From a Correspondent:


There is, no doubt, that such vast developmental proposals by Burrington Estates for live, work and leisure facilities at Winslade Park, Clyst St Mary will arouse impassioned feelings within this small, rural community. This is an opportunity to create a revered, innovative development that could be admired not only in the South West but nationwide – but there are serious elements attached to this development that are causing ‘a stumbling block’ and creating barriers restricting the development from moving forward.

Although there is much support from the community 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 – there are other plans for building on protected green fields (Zone A), on flood plain areas (Zone B & J) and incongruous three-storey 40 -apartment container-shipping design models (Zone D) overlooking existing residential areas and an historic Manor House, that are proving inappropriate and insupportable. This has resulted in 155 objections to the original submission and continuing growing numbers of objections (well over 200) to the recent amendments.

Local public trust was lost after Burringtons made major changes to the original planning application after the Public Consultation, which left residents with a sense of betrayal that what Burringtons had shown them differed so markedly to what they submitted to East Devon Planners. Their revised proposals contained elements that were detrimental to many in the community (e.g. replacing 14 traditional homes in Zone D with a three-storey 40 apartment block)!

The National Planning Policy Framework states that the planning system should be genuinely plan-led and should provide a positive vision for the future and a framework for addressing housing needs and other economic, social and environmental priorities. Local district development planning sets out the local authority’s policies relating to the development and use of land in their area and neighbourhood planning is where communities aspire to meet the needs of the present without compromising the needs of future generations within their communities. Therefore, it is very difficult for this community to accept proposals that do not conform to national, district and neighbourhood planning.

So it is no surprise that by planning unsustainable employment, creating an immense development which will pressurise existing oversubscribed infrastructure (particularly highways), building  on protected green fields and flood risk areas and designing obtrusive structures – all of which are contrary to countless policies in national, local and neighbourhood plans for the protection of communities on what is potentially one of the most  fantastic development sites in this area  – that this will result in differences of opinion!

Since April/May 2020, when the application was submitted, there have only been very few supporters (single digit numbers) for this development – but in the last 24/48 hrs there has suddenly been an influx of supporters which begs the question – who are they and why are they in support at this late stage after 5 months?

These last- minute supporters now include the Development Manager and the Management Accountant of Burrington Estates, the Group Managing Director and another Associate of the Coreus Group (the Construction Group for the Winslade Park proposed development), two former Exeter Chiefs rugby players (one who transferred to Burrington Estates Group as the Group Relationships Director, whose job is to encourage business  space uptake at Winslade Park) and other associated firms and personalities directly involved on this site. They appear to have collectively been summoned to support this application in a last-ditch attempt for Burringtons to gain some credibility. Many of their supporting posts appeared late yesterday on EDDC’s website as though they were all in the same room connected to the planning portal?

Burringtons will, no doubt, argue that many of the 200 objections from residents were in template-letter formats produced enmasse. The crucial and important difference is that each and every resident (some of whom felt their lives and homes would be impacted detrimentally by these proposals) asked for assistance to be able to submit an objection, the vast majority live in this village, added their names and addresses to their objection in an effort to achieve quality not quantity in the village that they have made their home.

Are Burrington Estates getting so desperate for support that they are now employing questionable tactics?