Further consultation on new documents submitted by Sidford Business Park developer

New documents to “provide further reassurance”. Er, further implies there was reassurance in the first place! More than a touch of spin speak PR there!


Consultation extended to 16 September 2016.

Owl wonders who told Ford’s “further reassurance” would be a good move …

Such a fraught and confusing road so far …

Tory Dorset MP slams council mergers as anti-democratic

Plans to reorganise local government in Dorset in a bid to save cash are an “attack against democracy”, an MP has claimed.

Chief executives from all nine councils in the county presented four shake-up options at a meeting on Thursday night.

Proposals include the possible merger of Bournemouth, Poole, Christchurch and East Dorset.

Christchurch MP Chris Chope said merger plans would be “suicide” for residents.

Dorset’s councils said they receive £142m less per year in government funding now than in 2010-11, and need to cut spending by £200m a year by 2019-20, with further cuts of £30.4m estimated by 2025.

Anthony Alford, leader of West Dorset District Council and vice-chairman of the Dorset Leaders’ Growth Board, said considering change was “essential” in order to reduce costs “and ensure councils are sustainable for the future”.


Aahh, a “Dorset Leaders Growth Board” – shades of our old East Devon Business Forum and our Local Enterprise Partnership! True, no democracy there!

“Developers deliberately restricting housing supply to keep prices high”

“Developers have been accused of deliberately restricting the supply of new houses to keep prices high after figures suggested that planning permission has been granted for 750,000 homes which have not been built.

A report by Civitas, a respected right of centre thinktank, found that overall more than two million planning permits were issued between 2006 and 2015, a rate which would be enough to build average of 204,000 new homes a year.

However, foundations were only been laid on 1.26 million of them, suggesting that developers and land owners are sitting on the permissions rather than building new homes. …

… campaigners said that they should have included a “sunset clause” which would have forced developers to build on land granted planning permission within a set time period. …

… The analysis shows that between 2011 – the last full year before the changes were introduced – and 2015, the number of unused planning permits jumped by 88 per cent, while new housing starts increased by just 26 per cent.

One third of “unbuilt planning permissions” were thought to be held by non-builders, Civitas said, which “points to land hoarding in the hope of further rises in land values”.

Civitas accused housebuilders of reducing sales to a “drip-feed” to maintain profit margins.

Daniel Bentley, editorial director at Civitas, said: “David Cameron’s relaxation of the planning rules has so far only been to the advantage of developers, who have banked the additional planning permissions and topped up their pipelines for future years without increasing output.

“The challenge for Theresa May’s government now is to break the stranglehold that the major housebuilders are exerting on the supply of new homes.”

He added: “It is increasingly evident that the brake on development is being applied by those who are sitting on land which is ripe for new homes and has been given the all-clear by planning authorities.

“This includes land speculators, who are content to sit tight while their holdings spiral in value, but is mostly housebuilders, who lack any incentive to get on and build the homes the country needs.

“Housebuilders are drip-feeding the market in order to push up prices and maximise their profits.”

Last night MPs said they would investigate the figures as part of a new cross-party Parliamentary inquiry into the UK’s sluggish house building rates.

Clive Betts MP, the chairman of the Communities and Local Government select committee, said: “Planning reforms will be a failure unless the Government can act and turn planning permissions into completions.


Now it’s West Hill’s turn to go under siege from developers

“A PIECE of land in the centre of West Hill could be transformed into more than 30 homes, a satellite doctors surgery and a gastro pub.

A coffee shop, pharmacy, bowling club, land for the village’s pre-school, and underground parking may also feature in pending proposals for a two and a half acre site opposite McColls in West Hill Road.

That is what scores of residents have been told by Councillors Claire Wright and Jo Talbot, who fear development of what is known as Copper Trust land could see more than 200 extra vehicle movements in the area a day.

Any such move would come hot on the heels of widely derided Blue Cedar Homes plans to build 50 dwellings on land near Eastfield that have garnered controversy and hundreds of objections.

“Either scheme, if approved, is likely to prompt other developers to submit their own applications, citing these examples as a precedent for their proposals to be accepted,” warned the Ottery town councillors in a letter to Ashley Brake, Elsdon Lane, Ford Lane, Beech Park and West Hill Road householders.”


Hinkley and the threat to marine life

“A combination of radioactivity and warming seas could make the waters of the Bristol Channel near the proposed Hinkley Point nuclear power station more dangerous for marine creatures, a new study has found.

EDF, which will build the Somerset power station if Prime Minister Theresa May gives the green light, already has an Environment Agency permit to release water containing tritium into the seawater.

Tritium is a radioactive form of hydrogen, found naturally in small doses, and at much higher levels in nuclear power stations’ cooling water.” …