From a correspondent:
Update to the meeting between Burrington Estates and The Parish Council – 9/9/20
A number of the Save Clyst St Mary team attended the meeting that took place in the village hall on Wednesday night. Burrington Estates gave a short presentation on their revised scheme, with a question and answer session at the end. We remain extremely concerned by a number of the answers given and the fact that there remains nothing written down in the planning application regarding a number of the contentious items. The planning application is at an outline stage and although there are some excellent facilities shown, it must be remembered that this is an indicative proposal. This potentially could result in many significant changes before the final application is given approval. This planning application has many elements to it and there are some good proposals in the application. Thank you for all the objections so far, for those households that still want to object please can I remind you that the closing date for objection to the revised scheme is 16th September. I have attached a copy of our template objection letter. As I previously said I am happy to take paper copies to East Devon (please post through our door 11 Clyst Valley Rd) or they can be emailed directly to email@example.com
Below are listed some of our concerns and the responses given by Burrington Estates on Wednesday evening:-
- Although these amendments are an improvement on the original application – do you understand why local public trust was lost, when major changes were made to the proposals after the Public Consultation and this has proved damaging to the relationship between the parties and generated 155 initial objections? However, there is support for sustainable employment numbers, for the renovation of the historic buildings, the introduction of cafes, bars, retail outlets and services, the reinstatement of the outdoor and indoor sports, leisure and fitness facilities and the swimming pool for use by the community.
The developers acknowledged that they submitted a very different application to the one shown at the Public Consultation in the village hall.
- As professional planners you are aware that national planning laws are endorsed in Local Development Plans with the purpose of governing what is appropriate and what is inappropriate development.
So why have you ignored planning policies in the East Devon Local Plan, the Neighbourhood Plan and the National Planning Policy Framework by proposing 54 homes on green fields in Zone A that are specifically protected in the Local Plan; by replacing 14 supportable traditional dwellings (shown at the Public Consultation) with an incongruous, towering 40-apartment block structure in Zone D; by exclusively planning for only employment uses when Strategy 26B allocates conversion primarily for housing and by developing in flood risk areas – all of which have now culminated in the creation of an immensely large development which will pressurise existing oversubscribed infrastructure (particularly highways) and is contrary to countless policies in the Local Plans for the protection of communities?
Burrington Estates are claiming that the site remains not viable to refurbish without development on the green fields. We asked if it’s not viable, why have they started work on the site and what happens if approval isn’t given the go ahead? Burringtons claim that they are taking a commercial risk.
- Can you understand the concerns within the community that the original Transport and Economic Impact Assessments contained major flaws that were highlighted by experts commissioned by the Parish Council, so there is continuing scepticism concerning the validity of economic data and statements that suggest that the entire development will not be financially viable without the housing in Zones A and D? Burringtons purchased this complicated site with a full awareness of the planning history and environmental limitations and it is unacceptable to declare viability issues at this stage.
Burringtons are claiming that they have now met and satisfied the consultees’ concerns but we still have apprehension that their figures and data regarding traffic simply don’t stack up.
- In the light of decisions made by the new East Devon District Council regime, where they opted to withdraw from the Greater Exeter Strategic Plan, raising concerns about sizeable developments detrimentally affecting the characteristics of rural districts without supporting infrastructure guarantees – surely sustainable development, providing quality rather than quantity would be more appropriate instead of submitting incongruous proposals which equate to requesting planners to ignore statutory planning policy and promote excessive development in a small, rural village community?
The developers stated they build quality housing
- Is it acceptable to build in flood risk areas without substantial flood relief measures being in place? Burringtons appear to accept that flooding will occur at times in the new sizeable Zone J parking areas – but where are 395 vehicles going to park when Zone J is under water – existing approach roads and residential area?
We remain extremely sceptical that areas that were designated flood zones on the site will still be flooding. The developers stated they have a very sophisticated flood plan and in the event that the car parks were going to flood, areas of them would be closed off prior to the flooding.
- Highways England had concerns regarding traffic from a potential workforce of between 2,500 and 3,000 (figures quoted by Burringtons at the Public Consultation). However, your amendments now appear to predict 1,381 jobs and 1,068 full -time equivalent workspaces with an emphasis that these could be higher depending on the final mix of uses on the site. Can you explain this disparity in predicted employment numbers? Do you agree that clarity is essential in predicting the expected significant increases in traffic, which will unquestionably overwhelm the capacity of the local highway network at peak times in an area that already suffers with major gridlock?
The developers agreed that the figures stated are a starting point and they might rise but could also be significantly less. (This was after they stated that a large proportion of the buildings have already been pre-let). However, yesterday Highways England reiterated their continuing concerns on significant increases in traffic.
- Strategy 26B for Winslade Park allocates housing and a small amount of office employment use (only 0.7 hectares) on the brownfield areas and although other uses are supported for the provision of health services, crèches, nurseries, sports, leisure, restaurants and cafes – it must be stressed that B8 (storage and distribution) is totally inappropriate on this site.
It was acknowledged that the site was to be used only for health services, crèches, nurseries, sports, leisure, restaurants and cafes
Burrington’s left the meeting and The Parish Council (PC) debated their presentation. The PC agreed to employ their professional planning consultant to submit a response to the amendments. The PC objected to the design proposals for a block of 40 apartments in Zone D but agreed that if there was proof that the whole scheme was not financially viable without the development on the green fields in Zone A, the PC would not object to the housing development on the green fields.
However, having campaigned against inappropriate development and for the protection of these specific green fields for over 6 years – the Save Clyst St Mary Residents’ Association still objects to the development of housing on the green fields in Zone A because the proposals are against planning policy in the East Devon Local Plan and the local Neighbourhood Plan and we remain determined to represent the views of the 155 objectors in this community who did not support such development on green fields. We remain opposed to the amended Zone D height, massing and design of a 40 apartment block in this location and to proposals on flood risk areas and can only accept sustainable development of this site which will not detrimentally affect the highway network with increased traffic.
The Residents’ Association is a Member of The Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE Devon) and CPRE planning consultants are submitting another objection to these amendments to support our campaign. CPRE Devon continues to oppose the housing proposals on the green field land of Zone A which is outside the development allocation and in open countryside and contrary to the Development Plan Policy. They also oppose design, height and massing of the 40 apartment block in Zone D and highlight a failure to consider high quality design and place-making given the historic value of this site. They also favour the submission of an Environmental Impact Statement. They consider the proposals fail to demonstrate that the scheme will deliver a sustainable development and mutually supportive gains. The proposals focus on economic benefit and the quantum of development needed to deliver a viable scheme. CPRE Devon concludes that the proposals are not based on local need and do not respect the social and environmental aspirations and planning policy of the community and should therefore be refused. (A copy of their full objection will be available to view under Application 20/1001/MOUT on the EDDC planning website).