
So there you are – 3 months after the last letter where Mr Thickett said he anticipated reconvening his examination in October/November 2014 they have “agreed what needs to be done” and will, eventually, talk to (that dreaded word) consultants. But summer 2015 (after the next local elections) is now the contemplated date for adoption IF ALL GOES WELL – hmm.
Let’s just pray that the cinsultant isn’t in bed with (sorry, embedded) at EDDC!
And, meantime, development just about everywhere continues …. no change there.
The East Devon Pebblebed Heath, owned by Clinton Devon Estates, near Newton Poppleford is an SSSI:
Pro-housing, pro-bungalow Planning Minister celebrates defeat for affordable bungalows in his constituency!
“The minister wrote in his newsletter that the scheme was “set to cause traffic chaos” and singled out “out-of-touch” Labour councillors who “ignored strong local opposition for plans to force yet more housing on our community”.
Lewis said that residents were “horrified” to see councillors “defying the will of local people and voting in support of the plans”.
The MP added that all of Great Yarmouth Borough Council’s Conservative councillors “voted to reject this misguided scheme”.”