“Council questioned about Exmouth seafront application”

“District bosses say they will not begin building on Exmouth seafront if an application is approved, despite saying it would permit them to ‘take forward development’.

East Devon District Council (EDDC) has put in a reserved matters application for Queen’s Drive, seeking detailed permission for facilities. EDDC says this will extend outline permission, and allow consultation, but opponents say it would allow building to begin.

Seeking clarification, the Journal approached EDDC, citing the Government’s Planning Portal website, which says: “When all of the reserved matters have been approved, work may begin.”

In response, a spokesman said: “A planning permission that can be implemented is very important. Therefore, the council has applied for approval of matters which were reserved under the outline planning permission. In other words, reserved matters is permission to take forward development, but the council’s development role is limited in budget and authority to build the new road and car park only. The rest of the site will be delivered later and in full consultation with the public.”

When the Journal asked why the application was needed for the road and car park when reserved matters for these had already been approved, the spokesman said: “Yes, the council has a reserved matters approval already for the road and car park but it is necessary for the council to secure reserved matters for the entire site (phases two and three as well as phase one) before the road and car park can be built. In any event, the council will only start works on moving them when it is sure that [developer] Grenadier has secured planning permission for its watersports centre.

“Reserved matters on the rest of the site also enables Grenadier to take forward their plans to consultation, design and planning.”

In response, Independent EDA district councillor Megan Armstrong, who has previously criticised the plans, said: “Why don’t EDDC simply acknowledge the fact that approval of a reserved matters application is a full permission to build without further planning applications or consultation?

“The Government says ‘When all of the reserved matters have been approved, work may begin on the site’. So why doesn’t the council come clean instead of using back door tactics and obscure wording?

“I also find it most bizarre that the district council should apply for this when it seems that it has no intention of using it. What other planning applicant would do this, and at such huge cost to the council tax payer?”

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