More News on a Dorset and Devon national park

“We welcome the 8-Point Plan for England’s National Parks published by the Government on 23 March 2016.

The Plan sets out the Government’s ambition to put National Parks at the heart of how we think about the environment and rural economy in the future.

The Plan sees National Parks as:

Inspiring natural environments, which connect young people with nature
Thriving natural environments, which showcase the benefits of designated landscapes
Drivers of the rural economy, which generate income for local businesses, and support local communities, skills and employment
Landscapes and heritage which promote recreation, health and wellbeing, and encourage involvement and volunteering.
The Government’s Plan reflects our aims for the Dorset & East Devon National Park to promote a strong and sustainable local economy, thriving communities, and a healthy natural environment.

We look forward to Dorset and East Devon having the advantages and opportunities which other National Park areas already enjoy.

Based on evidence from the South Downs National Park, we estimate that the Dorset & East Devon National Park would bring additional funding of around £10m pa from central government, and further funding from other sources. Working fully in partnership with local people – communities, businesses, farmers, landowners, local authorities, voluntary organisations – and the Local Enterprise Partnership, the National Park Authority would invest and spend resources to benefit the local economy.

In addition to the direct economic benefits of National Park funding, wide-ranging economic opportunities would be available to businesses and communities within and around the National Park.

The area’s fine natural environment is its greatest economic asset. A recent report for Dorset County Council confirms this. A Dorset & East Devon National Park would help the area to make the most of its natural assets.

We look forward to working with Dorset & East Devon stakeholders, including Local Authorities and communities, and with Natural England and the Government, to make these ambitions a reality.

We ask Dorset councils to ensure that a National Park is included in Dorset’s bid for local government re-organisation and devolution in early 2017.”

Still time to comment on NPPF failings

“Last week, the Local Plans Expert Group (LPEG) established by the Communities Secretary, Greg Clark MP and the Minister of Housing and Planning, Brandon Lewis MP, in September 2015, to consider how local plan making can be made more efficient and effective, published their report which is available here

The Department for Communities and Local Government is inviting comments on the recommendations by 27 April 2016. We are concerned that this is yet another manifesto written by developers and property investors and does not reflect the needs and desires of the residents of our green and pleasant land. If you have any comments which we should include in our response please send them to us as soon as possible. Please also consider sending a response of your own.

Responses can be sent via and representations can also be sent to

Thank you

Community Voice on Planning
A National Alliance to provide communities with an effective voice on planning”

EDDC councillors slammed for voting like sheep

“A district watchdog has called for evidence-based decision-making after the conduct of some council members was called into question.

Councillors admitted being swayed by ‘powerful speakers’ when they agreed on last-minute changes to the draft East Devon Local Plan against the advice of officers and on the basis of claims that later proved unfounded.

Votes taken in the final stages of developing the document – which sets out a planning blueprint for the region – saw Dunkeswell and Chardstock added to a list of villages classed as ‘sustainable’ and thus suitable for further development.

Both decisions have now been overruled by the Planning Inspectorate, but members of East Devon District Council’s (EDDC) scrutiny committee have criticised the process that allowed the controversial votes to be taken without any evidence being checked.

Speaking before the committee on Thursday, March 17, Chardstock parish councillor David Everett said: “Chardstock is now – as far as the East Devon Local Plan is concerned
 – unsustainable.

“But the damage has been done because we now have five houses we should never have had.”

The meeting heard how Councillor Andrew Moulding had spoken out in support of a developer and proposed Chardstock be classed as ‘sustainable’.

An extraordinary meeting of the full council days later saw Dunkeswell added to the list with voters swayed by claims that a school was due to be built in the village – information that was later found to be erroneous.

Scrutiny chairman Councillor Roger Giles asked if members should have been debating and making major changes to the Local Plan at such a late stage without any evidence and against the recommendations of the chief executive.

Committee members argued that this should not have been allowed, but officers at the meeting said it is down to elected councillors to make decisions and, if there is not enough evidence, they should have declined to vote.

It was recommended that all councillors in future should beware of taking claims at face value and make decisions on the basis of factual evidence.”