Beware of  Developers’ Trickery and Sleight  of Hand!

Winslade Park proposals

From an East Devon Correspondent: 

Illusionists, tricksters and pickpockets are adept at using diversionary tactics to steal your prize possessions from right under your noses, by focusing your attention on the influencing hand, that purports to offer a gift of a flowering bloom, whilst the other surreptitious hand threatens and steals your valuable watch from your wrist and lifts your hard-earned money from your wallet or purse – whilst you watch on intently! 

Similar tactics are employed by property developers and a case in point is this week’s submission by Burrington’s for further amendments to their incongruous Zone D proposals at Winslade Park, Clyst St Mary to erect three, monstrous blocks containing 40 x 4.5-storey sky-high flats (Application 21/2217/MRES) in a low-density, rural, historic village with no local housing need. 

C:\Users\Linda\Pictures\Proposals for 40 Four Storey Apartments in Three Blocks - Zone D.jpg

The new amendments focus on providing improved environmental green spaces between Blocks B and C with the loss of a podium feature and additional tree, hedge planting softworks – but crucially the amendments continue to  ignore ‘the elephant in the room’, that has received numerous objections, which is the inappropriate high-density, overall massing and height of 40 towering apartments.  These flats will encroach above and through the existing deciduous, TPO protected woodland, will harm an environmentally-diverse habitat, exacerbate flooding with increased ground levels, damage the amenities enjoyed by existing residents, (whose lives and homes will be negatively impacted visually and by noise and light pollution from these towering multiple-occupancy homes), resulting in significant losses of privacy from overlooking into existing indoor and outdoor private spaces from the numerous proposed living area apartment windows, the elevated gardens, the access road adjoining garden boundaries and (ultimately to add a final blow) – the sky-high 4.5-storey luxury penthouses with 360 degree balconies! 

Outline permission was granted in December 2020, under a hybrid application, which also incorporated re-use of the redundant insurance offices complex and a further 39 homes on a green field site (which was contrary to the Bishops Clyst Neighbourhood and EDDC’s current Local Development Plans to 2031, with Burrington’s pleading failure of the entire overall masterplan through financial viability issues without guarantees for residential approval on this valued, local green field). 

At this outline approval meeting, EDDC Planners recommended a lowering of the indicative height of the Zone D flats’ from three storeys to two storeys, with meaningful consultation with the community to achieve suitable, compatible designs – but both recommendations have been ignored and the Reserved Matters application continues to propose very conspicuous, towering 4.5 storeys with increased ground levels to avoid flooding to the proposed lower flats in this vulnerable area. 

It has also become glaringly obvious that DCC Highways have failed to ensure a solution to a dangerous pedestrian route,  via Winslade Park Avenue, which will be walked by thousands of pedestrian users of these commercial and residential areas to access the local amenities of the primary school, childcare nursery, shop, post office, village hall, play-park, garage and pub, with vulnerable pedestrians having to negotiate a blind bend when walking along this busy, narrow road, without pavements or lighting! These issues have been highlighted to DCC Highways and EDDC Planners – but to date are unresolved, leaving a serious accident or worse inevitable with this increased use. 

We have all been weakened by a life-threatening global pandemic, by adverse repercussions from Brexit, by a war in Europe, causing energy and food crises and by rising inflation – so it is more difficult, at this time, for us all to focus on developmental issues, leaving us more gullible. However, decision makers have been appointed to represent their local communities and must focus on the key, central detrimental issues of this Zone D development and not be side-tracked by offers relating to the minutiae within the application.  We must all look to enhance our communities – not damage them for the future.  Smoke and mirrors trickery will try to disguise the predominant problems of such developmental intensity and the urbanisation of a rural East Devon village. 

Beware of the hidden hand that you fail to watch when concentrating on the gift-bearing one – the former hand will strike and deliver the destructive blow through sleight of hand and property developers have plenty of tricks up their sleeves in their arsenal to achieve maximum profits from development of land – we must all be up to speed and watchful if we value and wish to protect our East Devon communities for future generations.