From a correspondent: 

Clyst St Mary residents are very disappointed that Burrington Estates’ major development proposals for Winslade Park (which were exhibited at a recent Public Consultation in the Clyst St Mary Village Hall) were very different to those that are now submitted to East Devon District Council Planning in Application Number 20/1001/MOUT.

This appears to make a mockery of the whole process of Developers’ informing local communities of proposals and seems a mere ‘box-ticking’ exercise to satisfy bureaucratic administrative requirements. It shows contempt for localism and the democratic rights and powers for communities and the people who live in East Devon and has now resulted in a lack of trust between the residents and Burrington Estates that proudly advertise their Company as a quality, award-winning developer.

The Public Consultation included many innovative ideas for the regeneration of Winslade Park that were, indeed, imaginative and exciting and appealed to the community. However, the bad news is that, once again, Developers’ greed has reared its ugly head and they have now attempted to squeeze two pints into a pint pot – thus ruining what could have been one of the most incredible developments in Devon and beyond.

Instead of refurbishing some of the commercial floorspace to provide housing on this vast brownfield area, Burringtons have opted to divert 78 residential houses on to a valued, community sports field (that was not included in the original Public Consultation exhibition) and an adjacent agricultural field. Furthermore, since the Public Consultation, they have replaced the design of a cluster of 14 traditional houses sited opposite the Grade II Listed Manor House to now be replaced by a hideous, three-storey rectangular box design to accommodate a further 59 apartments, that is contrary to the Design Statement in the Neighbourhood Plan. These will overlook existing residents’ properties from two of the storeys, especially during six months of the year when the deciduous trees behind them will provide very little screening!

The 150 allocation for homes on the brownfield areas in the Local Plan does not give carte blanche to divert major residential development to green field areas. These green field areas are specifically protected against development in both the 2016 East Devon Local Development Plan to 2031 (incorporating the 2018 Villages Plan) and in the 2017 Made Bishops Clyst Neighbourhood Plan. Moreover, these green field areas are outside of the 2018 Clyst St Mary Built-Up Area Boundaries for development.

Having obviously had an awareness of the challenges before purchasing this large commercial site (including high risk flood areas) – their submission now maintains that they must build on green fields to achieve viability for the whole masterplan, whilst developing more business units and car parking on high risk flood zones because they believe these uses pose a less vulnerable flood risk than housing!

By substantially increasing the past employment floorspace to provide around 3,000 jobs (compared to a peak of around 1,500 jobs in the past) plus the traffic from 137 new homes will result in complete traffic gridlock at peak times for this village and the wider community.

They appear not to see the error of their ways but, hopefully, East Devon District Council Planners can salvage the best of such an incredible development opportunity and advise them to submit more high-grade designs and quality rather than quantity!