Dartmoor plan for house building and development agreed

A plan that outlines the blueprint for development and how and where it can and cannot happen on Dartmoor is now in force.

Daniel Clark www.devonlive.com

The Dartmoor Local Plan earlier this year was submitted for formal examination in and March a series of virtual hearings took place to assess the soundness of the plan.

The new Local Plan, which takes effect immediately, aims to conserves and enhances the National Park’s ‘Special Qualities’, and protects special areas and features within it from harmful development.

It also decides the type and amount of development required to meet the needs of Dartmoor’s communities and businesses and identifies where development can take place.

Following the initial hearings, various amendments to the plan were suggested, the most substantial being the change in allocation of a site in Buckfastleigh from Holne Road to Timbers Road.

The plan, which give opportunities to meet identified local housing needs, allocates land for around 60 per cent of the indicative housing delivery figure of 65 dwellings per year the National Park needs.

Dan Janota, Dartmoor National Park’s head of forward planning and economy, told a meeting of the Dartmoor National Park Authority on Friday that the Local Plan must strike a balance in the best interests of the National Park as a whole.

His recommendation to accept the Inspector’s Report on the examination of the Dartmoor Local Plan and to adopt the Local Plan 2018-2036 as amended with immediate effect was unanimously supported by the Authority.

It means that any application to the National Park that lands in the inbox as of 12pm on Friday must now comply with the new policies the plan outlines.

Mr Janota said: “There is more evidence behind this Local Plan than any other in the past. The allocated housing development is to meet the target of 65 a year in the Local Plan.

“I hope it is a local plan you take ownership of and policies that you can get behind for the Park, and if there is no environmental or community benefit or no affordable housing, we are in a strong position to say no and tell them to come back and make it better.”

The adoption of the Local Plan will bring in a number of new policy provisions, including:

· A new three tier settlement hierarchy, with settlement boundaries in the Rural Settlements

· Allocated sites for housing development in the Local Centres

· A new ‘local occupancy custom and self-build’ policy

· A revised definition of a ‘local person’ to support those working in the National Park

· Requirements for electric vehicle charging points, ahead of the government provisions

· Higher standards for energy efficiency in new buildings, ahead of the government provisions

· A requirement for all new homes to meet higher levels of accessibility and adaptability

· Limitations to the size of extensions in order to prevent the loss of smaller more affordable homes

· A requirement for development to deliver biodiversity net gain, ahead of the government provisions

· Opportunities for new homes on farms through conversion of traditional buildings

The strategy of the Local Plans says that development is focussed upon protecting the National Park’s Special Qualities, whilst meeting the needs of its communities. Development should maximise the use of brownfield land and existing buildings.

“Major development will not take place in the National Park other than in exceptional circumstances. Housing and employment development will take place in the most sustainable settlements, where the mix of people, homes, jobs and infrastructure make for the most efficient use of resources, minimising our impact on climate change,” it adds.

“Most development will take place in Local Centres, the largest and most sustainable settlements in the National Park, where land is allocated to meet identified local need for affordable housing, employment uses, or opportunities for regeneration.

“In Rural Settlements, Dartmoor’s larger villages, development may come forward at a smaller scale, in order to meet identified housing, employment and infrastructure needs for that community and where there are specific redevelopment opportunities.

“In Villages and Hamlets, the National Park’s smallest and most sensitive villages, only small scale affordable housing development or small scale business growth is appropriate. Outside classified settlements development will principally support the needs of farming, forestry and other rural land-based enterprises, where it can be shown that it needs to take place in the open countryside.”

The Local Plan cannot force development to go ahead as this is decided by land owners and developers, and influenced by economic conditions, prevent businesses, schools, hospitals or other services from closing, control things which are not ‘development’, or please everyone, all of the time.

WHAT IS IN THE LOCAL PLAN?

HOUSING

The focus of housing development in Dartmoor National Park is the delivery of affordable, well designed, efficient homes to meet the needs of local people. Market housing will support the delivery of affordable housing, it should also respond to the needs of local people in terms of size, mix and tenure. Around 65 new homes will be built in the National Park each year.

WHERE SHOULD DEVELOPMENT TAKE PLACE?

ASHBURTON

  • An area of land at Longstone Cross is allocated for residential development of to provide around 40 homes with 100 per cent affordable housing. Development of this site should come forward only in response to an identified affordable housing need.
  • An area of land a Chuley Road is identified for redevelopment for mixed use. Within this area, development will be approved where it is informed by and responds to the local need for affordable housing, the economic vibrancy of the area, traffic movement, and public and private parking needs and opportunities to conserve and enhance the sites’ railway heritage.

BUCKFASTLEIGH

  • An area of land at Barn Park is allocated for residential development to provide around 26 homes, of which not less than 45 per cent must be affordable housing to meet identified local needs. Development should come forward only in response to an identified affordable housing need.
  • An area of land at Timbers Road is allocated for development: Parcel A is allocated to provide around 70 homes, of which not less than 45 per cent must be affordable housing to meet identified local needs, and Parcel B is allocated for the delivery of appropriate highway improvement works to access Plymouth Road

CHAGFORD

  • An area of land at Lamb Park, Chagford, is allocated for residential development of around 36 homes, of which not less than 45 per cent must be affordable housing to meet identified local needs. Development should come forward only in response to an identified affordable housing need. Development of this site should include an element of affordable and local needs custom and self-build housing.
  • An area of land at the Crannafords employment area, Chagford, is allocated for non-town centre uses Development of this site must deliver appropriate highway access improvements, enhance the quality of the built environment and public realm of the Crannafords employment area and enable the delivery of improved cycle and pedestrian access to Chagford.

HORRABRIDGE

  • An area of land at New Park, Horrabridge is allocated for residential development of around 35 homes, of which not less than 45 per cent must be affordable housing to meet identified local needs. Development should come forward only in response to an identified affordable housing need and development on this site must make an appropriate on or off-site contribution towards local sports and play provision

MORETONHAMPSTEAD

  • An area of land at Betton Way is allocated for residential development of around 18 homes, of which not less than 45 per cent must be affordable housing to meet identified local needs. Development should come forward only in response to an identified affordable housing need and development of this site should include an element of local needs custom and self-build housing.
  • An area of land at Forder Farm is allocated for residential development of around 30 homes, of which not less than 45 per cent must be affordable housing to meet identified local needs.
  • An area of land at the Thompson’s Haulage depot at Station Road is allocated for residential development of around 26 homes, of which not less than 45 per cent must be affordable housing to meet identified local needs. Development of this site should conserve and enhance the site’s railway heritage, sensitively incorporating the goods shed and platform and provide a link to the Wray Valley Trail.

PRINCETOWN

  • Any proposals for the development of Dartmoor Prison must be comprehensive, informed by and delivered in accordance with a Masterplan for the entire site. A Masterplan for the site should be prepared in association with the local community, relevant stakeholders and the Authority and be informed by comprehensive consultation and engagement.

SOUTH BRENT

  • Two areas of land at Palstone Lane are allocated for community-led affordable and local needs custom and self-build housing of around 49 homes, of which not less than 45 per cent must be affordable housing to meet identified local needs.
  • An area of land at Fairfield is allocated for residential development of around 36 homes, of which not less than 45 per cent must be affordable housing to meet identified local needs.
  • An area of land at Station Yard is identified to safeguard the opportunity for a new railway station at South Brent and associated car park.

YELVERTON

  • An area of land at Elfordtown is allocated for residential development of around 40 homes, of which not less than 45 per cent must be affordable housing to meet identified local needs.
  • An area of land at Binkham Hill is allocated for residential development of around 41 homes, of which not less than 45 per cent must be affordable housing to meet identified local needs. Development of this site should include landscaping to the south and east of the site, provide a link to the Drake’s Trail and include delivery of appropriate highway improvements to access Dousland Road.
  • Special constraints will apply to development proposals within the historic residential core of Yelverton. Subdivision and development of typically large plots in this location will not be permitted.

BUCKFAST

  • An area of land at the former Axminster Carpets works is identified for mixed use redevelopment to meet identified local needs. Development may include a mix of around 40 homes using, including an element of affordable housing and local needs custom and self build housing, commercial uses comprising principally business and industrial uses, financial and professional services, and assembly and leisure uses, and a mix of residential care and appropriate uses, including an element of affordable housing

MARY TAVY

  • Land at Warren Road, Mary Tavy is allocated as a site for a new village primary school.
  • To improve the character and appearance of the centre of Mary Tavy, two sites totalling 0.5ha are allocated for mixed-use development incorporating around 19 homes, including not less than 45 per cent affordable housing to meet local needs, parking provision to serve the village and public amenity space.

SOUTH ZEAL

  • Within the South Zeal Conservation Area, development will not be permitted where this would cause harm to or affect the significance or setting of burgage plots

RURAL SETTLEMENTS

In the rural settlements of ­­ Belstone, Bittaford, Bridford, Cheriton Cross/Bishop, Christow, Cornwood, Dean/Dean Prior, Dousland, Drewsteignton, Dunsford, Hennock, Holne, Ilsington, Liverton, Lustleigh, Lydford, Manaton, Meavy, North Bovey, North Brentor, Peter Tavy, Postbridge, Scoriton, Shaugh Prior, Sourton, South Tawton, Sticklepath, Throwleigh, Walkhampton, Whiddon Down and Widecombe-in-the-Moo r, development may come forward at a small scale, in order to meet identified housing, employment and infrastructure needs for that community and where there are specific redevelopment opportunities.

In Villages and Hamlets, the National Park’s smallest and most sensitive villages, only small scale affordable housing development or small scale business growth is appropriate.

In these settlements the priorities are to give opportunities to meet identified local housing needs, to maintain and improve existing employment sites and to sustain a range of services and facilities which serve the settlement.

THE ECONOMY

Businesses which respect and value Dartmoor’s Special Qualities will have the opportunity to thrive and innovate in the National Park.

New business and tourism development will be permitted within and adjoining Local Centres and Rural Settlements where it is of an appropriate scale and use.

In the Villages and Hamlets and open countryside expansion of existing businesses will be supported.

New tourist accommodation should be located within Local Centres and Rural Settlements.

In the Villages and Hamlets and open countryside new short-stay accommodation should be located close to tourist services and be provided through conversion of suitable historic building.

Cultural and artistic proposals will be supported where they actively pursue National Park purposes.

MAJOR DEVELOPMENT

‘Major Development’ is development which has the potential to have a significant adverse impact on the Special Qualities of the National Park, such as its dark night skies, landscape character, heritage significance, biodiversity, tranquillity and others.

Planning permission will not be granted for Major Development other than in exceptional circumstances, and where it can be demonstrated that the development is in the public interest, outweighing National Park purpose

SHOPS

As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, combined with the popularity of internet shopping, there has been significant strain put on shopping areas, and in September 2020 the Government responded to this and long-standing calls for greater flexibility by changing the Use Class Order and combining many previously distinct town centre uses into one use class (Class E).

This change means that changes between retail, restaurant, office, light industrial, clinic, health centre, indoor recreation and other uses do not generally require planning permission, unless conditions on a planning consent control approved uses.

This change significantly effects how local planning policies operate to protect and enhance town centres, for example it is not now possible to protect retail as a distinct use from other town centre uses, which had been a draft proposal as part of the local plan.

TOURIST ACCOMMODATION

Within Local Centres and Rural Settlements planning permission will be granted for new small-scale hotels and guesthouses, or extensions to hotels and guesthouses and new short-stay tourist accommodation provided through conversion, including suitable redundant historic buildings

Within Villages and Hamlets and the open countryside, planning permission will only be granted for new short-stay tourist accommodation where it is well related to tourist services

New short-stay holiday accommodation will be subject to conditions to ensure it is occupied for holiday purposes only and not as a person’s sole or main residence and the owner/operator maintains an up to date register of the names and main home addresses of all occupiers and this information is available to the Authority on request.

TRANSPORT

In order to minimise the impact on climate change, and promote healthy lifestyles, new development should encourage and enable sustainable travel by protecting, enhancing and providing new walking, cycling, and sustainable transport routes.

Development should support a network of walking and cycling routes which are safe, convenient, and connect to local services, facilities and sustainable transport links. Opportunities for sustainable transport development which meets the needs of the National Park will be supported.

Development which would prejudice the ability to deliver future sustainable travel and transport infrastructure will not be approved.

FARM DIVERSIFICATION

Planning permission will be granted for development to support farm diversification enterprises where they are located on an established and active farm, support and add value to a farm business which contributes to the conservation and/or enhancement of the National Park’s Special Qualities, are ancillary and subordinate in scale to the farm business and make use of redundant buildings before proposing new buildings

TELECOMMUNICATIONS

New telecommunications infrastructure will only be permitted where evidence demonstrates the service cannot be delivered less harmfully by installing equipment on existing masts, buildings or other structures, the equipment is located and designed to minimise its impact and the equipment does not cause substantial harm to the character and appearance of the built environment and/or the National Park’s Special Qualities.

A condition will be applied requiring removal of all telecommunications structures and equipment and the reinstatement of the site to its former condition should the development become redundant

WHAT IS THE VISION?

When planning for Dartmoor’s future the Local Plan seeks to ensure development is environmentally, socially and economically sustainable. To achieve this, the Dartmoor Local Plan must balance the needs of people, communities, businesses, and the natural and historic environment in a way which is appropriate for an internationally important landscape and national asset.

Decent homes

There is access to well-designed, energy efficient and affordable housing for those who contribute to Dartmoor’s thriving communities.

A place to do business

Businesses which respect, value and contribute to Dartmoor’s Special Qualities have the opportunity to thrive and innovate.

Sustainability – living within environmental limits

Dartmoor’s natural resources are conserved and there are opportunities for innovation in the way in which we live and work which allow us to achieve and maintain an environmental, social and economic balance and reduce minimise our contribution to climate change.

Making best use of resources

Dartmoor’s land, resources and buildings are used efficiently, effectively and sustainably. Development prioritises previously developed land and minimises empty homes.

Culture and arts

The National Park’s Special Qualities provide a continual source of inspiration and are celebrated in culture and the arts.

Exemplars for outstanding development

All new development has a character which respects local distinctiveness, vernacular and materials, and leads the way on sustainable building.

Community involvement and participation

Dartmoor is a place where people work together with a collective goal to respect and protect the National Park, and to promote and embrace positive change.

Prosperous and vibrant communities

Dartmoor’s towns and villages provide opportunities for communities to thrive.

Farming, forestry and land management

Farming and forestry have the opportunity to evolve and innovate, sustaining their vital role in conserving and enhancing Dartmoor’s distinctive cultural heritage, internationally significant landscape and precious biodiversity.

Resilient landscape

Dartmoor’s nationally important landscape character is conserved and enhanced. Its wider landscape setting is respected.

Thriving habitats and species

A cohesive network of habitats allows species to thrive and be resilient to climate change.

An historic environment in excellent condition

Dartmoor’s cultural heritage, archaeology and historic built environment is understood, protected and available as a source of inspiration and education. Development delivers significant enhancements, including through appropriate re-use.

Opportunities for access and enjoyment

Dartmoor’s Special Qualities are respected, available as a resource for health and well-being, and accessible for everyone to understand and enjoy. Development helps manage visitor impacts in a way which protects the National Park for the benefit of future generations.

Is Hampshire County Council on a ‘journey to bankruptcy’ – and how can it be stopped?

The Conservative-led authority has written to MPs across Hampshire, urging them to back a call for more sustainable funding. Some 26 other authorities have joined the county council in asking for better funding.

So, has our Conservative-led County Council written to MPs across Devon, urging them to back a call for more sustainable funding? Where does “Team Devon” stand on this? – Owl

www.portsmouth.co.uk

It comes as the council prepares to cut £80m from its budget by April 2023, slashing spending for transport, children’s services and more.

At tomorrow’s cabinet meeting in Winchester, Conservatives will discuss the situation and how best to progress.

But Liberal Democrat opposition spokesman for economy, transport and environment, Cllr Martin Tod, fears the situation is only going to get worse.

He said: ‘The current financial model simply isn’t sustainable – we’re basically on a journey to bankruptcy.

‘The situation is dire, and everyone is cutting back to the bare bones of what the council is responsible for.

‘In the past, councils had their own money to do their own thing; now everything is done through bidding to central government, which doesn’t guarantee anything.

‘What that means is the people who know the area best can’t make the decisions.’

Cllr Tod added he agrees with the Conservatives in wanting a long-term financial agreement with the government as council tax ‘isn’t the answer’.

The government has delayed the Fair Funding Review, which has raised concerns among politicians.

The councils that have jointly written to the government have proposed a short-term spending ‘floor’ which would at least give authorities an indication of the minimum amount of funding they would receive each year.

Hampshire council leader Keith Mans, said: ‘For a long time, shire councils like Hampshire have received the short straw when it comes to funding from central government, and with another delay to government’s Fair Funding Review, we face a further three-year funding drought for those authorities at the bottom end of the funding table.

‘A more equitable funding formula is needed in future, particularly in the face of ever growing demands for social care and the added financial pressures from Covid-19.

‘Clearly a short-term fix is not ideal, but it would provide much-needed funding that would enable the system to carry on for a little longer.

‘Without extra financial support, those authorities with low core spending power will increasingly struggle to provide essential and valued services to their local communities.’

PM ‘planning reforms which would let ministers overrule judicial decisions’

One rule for us, no rules for them. – Owl

Reported move triggers backlash from lawyers, with one senior QC quoted as saying the prime minister is seeking a ‘more compliant judiciary’

www.independent.co.uk

Boris Johnson wants to weaken the power of courts to overrule decisions by ministers through the process of judicial review, according to reports.

The Times reported the PM wants to allow ministers to effectively throw out any legal rulings they do not agree with.

It comes after a number of clashes with judges, such as the ruling that Mr Johnson’s 2019 decision to prorogue parliament for five weeks was unlawful.

According to the newspaper, justice secretary Dominic Raab has been tasked with toughening plans to reform judge’s powers to rule on the legality of minister’s decisions. Whitehall sources were cited as saying the move would reinforce parliament’s sovereignty over the unelected judiciary.

An option drawn up by Mr Raab and attorney general, Suella Bravermen is for MPs to pass an annual “Interpretation Bill” in which ministers will strike out findings from judicial reviews the government did not agree with. The plan has reportedly won the approval of No 10.

The move has received backlash from the legal establishment, with one senior QC quoted as saying the prime minister is seeking a “more compliant judiciary.”

Labour MP Stella Creasey said: “The one rule for everyone else, no rules for them motif of this government is quite something.”

Mr Johnson is reportedly unhappy with the Judicial Review and Courts Bill currently going through parliament – which focuses on subtle remedies such as suspended judgments to give ministers time to tackle problems – because it “doesn’t go far enough,” according to sources quoted by The Times.

This is the latest attack on the legal framework by the government.

Mr Raab on Sunday said he wants to “correct” the drift towards the principle of free speech being outweighed by protection of privacy.

The justice secretary’s intervention comes just days after Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, won an appeal court battle over the Mail on Sunday’s publication of extracts of a letter to her father.

Court of appeal judges ruled that the duchess had a “reasonable expectation of privacy” in the contents of the letter which were “personal, private and not matters of legitimate public interest”.

Speaking to Times Radio on Sunday, Mr Raab did not directly reference the duchess’s case, but made clear he believes the balance has slipped too far in favour of the ability of rich individuals to protect their secrets.

He said: “In the politics of this country, we’ve had a heavier emphasis on free speech, transparency, accountability for politicians, for people in positions of influence. We don’t have the continental-style privacy law protections.

“If we were going to go down that route, it should have been decided by elected politicians.”

He added: “I think the drift towards continental-style privacy laws, innovated in the courtroom not by elected lawmakers in the House of Commons, is something that we can and should correct.”

“All the rules were followed” party creates twitter storm

Gary Neville, ex-Manchester United footballer and now football pundit, lets rip on twitter on the party that wasn’t a party but where all the rules were followed anyway, though no minister recalls attending.

Followed by an open letter #whoattendedtheparty – That’s an idea! – Owl

To add further confusion from a reliable source, the Prime Minister’s former chief adviser Dominic Cummings said on Twitter: it would be “v unwise for No10 to lie about this” and alleged that some political journalists were at parties in the Downing Street flat…….

East Devon awards system to be reviewed

It follows sex crime councillor’s scandal

“[A process] full of potential cronyism and done in total secrecy without any safeguards.” Cllr. Paul Millar

“Understanding what happened in the past is important. It has always struck me in my time on the council that it’s been something done behind close doors by the party in control of the council…” Cllr. Cathy Gardner

“Had it not been for the horrific, scandalous affair of the councillor from Exmouth [John Humphreys] this [issue] probably would not have raised itself.” – Chair of the council’s scrutiny committee [and former copper – Owl] Cllr. Tom Wright 

East Devon awards system to be reviewed

Joe Ives, local democracy reporter www.radioexe.co.uk 

A report into the process that led to a councillor under investigation for sex crimes against children being awarded an honorary title is to be carried out by East Devon District Council (EDDC).

It comes after councillor Paul Millar (Labour, Democratic Alliance Group, Exmouth Halsdon) called for a full investigation into a process which he says is “full of potential cronyism and done in total secrecy without any safeguards.”

Former Conservative East Devon councillor and Exmouth mayor John Humphreys was awarded the honorary alderman title in December 2019 while under investigation by the police for sexual assault of two boys between 1990 and 2001.

Mr Humphreys was arrested in 2015 and put on bail in 2016 for crimes for which he was eventually convicted and handed a 21-year prison sentence in August this year. 

His arrest and subsequent release under invetigation was not made public until he appeared at Exeter Magistrates Court in November 2020.

However, he would have known he was at risk of prosecution when he received the award and yet he still accepted the honour.  The council stripped him of the title following his conviction.

The episode led councillors to agree to look into the selection process for aldermen. Unlike some other councils, there is currently no protocol at East Devon for nomination to the title of alderman.

Speaking to EDDC’s scrutiny committee, Cllr Millar said: “I worry that our system in the past has been full of potential cronyism and done in total secrecy without any safeguards,” before calling for a “thorough review” into the process.

The commission of a report has been suggested for months, but nothing has yet been published.  Now the scrutiny committee has formally requested a report, it should only be a matter of time.

Cllr Millar said: “I think we need to look at ourselves as an authority. I think we owe the public that and I think we owe the victims that.” 

EDDC has a history of awarding far more alderman titles than many councils. The district named 11 aldermen in December 2019, with former councillor Humphreys among them. In contrast, Exeter City Council has only given out 21 such awards since 1981.

When the issue was raised at a scrutiny committee, no councillors said they had a clear idea of how the alderman process worked. Several assumed it was for long service. 

It is hoped a review could be useful in shining a light on how the process has worked in the past and out if there has been any bias in the appointment process. 

The council had been under Conservative control for the entirety of its 47 year existence until an independent coalition took over following the 2019 election. Eight of the 11 councillors who became alderman in East Devon in 2019 were Conservatives.

Chair of the council’s scrutiny committee Tom Wright (Conservative, Budleigh and Raleigh) agreed the process should be investiagted. He admitted that nobody quite understands what what titles are for – beyond a general recognition of services to the council – or how they have been administered in the past, and argued there was “no point” in creating a protocol for the selection of aldermen until the council decides whether it want to abolish the post.

He said: “Had it not been for the horrific, scandalous affair of the councillor from Exmouth [John Humphreys] this [issue] probably would not have raised itself.”

Councillor Cathy Gardener argued the review was “long overdue.” She said: “Understanding what happened in the past is important. It has always struck me in my time on the council that it’s been something done behind close doors by the party in control of the council…There never seemed to be any logic behind those people being nominated. We were just expected to vote them through.

“I think obviously the fact that we found ourselves fairly recently awarding honorary status to someone who was under such severe and serious criminal investigation and ultimately conviction was absolutely appalling and shocking. I think the public and the victims and their families deserve to understand something about the process by which he was that honour.

“I definitely want to know who nominated him, what discussions there were, who was asked. I would definitely hope that those people involved would step forward and swear that they knew absolutely nothing about what was going on because it was under investigation for a long time.”

She added: “I really do think we need to make this process as transparent as possible.”

There was some friction over Cllr Millar’s concerns of potential cronyism in the selection process and the idea that anyone at the council had known that Mr Humphreys was under investigation.

Councillor Maddy Chapman (Conservative, Exmouth Brixington), who was a councillor alongside John Humphreys in Exmouth, said:  “I’m not a councillor that listens to tittle tattle and you do get tittle tattle in any neighbourhood but I never heard any tittle tattle about that particular councillor [John Humphreys]. I was quite horrified when it came out. If I had know I would’ve have said something before.”

Cllr Chapman welcomed the report into the alderman selection process.

Councillor Helen Parr (Conservative, Coly Valley) questioned the allegations of cronyism and said she’d like to read the report to see any evidence to suggest such a problem.  She doubted whether anyone knew Humphreys was under investigation at the time of the award.

The scrutiny committee agreed to a report into the process of appointing aldermen. It will look into what criteria, if any, were used for selecting candidates and will carry out a breakdown by party of those have received the honour in recent years.

The report will explore potential criteria that could be use to make the awarding and removing of the honour clearer in future.

The plan is to put this report to the committee and then to full council before deciding whether or not to scrap the alderman title – or to update how it is awarded to create greater transparency and accountability.

Now Budleigh crumbles – large cliff fall yesterday

Large cliff fall at Budleigh Salterton prompts warnings

East Devon Radio News www.eastdevon.radio 

An East Devon District Council spokesperson said: We are aware of a substantial rock fall that took place in Budleigh Salterton, covering the whole beach area nearest to Jubilee Park, today (6 December) at around 2pm. We have already inspected the top of the cliff, and once the storm has passed we will be sending engineers to inspect the area further.

A substantial rock fall took place in Budleigh Salterton, covering the whole beach area nearest to Jubilee Park, today (6 December) at around 2pm. We have already inspected the top of the cliff, and once the storm has passed we will be sending engineers to inspect the area further.

There is a significant risk of further rock fall as there are some very large cracks that have appeared. We would like to warn residents to please stay clear of the cliffs. 

The risk of cliff falls is well signed in this area, so members of the public need to adhere to warnings.

Cliff falls are a natural and unpredictable occurrence along the East Devon coast, this is because the rock from which the cliffs are formed is soft and therefore prone to rock falls and landslides, which can happen at any time, although heavy rainfall can trigger incidences.  

EDDC recommend that people enjoy East Devon cliffs from a distance and do not climb or sit directly beneath the cliffs.