What are the reasons for call-in of a planning application?

“The Secretary of State will, in general, only consider the use of his call-in powers if planning issues of more than local importance are involved. Such cases may include, for example, those which in his opinion:

may conflict with national policies on important matters;

may have significant long-term impact on economic growth and meeting housing needs across a wider area than a single local authority;

could have significant effects beyond their immediate locality;

give rise to substantial cross-boundary or national controversy;

raise significant architectural and urban design issues; or

may involve the interests of national security or of foreign Governments.

However, each case will continue to be considered on its individual merits.”


The DCLG has refused to say why it intimated it might call in the Uplyme planning application or tell us who instigated the process.

Will it, perhaps, tell us WHICH reason above it used? And, if it doesn’t – what is to stop this Department doing this any time it wishes?

Is this democratic?

This briefing paper raises further questions:


A notice to call in appears to have to be made BEFORE a decision by the local authority takes place and takes the place of it – i.e. the application goes directly to DCLG instead of to the local authority. However, it seems in this instance the DCLG simply indicated that it MIGHT be called in. How can this be permissible.

There seems little doubt that Hallam Land Management will appeal the decision – perhaps this will then be clarified.

Devon and Somerset county merger “not ruled out” by Somerset

According to a tweet by Martyn Oates, BBC Political Correspondent today:

“.@SomersetCouncil leader @JDOsman1 on single authority for Dev & Som: Everything’s a possibility – Govt want single point of accountability.
10:15 AM – 5 Aug 2015

That could lead to a merged Somerset and Devon having to deal with the consortium currently consisting of Exeter, East Devon and Teignbridge!

Whither EDDC HQ then one wonders … whither ANY district council’s HQ come further amalgamation and/or devolution!

What a potential mess – from the government which originally refused to allow Devon to become a unitary authority and the district council (East Devon) that spent hundreds of thousands of pounds on refusing to merge with ANYONE back in 2007!

AND another consultation: Villages, small towns and their built-up boundaries – yep, another cart that went before horse!

Recall that, with no consultation whatsoever, built-up boundaries for Dunkeswell and Chardstock were changed and inserted into the latest draft of the Local Plan.

Dear Sir/Madam

East Devon Villages Plan – consultation on proposed criteria for defining built-up area boundaries for villages and small towns

The council is reviewing its approach to defining its ‘Built-up Area Boundaries’ and wants your input.

We have prepared a brief paper, which is attached, that sets out what we would like to do and how you can get involved. We have also included an update paper on the Villages Plan for information.

If you have any comments on the approach set out, please write to us on or before Monday 21 September 2015 so that we can consider them before we prepare the next stage of our ‘Villages Plan’.

You can submit your views by either writing to us at Planning Policy, East Devon District Council, Knowle, Sidmouth, EX10 8HL or sending an email to us at localplan@eastdevon.gov.uk. Please put ‘Villages Built-up Area Boundary Consultation’ in the subject box of the email or at the top of your letter. It would be helpful if you could respond to the 5 questions set out in the consultation paper.

Please contact the planning policy team on 01395 516551 if you have any queries.

Yours faithfully

Linda Renshaw (Mrs)
Senior Planning Officer

Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays
East Devon District Council

( 01395 571683
8 lrenshaw@eastdevon.gov.uk
* Planning Policy Section, East Devon District Council, Knowle, Station Road, Sidmouth, EX10 8HL

Another cart, another horse behind it: consultation on Gypsy and Traveller Policy

This should have been in the Local Plan from Day 1. The Local Plan Inspector warned that he could not accept the last draft partly because it was still missing.

NOW (after local elections and after EDDC admitted it is almost certainly going to be near Cranbrook) we get consultation as below! No wonder some people think EDDC rather likes not having a Local Plan – developers free for all and none of those nasty decisions they would rather not take.

The consultation letter:

Dear Sir/Madam

Gypsy and traveller accommodation – Development Plan Document (DPD)

East Devon District Council would like to hear your views to help us develop plans and policies to guide the allocation of land for gypsy and traveller use. The replies we receive will help us to determine where new sites should be located, what type of development they should contain and how they should be laid out.

With other Devon authorities, we commissioned a needs assessment by RRR Consultants, and this forms the basis for the figures in our Local Plan. The study concluded that, between 2014 and 2034 there is a need for:
· 37 additional gypsy pitches with 22 of these needed in the first 5 years;
· 3 new travelling showpeople pitches, with 1 of these needed in the first 5 years;
· 4-5 temporary/emergency stopping places, each 4-5 pitches in the first 5 years (this applies across the study area as a whole. East Devon is not specifically mentioned, although Devon County Council state that East Devon has the highest level of unauthorised stops in the County, so it could be concluded that at least one of these temporary/emergency sites should be in East Devon); and
· 23 houses for gypsies and travellers (this would be met through the general housing stock).

Most of the immediate need arises from overcrowding of existing sites and from newly formed families on existing sites (usually children reaching maturity and having their own children) who wish to stay close to extended family. Most of the need is on the western side of the District, around the M5/A30.

What should be included?
The Gypsy and Traveller accommodation DPD may cover the topics listed below and we are particularly interested to know what alternative or additional issues you think should be addressed and what factors you consider should be taken into account in the overall plan production work.
1) Consider how sites could be provided by the public and private sectors and the management arrangements to support their operation;
2) allocate specific sites and/or land areas for new development and set maximum pitch numbers or site areas;
3) include policies in respect of development of:
a) new residential pitches;
b) employment/mixed residential provision;
c) amenity, play areas and community facilities;
d) other possible uses not detailed above.
4) establish principles of development and design standards to promote high quality development;
5) define mitigation which might be required to off-set potential adverse impacts that might otherwise arise as a consequence of development;
6) determine how to monitor the success and quality of what is being built; and
7) determine whether planning applications submitted to the Council should be granted planning permission and what conditions might apply.

Getting involved
You can find out more about the Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation DPD by viewing the Development Management Committee papers from the 16 June 2015 online at:


Then please either email your comments to localplan@eastdevon.gov.uk with ‘Gypsy and Traveller DPD’ in the subject box or post to:
Planning Policy Section
East Devon District Council
Sidmouth, EX10 8HL

To arrive on or before: Friday 21 September 2015.

Next steps
The Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment (2014) will form the overarching evidence base for the DPD and will set the targets for pitch provision in the District. A call for sites will invite landowners to submit details of available land for consideration and an assessment of the suitability of such sites will form the basis of, or feed directly into, the publication draft of the Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation DPD. In addition to other opportunities to comment, the publication draft will be made publically available for formal comment and any comments received will be submitted, along with the DPD, and supporting evidence to the planning Inspectorate for formal examination.

Please pass this communication on to anyone else you think might be interested in getting involved.

BBC v Cabinet Office: parallels to Knowle relocation Freedom of Information debacle

Extract from the post directly below:

“I should declare an interest as someone who has made FOI requests to the Cabinet Office [now in charge of “reviewing the FoI Act]and assisted colleagues in doing so. This is one example of a frustrating recent experience:

21 March 2013: BBC makes FOI request to Cabinet Office for the cost of legal assistance provided for witnesses at the Leveson Inquiry.

2 August 2013: Cabinet Office replies, refusing to supply the information on the grounds it is intended for future publication (but without specifying a date).

20 August 2013: BBC asks the Cabinet Office to review its decision.

20 December 2013: BBC complains to ICO that the Cabinet Office has failed to respond to the internal review request.
31 December 2013: Cabinet Office responds, upholding the previous decision and still not providing a publication date.

15 January 2014: BBC complains to ICO about the Cabinet Office refusal.

19 March 2015: After taking over a year to consider the case, the ICO rules that the Cabinet Office stance is not reasonable and that it should give the information to the BBC without further delay. It states: “a denial of that right [of access to information] through procrastination is contrary to the spirit of the legislation”.

April 2015: Cabinet Office decides to appeal against the ICO decision to the Information Rights Tribunal. The case is set to be heard in September.

25 June 2015: The Cabinet Office suddenly withdraws its Tribunal appeal and announces that the cost involved was £287,491.10 – a fact which may well have been considerably more important and newsworthy when the initial request was made 27 months previously than it is now.

Cabinet Office which is now looking at weakening Freedom of Information Act has been in special monitoring – for delays in responding to FOI requests!

You couldn’t make it up: the government department now in charge of looking at ways to weaken the Freedom of Information Act

… has twice been subject to special monitoring by the ICO due to its inadequate performance on processing FOI applications. It’s possible that the Cabinet Office may now face this for a third time.

“In the last two months or so we’ve issued six decision notices against the Cabinet Office for exceeding the statutory time limit – it’s not a good record,” says Graham Smith, the deputy information commissioner.