Dunkeswell – also suddenly has its built up area boundary changed to facilitate development

Dunkeswell is where former EDDC Conservative councillor Bob Buxton was “unselected”  (the word favoured by Councillor  Phil Twiss, who is NOT the EDDC Conservative Party whip) who then stood as an Independent candidatebut lost to new district councillor Colin Brown.

Here is an extract from Dunkeswell Parish Council minutes of 20 June 2015:

Clerk has circulated and sent a response objecting to Dunkeswell’s inclusion at the last minute with no consultation
and against the officers recommendations by the EDDC Development Management Committee.  Dunkeswell was
included as our former ward member told the meeting that provision of a school was imminent in Dunkeswell, which is
not to our knowledge the case.
As agreed at the planning meeting on Monday 8th  June 2015, response for ratification.
AGREED (full responseis attached) Cllr Clewer to pursue the issue further
The views of Councillor Brown are not yet on record (but if he would like to write to us at eastdevonwatch@gmail.com we will he happy to print his response).  However, we do know that he lists in his EDDC register of interests:
Bell View Developments (Company Secretary) and Monckton Court Hotel
and details
Belle (sic) View, Axminster and Monckton Court Hotel as land or ownership where there is beneficial interest, as below:
Looks like Axminster and Chard could soon be a “supertown” and Dunkeswell a suburb of Honiton which will itself be a suburb of Exeter!  Or maybe two new towns a la Cranbrook?

Chardstock – sustainable or unsustainable for Local Plan purposes? Decision changes within days!

Letter to Midweek Herald 28 June 2015

I am writing in response to the article in Axminster’s Pulman’s Weekly News, dated March 31st 2015

The article headline ” Amended Local Plan on its way to inspector” refers to the amendments to the plan that East Devon Councillors agreed to at a special meeting on Thursday 26th March, which included granting a “built-up-area Boundary ” for Chardstock, in order to facilitate sustainable development.

For the benefit of your readers, I would like to put this statement in context and point out how the the agreement to include this amendment would appear to have been reached. But firstly a bit of background information. Chardstock has always had a Built up Area Boundary ( BUAB) and the previous draft Local Plan allocated a quota of ten houses, which have subsequently been built. Since then planning permission has been granted for a further four dwellings. However, in December 2014 and February 2015, three planning applications, two of which went before the Development Management Committee ( DMC) were refused permission on the grounds that Chardstock was not considered to be sustainable.

This is the Planning Officers report :

The proposed development by reason of its location on the edge of a village in the countryside which has limited services to support growth, fails to accord with the definition of sustainable development, specifically the environmental role, found within the National Planning Policy Framework.  In this case, the Local Planning Authority considers that the adverse impacts of this development in terms of unsustainable location with the occupiers of the dwellings having limited access to essential services and infrastructure (including public transport and access to it) significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits of providing these dwellings to meet the shortfall of housing within the district (5 year land supply) when assessed against the policies within the Framework as a whole.

During this period a DMC “Think-tank” along with planning officers were making a careful study of all the villages in East Devon, looking at their services and facilities as well as public transport and access to it. Chardstock is fortunate that it has an excellent local shop and Post Office, as well as a church, pub and primary school, but access to other essential services only found in Chard or Axminster necessitate a journey by car and are not realistically accessible by public transport, as the nearest bus stop is best part of a mile down a single track lane, with no lighting or pavements from the centre of the village. These facts therefore meant that under the latest draft of the Local Plan, Chardstock was one of the villages recommended to not have a BUAB.

This recommendation was upheld by the DMC at their special meeting on Monday 23rd March. But at the full Council meeting on 26th March, a member of the public, who isn’t actually a resident of East Devon, but happens to own a plot of land in Chardstock on which he has applied to build 5 houses, spoke and asked that Members also consider the inclusion of Chardstock in the list of sustainable villages.

Is it just coincidence, that what followed was a proposal from Cllr Andrew Moulding that Chardstock be added to the list of settlements to have a BUAB ? The minutes from this meeting also point out that,

  • the village is not served by public transport,
  • the views of the parish council had not been sought,
  • it was more appropriate for the village to identify appropriate levels of development through a Neighbourhood Plan.

But the proposal was put to the vote and carried.

This decision and the way in which it was reached also demonstrates the lack of support from the Council for the Parish Council, the local community agenda and an apparent lack of engagement with Chardstock’s emerging Neighbourhood Plan, failing to consult with the Parish Council or local community over a major policy change, rather being led by the wishes of a local developer.

The issue of sustainability is one that the Parish Council and Neighbourhood Plan Team have been looking at very closely, and is an issue that has generated a lot of interest from the residents of Chardstock, who have been consulted on this and other subjects as part of the production of our Neighbourhood Plan.

It’s not just about not having a realistic bus service in the parish – less than 12% of the population have any sort of relatively easy access to the service, and the majority are anything from 1 to 4 miles from the nearest bus stop, as well as the fact that this is also a bus service that as of 12th April will be reduced from an hourly service to a 90 minute service, making access to Chard and Axminster even more difficult.

It is also about other aspects of our infrastructure, including poor roads, which with the cuts to services from Devon County Council will be receiving even less attention than they were before. So what is it that has made the Council decide that all of a sudden we are sustainable. Are there measures that are being put in place that we are unaware of ? Or is this indeed an example of the influence that developers have over the Council ?

Mary de Souza Chairman, Chardstock Parish Council and Neighbourhood Plan Team.


The Wise Old Owl returns to its territory … eyes bright, claws sharp

The old owl is rather like Hedwig in the Harry Potter books: always faithful to its master  – in this case East Devon Watch readers – and has returned home to its roost and ready to keep its beady eye on its home territory of East Devon again.

And so much going on!  Beach huts for rich people, rumblings in Chardstock and Dunkeswell, Budleigh Salterton and Feniton not to mention Cranbrook –  and general dismay that things are already going very, very pear-shaped at Knowle.

Much to come in the next few months … and you, dear readers, can keep in touch by mailing the roost at


discretion assured.



Teignbridge, Exeter and East Devon combined authority??

Baroness Hollis of Heigham Labour 3:30 pm, 22nd June 2015

Can the Minister say how devolution might work now in two-tier shire authorities such as Norwich, Cambridge, Exeter and many others? We have in place a city deal, delivered for example through the Greater Norwich area partnership, bringing together Norwich, its two adjacent districts which share in the gain from our economic growth, and the county council. Norwich already pools its community infrastructure levy receipts to help fund economic investment in the Greater Norwich area. Cambridge City, I understand, similarly partners South Cambs and Cambridge County Council. Exeter, I learnt today, is working with East Devon and Teignbridge district councils towards a combined authority or possibly an economic prosperity board.

Owl says – So there you have it from a member of the House of Lords – EDDC is working towards a combined authority with Exeter City Council and Teignbridge District Council.  Any comments anyone?

The NEW owl has arrived …


2 February 2020





East Devon could NEVER remain Owl-less …

As one departed another has taken its place …

The new Owl has arrived!

Talons sharpened, eyes trained …

A new light now shining into the darkest corners of East Devon

Contact us at eastdevon.owl@gmail.com

In the link below EDDC announces the launch on Monday 30 March 2020 of the East Devon District Council Coronavirus Community Support Hub and explains what  it will seek to do.

It also brings you up to date with a comprehensive range of local services appropriate to the Coronavirus  emergency.

It is too long to post but is a useful reference.