An enforcable Local Plan “soon”: most definitely not there yet

Diviani’s press release says:

“… I can, however, say that the report concludes that both the Local Plan and CIL charging schedule are sound and can move to adoption subject to main modifications. …”

So, what are “main modifications”?

Here is an explanation:

“What if modifications are required to make a submitted Local Plan sound?”

The Inspector can recommend ‘main modifications’ (changes that materially affect the policies) to make a submitted Local Plan sound and legally compliant only if asked to do so by the local planning authority under section 20(7C) of the 2004 Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act as amended). The council can also put forward ’additional modifications’ of its own to deal with more minor matters.

Where the changes recommended by the Inspector would be so extensive as to require a virtual re-writing of the Local Plan, the Inspector is likely to suggest that the local planning authority withdraws the plan. Exceptionally, under section 21 (9) (a) of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004, the Secretary of State has the power to direct a local planning authority to withdraw its submitted plan.

Inspectors will require the local planning authority to consult upon all proposed main modifications. Depending on the scope of the modifications, further Sustainability Appraisal work may also be required. The Inspector’s report on the plan will only be issued once the local planning authority has consulted on the main modifications and the Inspector has had the opportunity to consider the representations on these.

Whether to advertise any ‘additional modifications’ is at the discretion of the local planning authority, but they may wish to do so at the same time as consulting on the main modifications..”

So, it seems these main modifications will have to be put to consultation – again and possibly Sustainability Appraisals will need to be prepared. And then the Inspector has to consider responses – again.

Will we see an adopted Local Plan “soon” as Diviani intimates? Well, it all depends on your definition of “soon”!

And, in the meantime, our developers will continue to run amok.

Does Councillor Stuart Hughes understand what “confidential” means?

Leader Diviani made it clear that the draft Local Plan is confidential until EDDC has formally responded to Mr Thickett and until facts have been checked and he disclosed nothing except that it allows for 17,000 new homes.

So, how come in today’s Sidmouth Herald (page 5), Councillor Stuart Hughes announced that Mr Thickett has decided that employment land at Sidford will not be included?

Will Councillor Hughes be reported to the Monitoring Officer?

If it had been an Independent Councillor making the announcement in the press, would he or she have engendered the ire of Councillor Twiss?

Some questions about our Local Enterprise Partnership

Does it have an office and staff? If so, where, how many staff and what do they do? They are managing a LOT of money. Do they have an accountant? Do they have a human resources person?

Where do they meet and how often? All its members have other (presumably full-time) jobs so how do they manage to fit LEP business in with their own interests?

How do they decide their agendas? Who takes the minutes?

Do they declare an interest if they are discussing something that impinges on their day jobs?

Do each of them have “special interests” and, if so, what are they?

They have a ” Partnership Manager” – how does he/she decide what partnerships to forge? Do they give their partners money? If so, how much?

Are they or their staff being paid expenses or pensions?

Does anyone have a company car or other perks?

Who audits their accounts? Internal and external?

Why have they never held a public meeting?

You might be able to think of more questions?

Wainhomes hit the headlines yet again: and not in a good way

Wainhomes certainly seems to know how to upset people, including the police, yet it just seems to be water off the duck’s back (or perhaps water anywhere but the right place!).

1 November 2015: Police in St Austell object to WAunhomes building houses on grounds that “the design of the development may encourage antisocial and criminal behaviour”:

2 January 2016: Wainhomes being investigated by West Devon Borough Council for possible breach of Section 106 conditions, something the residents of Feniton will find familiar:

Sidmouth: a chance for EDDC to get regeneration right for once

Letter published in Sidmouth Herald:


The seemingly heavy-handed ‘regeneration’ of nearby coastal towns does not bode well for Sidmouth. The sell-off in Seaton has left it dominated by Tesco, and it appears to me a loose agreement to build affordable homes has been broken since the supermarket giant fell on hard times.

I believe things are not looking good, either, in Exmouth. The plans presented to the public there, for a seafront leisure complex, bear little resemblance to the residential development now proposed. Long-established small businesses have apparently been swept aside.

This week, EDDC’s regeneration team have turned their attention to Sidmouth, with an agreement to do a £10,000 ‘scoping report’ for the eastern end of the town, with the Town Council contributing £2,000. This arrangement suggests who is likely to have the most say.

Fortunately, much of the ‘scoping’ has already been done, voluntarily, by local organisations. In 2006, the Vision Group for Sidmouth presented EDDC with a detailed study on behalf of the town’s “residents, visitors and businesses”. More recently, the Save the Drill Hall campaign produced
architect’s plans of how that building could be transformed.

And right now, in a new and timely initiative, an international architecture competition has been launched, based on what local people want, — and don’t want. The
simple questions in phase 1-public consultation , can be completed at this link:

Find out more at a free public Information drop-in session, this Saturday , 9 Jan, 10-12noon, Leigh Browne Room, Old Meeting Dissenters’ Chapel (opposite High Street post office).

Best of all, the new Sidmouth Town Council are beginning work on a Neighbourhood Plan to establish what the town needs. If EDDC looks and listens, it could get the ‘regeneration’ right for THIS coastal town.

Jackie Green

All you need is trust, says Diviani

Chairing Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting at Knowle (6 Jan 2016), the Leader was in ebullient mood, announcing that the Local Plan is likely to be adopted quite soon, and that Lidl is now taking what was to be Sainsbury distribution site on the so-called ‘intermodal hub’, creating 450 new jobs. It was not specified how many of the jobs would be well-paid.

He was still upbeat, when Cllr Ian Thomas (Con) emphasised the financial risks threatening EDDC’s Budget, and that in the coming years, the relationship with the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) would be crucial.

Cllr Phil Twiss agreed that you “can’t underestimate the impact of Devolution,” as he’d learned from the counterparts from northern powerhouse councils, whom he’d recently met at Warwick Business School. “There was much uncertainty”, he said.

The leader had the solution. “The most important thing you need is trust” he told his Cabinet colleagues – adding jocularly, “We don’t trust the government, and they don’t trust us”.