SAVE CLYST ST MARY – FEBRUARY UPDATE

“Apologies for the length of this update. There have recently been a number of significant developments with regard to planning applications of which we feel you should be aware. You are therefore strongly urged to read the whole document.

As always, thank you for your continued support; we remain committed to protecting Clyst St Mary from inappropriate developments.

1. Local Plan

The most significant event since the last update has been the formal adoption of the Local Plan by EDDC. In theory this should protect the village from further large scale development other than the 150 houses on the brown field areas of the former Friends Provident site.

At the meeting of the Parish Council on 8th February, which was attended by members of our Campaign Group, Councillor Howe gave a very warm and upbeat welcome to the Plan and emphasised that it would give EDDC the clout it needed to prevent inappropriate development of green field sites. He also said that the Planning Committee had already refused several planning applications in East Devon on the basis they were not in accordance with the Plan.

We hope that this robust approach will be sustained when the planning applications for the Friends Provident site are eventually scrutinised by the Planning Committee. We are very fortunate that our District Councillor lives in the village and has been such a strong supporter of our Campaign against inappropriate development over the past 12 months. We are particularly grateful for his input to the draft of the Local Plan last March which resulted in the house numbers for the Friends Provident site being reduced from some around 300 to 150.

Within the Plan we have our own map! This clearly shows the playing fields of the Friends Provident site and the Plymouth Brethren field as remaining green and where building will not be permitted.

Interestingly it also shows the areas that become flooded when Grindle Brook bursts the banks, as it has several times this winter. You can view the map in the online version of this update on our website http://www.saveclyststmary.org.uk

2. Future of the Friends Provident Playing Fields

The Save Clyst St Mary Campaign Group has consistently taken a robust line that the green areas in and around Clyst House should remain green and, as already mentioned, we have been successful by having this included in the Local Plan.

We do not see it as being in our remit to get involved in deciding what these green spaces would be used for in future or how they should be administered. We feel this is a matter for the Parish Council. Our assumption and hope has always been that the existing sports pitches would remain and continue to be used by local sports teams to the benefit of the village and wider community.

At the Public Meeting held at the Village Hall on 16th November we listened with interest as Mr Peter Cain, who has a role in the administration of Clyst Valley Football Club, outlined his vision for the future of the sports fields. Our understanding that he has consulted with various sports related bodies and the agents for the Friends Provident Site.

We are also aware that the Parish Council has formed a Sport and Recreation Committee which will eventually be responsible for the administration of the sports fields and hold the land in some form of trusteeship.

Mr Cain also made some suggestions regards agreeing the release of some parts of the green field for house building in order to give something back to Friends Provident for allowing the sports pitches to remain as such. This is something we would strongly oppose because it would be against the Local Plan.

At the Parish Council Meeting on 8th February further details of these plans came to light and these are now causing us concern.

The Parish Council have been briefed by a representative of the agents, JLL, about a plan to build around 100-150 extra houses on the Plymouth Brethren field and in a line running from the Brethren field eastwards towards Clyst House.

The Parish Council has been sounded out by JLL about the possibility of a three way land swap. This would involve swapping the current Clyst Valley Football field for a new pitch on the Friends Site. The Plymouth Brethren land would swopped be for the Clyst Valley Football Pitch. An application would then be made to build a Plymouth Brethren meeting hall and large car park on the pitch.

These are proposals in principle and until a formal application is submitted the Parish Council cannot comment.

At this time we do not know the exact status of the football field land beyond that it is held in some sort of trust and from hearsay that it may have been given to the football club and/or village many years ago. If you can help us in any way with more information please get in touch.

It was confirmed at the Parish Council meeting by Councillor Howe that the trustees of the Football Club had agreed in principle with JLL to a land swap.

Obviously this is very disturbing news because it runs contrary to the aims of our Campaign Group, the Local Plan and the soon to adopted Neighbourhood Plan. We must now await the submission of fresh planning applications by JLL and the Plymouth Brethren. In the meantime we will keep you updated on further developments by email and on the website at http://www.saveclyststmary.org.uk.

When and if appropriate we will ask the Parish Council to call another Public Meeting in the Village Hall.

Over the past 12 months we have, with your invaluable support, achieved a great deal. Providing we stick together as residents and remain strong we will succeed in blocking further appropriate development from whatever quarter. As a village we are now in a far stronger position with the full backing of a Local Plan and very soon the Neighbourhood Plan.

3. Neighbourhood Plan

This is currently in the final consultation phase and is expected to be published in May. Once in place this will provide a further level of protection against the onslaught of the property developers. It can be seen at http://www.planning.bishopsclyst.co.uk/

For those that would prefer to look at a printed copy, it can be seen, until 1st March, at the following locations:

Cat & Fiddle Inn
Clyst St Mary Church
Clyst St Mary Post Office (Mills)
Clyst St Mary School
Clyst St Mary Village Hall
Half Moon Inn
Sowton Church
Sowton Village.

4. Foul smell coming from the Digester (pink ‘bubble’ situated in Oil Mill Lane)

Should you smell a strong odour which you believe is coming from the digester, remember that this needs to be reported to the Environmental Agency on an individual basis (they will not accept a group complaint). It is simple to do this: telephone (free) 0800 80 70 60.

5. Traffic Action Group
(distributed on behalf of the Parish Council)
As a member of our Parish Council, I am aware that there are any number of concerns relating to traffic, speeding, and general pedestrian and driver safety within the village and around the Parish.

One thing has become very apparent when pursuing any traffic related issue. Because Devon Highways are so cash strapped, and from experience difficult to communicate with, it has been suggested that a Traffic Action Group be formed.

If you have an issue you wish to raise, then so far as Devon Highways go, they require documented evidence of any problems. Therefore we are looking to local residents to write in to the Parish Council together with any photographic evidence highlighting their concerns.

It is no good grumbling to neighbours, or in the pub or shop, or even to your PC. Written documentation is what is needed, sent to your PC, so it can be collated and prioritised before approaching Devon Highways. As with so many local government departments, the more letters and pieces of evidence presented to them, the more likely they will take notice.
This is especially so if a safety issue plays an important role in any given concern. But it must be supported by as many individual missives as can be got together.

Therefore your Parish Council is encouraging you all to put pen to paper, or fingers to E-mail: bishopsclyst@gmail.com .If any of you wish to participate in helping to run an Action group you would be most welcome. You would not have to be a Parish Councillor as the group would gather information to present to the PC.

It seems that in the present climate of local and central government austerity, local lobbying as I have described is becoming an essential way of getting things done within a community like ours.

6. Flood insurance survey
(letter distributed on behalf of the Parish Council)
Dear Supporter

Please help Flood Re with research about the cost of flood insurance

The cost of flood insurance is high on the news agenda again following the flood damage caused by Storms Desmond, Eva and Frank. It is only two years since the previous significant flood event in the UK and experts predict that the risk of flooding is set to increase even further.

A new scheme called Flood Re has been set up by the insurance industry with the support of the Government to help those struggling to find affordable home insurance and will launch in April 2016.

In order to better understand what impact the new scheme will have, it is important for Flood Re to measure the availability and cost of home insurance now and then compare this with data collected after the launch in April.

National Flood Forum would like you to contribute to this research by taking part in an online survey. This study is being carried out by Consumer Intelligence http://www.consumerintelligence.com on behalf of Flood Re http://www.floodre.co.uk . It should take less than 10 minutes of your time to complete and as a thank you for helping Flood Re with this vital work, Consumer Intelligence will send you £5 via email to a registered PayPal account or if you prefer, they will donate £5 on your behalf to the National Flood Forum.

What do you need to do?

Simply complete the online response via the link below. Flood Re will use this information to obtain home insurance quotations at four points during 2016 and 2017. Your details will not be used for any other purpose without prior consent. https://consumerintelligence.fluidsurveys.com/s/flood_research/

National Flood Forum hopes that enough people will participate in the research to demonstrate how effective Flood Re is at making household insurance available to households in flood risk areas and that this can be used to shape and develop the scheme in the future.

N.B. There are still a few places left on the FloodRe roundtable discussions notably Reading (18th Feb), Wrexham (22nd Feb), York (25th Feb) and Gloucester (3rd March) for further details please contact Laura Furman on laura.furman@floodre.co.uk.

Now Honiton Post Office under threat of closure

No post office in Cranbrook (see below) Where WILL EDDC new Honiton HQ take its mail! And what if a local newsagent’s internet connection won’t work as in Cranbrook?

“Honiton is up for franchise for a private company to take over and run.

This often means the current office will close and the services move into a nearby newsagent.

Terry Pullinger, deputy general secretary of the CWU, said: “Tragically, this is yet another horrendous example of broken promises, irresponsible government and chronic mismanagement by the Post Office.

“The Post Office should never have been split from Royal Mail – natural synergies and public services have been sacrificed for greed and profit.”

CWU assistant secretary Andy Furey added: “This is devastating news for our members.

“It is death by a thousand cuts.

“The proposals disregard the wealth of expertise, experience and sense of pride in public duty which is shared by Crown post office employees.”

Roger Gale, Post Office’s General Manager of the Crown network, said: “In some locations, directly-run Crown Post Office branches work well but in others there are alternatives, such as franchising, which can work better for the business and its customers, not just in terms of access to Post Office services but also in relation to long term viability.

“We need to continue to make changes to strengthen the Crown network and we have today announced that we are seeking suitable potential retail partners to work with us on providing franchised services for 39 branches and we are proposing to close three branches in areas where it is no longer viable to keep a Crown branch. ”

http://www.exeterexpressandecho.co.uk/Honiton-Post-Office-shut-appearing-list-loss/story-28584427-detail/story.html

There is a 38 Degrees petition about the possible closure:
https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/page/m/74c072b8/2d2955d6/697e8ab0/4626d5d2/1140650619/VEsA/

Does Local Enterprise Partnership trump local and neighbourhood plans: if so, who said so and why bother getting them?

A correspondent writes:

I must be very naïve as I am at a loss to work out where the LEP gets a remit to make policies on housing.

The latest “board minutes” for November 2015 include a report from the Housing Task and Finish group.” [Who are members of this group, how long has it been meeting? What does it DO?] It was noted that much of this paper is relevant to Devolution in terms of offering a local solution, and it was suggested that rural villages and small towns had a role to play in addressing housing shortages which would also benefit the viability of small communities.”

The councillors, the bureaucrats and indeed the people of East Devon have sweated blood [and spent a great deal of money] over many years to acquire a Local Plan and have an agreed figure for the district of 17,100 new houses until 2031. In conjunction with this plan the majority of rural villages and small towns have or are developing Neighbourhood Plans.

Surely the rural villages and small towns are already making – and will continue to do so in the future – significant contributions to addressing housing shortages?

Will LEP policies take precedence over the Local and Neighbourhood Plans?

Can someone help me solve this one?”

Cranbrook can’t have a post office as Co-op and BT systems can’t talk to each other

th2In your dreams!

See the front page of the Cranbrook Herald for this gobsmacking story. There will be no post office for at least this year until each side works out how their systems can talk to each other (if at all).

http://www.cranbrookherald.com/home

The Co-op’s fibre system is called “See the Light” – except you can’t. So, no child benefit, no disability benefits, no old age pension if you rely on a Post Office for them. And as there is yet no bank, no banking services either, no travel money (well at least the airport is nearby!) and no sending parcels.

The nearest post office is in Broadclyst, for which you will need a car – otherwise take the bus to Ottery St Mary or Exeter.

A new town without a Post Office – what would Postman Pat and his black and white cat think!

AND the town council is VERY unhappy about the provision of 30 traveller sites in Cranbrook, now the Local Plan has been approved.

Prominence is also given to Councillor Cathy Gardner’s reservations about devolution plans.

“Seafront campaign group issues set of questions from seafront users in response to EDDC’s own Q&As”

PRESS RELEASE
15 February 2016

“The Save Exmouth Seafront Campaign Group (SES) welcomed the news in January 2016, that East Devon District Council (EDDC) pledged to publish a set of question and answers in relation to the Queen’s Drive Development.

However the questions and answers, which have now been published online and in local media, are disappointingly vague and fail to address key concerns. The questions EDDC answered were not truly representative of the concerns of seafront users. As such SES has compiled a list of questions that they would like to see answered by EDDC, to actually address the concerns of those who use the seafront.

Louise MacAllister, SES spokesperson, stated that “SES would like to challenge EDDC to answer the questions which we have compiled, from seafront users, and the recurring themes found within the Seafront Survey of 2015.

The entirety of plans for Queen’s Drive have been shrouded in secrecy all along, understandably this only increases the anger of seafront users towards EDDC and the imposition of a largely unwanted seafront development.

While EDDC claim to listen to the public’s views, they have to date, failed to acknowledge the findings of the Seafront Survey, simply brushing off the thoughts and feelings of the public. To give honest answers to these questions would at least demonstrate that EDDC are listening to the public as they claim to be”.

SES would also like to point out that since the release of EDDC’s Q&As, it has been revealed that although EDDC linked Nando’s to the development, Nando’s have no intention of opening a branch in Exmouth. SES are concerned that if the Q&As have misled the public in this respect, what else within the Q&A document is mis-representing what is actually planned?”

QUESTIONS

Save Exmouth Seafront
Questions about the Queen’s Drive re-development:
Compiled by Exmouth residents and seafront visitors

Consultation

There are many paragraphs in East Devon District Council’s (EDDC) double page spread which explain who EDDC previously consulted and how. So why does EDDC appear to be deliberately misleading readers by omitting to disclose the actual results of that consultation? Why are the public being misled on this issue? Those previous consultations netted very few responses and, of those that did respond the majority did not support the proposed changes. Will EDDC accept the challenge to immediately issue to local media an honest version of those results.

In light of the small consultation numbers, why will EDDC not commit to undertaking a further independent consultation, and as soon as possible?
Does EDDC recognise that the initial consultation was misleading in stating ‘NO permanent residential’ and overstating the potential for children’s outdoor space, and that therefore further independent consultation should be undertaken?

Regeneration and project management

Why, if EDDC is set on ‘regenerating’ Exmouth, are they concentrating on altering a large part of our seafront, and creating in effect a separate ‘estate’ of shops, flats and restaurants, instead of regenerating Exmouth town centre, which many recognise as an area in far more need of ‘regeneration’?

Where is the evidence of need for the ‘regeneration’ of Exmouth’s seafront?
Where is the proof of how much extra income would be generated for the town, (as opposed to EDDC)?

When will there be a café at Orcombe Point? This has been raised time and again for years. Why is this not taking priority?

What is the rationale behind forcing the closure of existing businesses now, when the development is in 3 stages, especially the incredibly popular Model Railway/Carriage Café site which had to close last September?

Why is the leader of Exmouth’s regeneration a councillor, living at least half an hour’s drive away, with no known connection to the town? How can he act in the best interests of a town to which he has no connection?
Has EDDC made plans to support local tourism through the many years of ‘redevelopment’ in which many regular visitors will leave, and possibly not return?

If this project goes ahead, and the businesses that open on the Queen’s Drive fail, will EDDC bail them out with public money as it did with Ocean, which, unlike the independently trading is subsidised by EDDC?

Developers and investors

What is the ‘market research’ undertaken to ascertain demand for a cinema, and who undertook this research? Does it demonstrate that the existing cinema will remain a viable and thriving business? When will the findings of this market research be made public?

With so much at stake for the future of Exmouth’s seafront, why would EDDC risk the likelihood of completion of the replacement scheme, by being in talks with Moirai as the preferred developer, when Moirai have filed for bankruptcy and recently had swathes of their company struck off the Companies House Register? Moirai do not have any track record of excellence or even completion of previous projects.

With the credibility of the preferred developers in question, what will happen if they become unable to complete the project?

Businesses

What will be the criteria for leases to be given to those wanting to take on a lease on the development?

Will EDDC commit not to discriminate in any way against existing seafront businesses, should they wish to take on a lease on the development?
Does EDDC recognise the importance of local knowledge in running businesses on the seafront, especially when it comes to challenging Winter conditions?
Will the development include fast food outlets?

What evidence has been obtained or proposed to suggest that existing food outlets, primarily in the town, will not be adversely affected by drawing people away?

Similarly, what evidence has been obtained or proposed to suggest demand for the eight food outlets on Queen’s Drive?

What are the 175 jobs to be created in the ‘wider development’?

Environment

How does EDDC intend to meet the habitat regulations with respect to the development?

In light of the challenging Winter conditions on The Queen’s Drive, does EDDC recognise that a development of this nature would be better placed on an out of town location such as the Liverton Business Park, which could potentially have dual access from Concorde Road?

Accessibility

Will the development include improving wheelchair/pram access to beach and amenities?

Families

What are the three generational, all weather leisure activities provided in the new development (apart from eating)?

What is the justification for the reduction in space for children’s play from 14,500 square feet, to just 3430 square feet, as per EDDC’s response to an FOI request on 27th August 2015.

Free Play and Water Play

Free play and water play is a much vaunted aspect of the development, indeed the original consultation called the development ‘The Splash’, suggesting it would be predominantly water play. Yet there is to date no details around this. Why not? It must by now be possible to offer some detail and for the people to evaluate if this is worth the otherwise unwelcome features suggested?

Why did the ‘Splash’ title disappear, to be replaced by the ‘Queen’s Drive Development’?

Water Sports Centre

Is the water sports centre going to be a private members club?
What evidence is there to suggest that the location of the proposed water sports centre is in fact safe, especially for novices? Has a safety study been carried out?

Will this be a centre actually offering a range of water sports for all, or will this be a kite-surfing centre?

What efforts have there been to ensure there is a viable desire for watching kite surfing festivals that warrants a new, large, dedicated building?

If such efforts have been made, when will the results be made public?

Why is it necessary to spoil an open aspect sea front promenade, that is appreciated by many, for the unproven benefit to a few?

Why did EDDC make so little effort to preserve an existing Spinnakers water sports centre in the docks area? This is a safer area and did incorporate facilities for experienced and trainee sailors.

What are the 45 jobs to be created at the water sports centre?

Visitors and other seafront users

What evidence is available to prove the current numbers of people visiting Exmouth seafront and beach?

What evidence is there that the ‘Queen’s Drive Development will attract even more people to Exmouth seafront and beach’? (As stated by EDDC’s question and answers – question 6).

Dogs

Does the council recognise that for many people, they come to Exmouth seafront because it is dog friendly? And therefore will there be a dog friendly café in any future development?

Right to buy makes huge paper profits for Treasury

“Rising house prices across much of England mean a government scheme to help buyers of newbuild property may have made more than £200m for the Treasury in its first two-and-a-half years.

The help-to-buy equity loan scheme gives buyers an interest-free loan for five years in return for a percentage stake in their property. When the home is sold, the buyer returns the same percentage of the sale price, meaning that any fall or rise in house prices affects the return.

Analysis by property firm Hometrack and shared with the Guardian suggests that a surge in house prices in some areas means the total value of homes bought through the scheme since its launch in April 2013 has increased by more than £1bn. ”

http://gu.com/p/4gt2v