*** Save Clyst St Mary Village from Inappropriate Development ***

East Devon Watch has been sent this update on what’s happening at Clyst St Mary:

‘A massive thank you to everyone who has supported our campaign to unite Clyst St Mary in opposing inappropriate development within our village. Our aim is to ensure any future building is sustainable and in accordance with the emerging Neighbourhood Plan so that the village’s unique identity can be maintained and its green sites preserved. We are incredibly grateful to the hundreds of residents who turned up at the Village Hall last Tuesday to voice their concerns regarding proposals for developments at Cat’s Copse, Winslade Park and Oil Mill Lane. Thanks in part to the generosity of residents, the Parish Council has now been able to hire a specialist planning consultant to help us fight these proposals. The next crucial meeting is on 5th February at 7.30pm in the Village Hall.

As you may already be aware, yet another planning application has now been received which, once again, threatens to destroy the character of our village with the development of not only 40 houses (which is in addition to the 93 village homes for which planning permission has already been granted) but also the demolition of an existing family home in the heart of Clyst Valley Road to provide road access into the existing well established, incredibly quiet residential estate. The proposed site, currently owned by the Plymouth Brethren, is the large field adjacent to our football ground.Although it has been labeled ‘Land off Clyst Valley Road, this is in fact misleading since there is no existing access from this road. Nor, at the time of writing, is there any sign of the plans on display in close proximity to the home the developers want to demolish; the only references are situated on the boundary fence between Winslade Park Avenue/A376 and our village football ground.

With the deadline for letters of objection only weeks away (4th February 2015) please can we strongly urge you to continue supporting the village by emailing/writing to East Devon District Council to voice your objections to this most recent proposal. Issues you may wish to consider with regard to this specific development include: an increase in population for which the village does not have the infra-structure; the loss of the existing residential estate’s unique, tranquil character; substantial loss of light and privacy to residents whose bungalows back onto the site (the proposed homes are 2 or 3 storeys in height); an enormous (and potentially dangerous) increase in traffic travelling through the estate – very few public facilities are available within walking distance; a potential increase in congestion both through the main village and onto the Exmouth and Sidmouth roads (the Church Lane entrance to the estate, the site of 21 road traffic incidents in recent years – one of which was fatal – will be particularly affected); an increase in already high levels of pollution, especially at the Clyst St Mary roundabout ; concerns regarding potential flooding which would be exacerbated by the loss of further green spaces; existing wildlife habitats would be destroyed; it would be setting a precedent – which village field, park or site, on either side of the A3052, would become the next target for destruction?

When drafting your objections, the planning reference you should quote is ‘Land Off Clyst Valley Road: 15/0072/MOUT’. A selection of sample letters are given below * and will be available to download from our website http://www.saveclsytstmary.org.uk within the next few days – please feel free to adapt these as required. They can be sent by post or email (planningwest@eastdevon.gov.uk)

Please do note the aforementioned meeting regarding this planning application on 5th February 2015 at 7.30pm in the Village Hall where, once again, your support is essential.

Finally, please can we remind local residents that they are still able to contribute towards the on-going costs of employing Charlie Hopkins, our planning consultant. Payment can be made via the website or at Clyst St Mary Post Office. Please be assured that money will be used for no other purpose than to help pay Mr Hopkins; anyone assisting this campaign is doing so voluntarily and all costs such as printing and banners have been paid for by those volunteers. Do visit our website regularly as we are endeavouring to keep it as up to date as possible. A series of rare historical maps of our area are one of the most recent features which may be of interest.Feel free to suggest any further features you would like to see added.

– As we have stated previously, the challenge ahead of us is not easy – but together, we really can do it!’

*15 0072 MOUT ( Land off Clyst Valley Road, Clyst St Mary
*Land off CVR letter

*** STOP PRESS: new planning application for another solar farm in the area – *** please see website for further details

District and local elections 100 days away

If you haven’t registered: please do it, your vote could really could make all the difference this time around:

Click to access voter_registration_form.pdf

If you have registered: beef up on local issues and national issues (this website, websites listed above, local newspapers) and work out who you trust.

Pick the councillors and MP that you think will work for YOU not just for himself or herself or their party.

Save our Sidmouth: grave reservations on costings and the lack of understanding councillors have of decisions taken in their names

http://saveoursidmouth.com/2015/01/22/i-can-only-assume-that-you-have-something-to-hide-sos-chair-tells-eddc/

http://saveoursidmouth.com/2015/01/22/sos-dismisses-emotional-vague-and-unsubstantiated-views-in-cllr-tom-wrights-letter/

Underfunding of southwest rail services

“Since the line was severed at Dawlish, and the floods caused major disruption across our rail and road networks last year, we have been making the point to Government that the South West has a legacy of under-investment.

“It’s not just new schemes that have fallen by the wayside – maintenance is also a problem. For every £545 the Government spends in London, it is just £41 in the South West. That is simply not acceptable.

Read more: http://www.exeterexpressandecho.co.uk/Peninsula-Rail-Task-Force-blasts-unacceptable/story-25924047-detail/story.html

Monitoring Officer: is it a dead end job or a powerful way to exert control?

On the one hand:

“Hands up: who wants to be a monitoring officer?”

“With the recent trend across local government to downgrade the monitoring officer from the top table and new regulations proposed by Communities Secretary Eric Pickles to remove the designated independent person from the process of dismissing statutory officers, I am sure that some lawyers within council legal departments will be asking themselves why they should put their head above the parapet and seek to become a monitoring officer in what is an uncertain and changing climate.

… With the move to reduce senior management costs, it is becoming increasingly common for the monitoring officer role to be combined with that of head of legal services. Unfortunately, the roles do require very different skill sets. …

..Don’t underplay this role, however, because as the monitoring officer, your role is to ensure that the council and its members maintain the highest standard of conduct. Your intervention on an informal basis can have a significant impact on the cultures and behaviours of the organisation ….

http://www.localgovernmentlawyer.co.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=14482:hands-up-who-wants-to-be-a-monitoring-office

On the other hand:

If either a complainant, or the councillor against whom a complaint has been made, is unhappy with the way in which the local authority resolves the complaint, there is no higher authority to which they may appeal. Neither the Local Government Ombudsman nor the Department for Communities and Local Government has a role in respect of councillors’ conduct or registration of pecuniary interests.

The powers of the local authority in relation to alleged breaches are for local determination, following advice from the authority’s Monitoring Officer or legal team. These powers might include censure or the removal of a member from a committee, but the authority cannot disqualify or suspend councillors: suspension was permitted under the 2000 Act regime.”

http://www.parliament.uk/Templates/BriefingPapers/Pages/BPPdfDownload.aspx?bp-id=sn05707