(Revised 10.30 27/04/2023)
Tories Protecting Our Environment. Really?
According to the Tory leaflet for the Woodbury and Lympstone ward for the upcoming district elections the Tories are going to protect our rivers our landscape and environment.
Maybe the 2 prospective conservative candidates Ben Ingham and Cheryl McGauley should start asking their friends to assist them, rather than working against them.
The current goings on at Greendale Business Park owned by FWS Carter and sons who`s directors financially support the Tory party don’t seem to be helping their declared aims unfortunately.
There are a number of challenges with unlawful development, and enforcement issues at the Business Park that over the last 10 years has seen over 60 retrospective applications and a large number of enforcements.
The most recent anomalies that FWS Carter and sons have managed to create are:
Greendale Business Park Covid Centre
The Large Covid Vaccination Centre at Greendale Business Park which most residents visited during the pandemic is now being used for truck parking, caravan storage/occupation, all without any planning consent.
There is a current live planning application for this area to use either an NHS walk-in Centre or business space (application No. 22/1893/FUL) which is due to be considered in June, but there is no application for it to be used by other tenants which would require a change of use application.
NHS covid facility was built under government emergency powers (which did not require planning approval) but there is prior history to this extension to the business park which was built illegally in around 2015 but had to be removed following a retrospective application was refused, both by the Planning Authority and upheld by the government Planning Inspectorate! The decision was subsequently upheld in the High Court. The land was then required to be returned to agricultural use, but the owners simply covered the concrete apron with soil and grassed it!
At the time of the NHS Covid centre being built the planning authority did inform the NHS and Greendale the significant previous planning history but they decided to proceed due to the covid emergency.
Greendale Farm Shop
Further down the road at the continuous expanding Greendale Farm Shop a new Covid Drive Thru Vaccination Centre has been built without the benefit of planning permission and FWS Carter and sons are now seeking retrospective consent for its retention under application No. 23/0298/FUL.
It is not clear what the intentions of the NHS are regarding the vaccination centres at these two locations are. The farm shop new centre is described as a “replacement” and yet the description of development for the existing large vaccination centre also requires its “retention” as a vaccination centre!
It would suggest the NHS is keeping their options open by retaining some form of lease on both centres. Their intention appears to be to use the new drive-thru centre for the roll out of the spring booster jabs to over 75’s and those in the most vulnerable category while retaining an option on the main vaccination centre should it be ever needed in the future.
These applications are submitted by the land owners and not by the NHS which suggests that the NHS is being offered either or both sites for delivering the vaccination programme, but it is questionable whether the cost of renting either of these premises is cheaper than a normal mobile vaccination centre in an HGV in a shopping centre car park is not made clear.
At present it is difficult to justify these developments which are both outside agreed employment and development zones but in the open countryside. The question is why the NHS or Greendale think it should be granted contrary to the Local Plan and National Planning policies.
On the hill overlooking the Business Park is Hogsbrook farm where there seems to be illegal storage of vehicles in a field. There is an open enforcement case that the use of an agricultural field is unacceptable for this purpose.
The landowners FWS Carter and sons are required to either make a retrospective planning application to retain it and in so doing justify why it should be allowed to remain contrary to the policies of the local plan or enforcement action will require the removal of the vehicles.
Clyst St Mary
Further afield close to the village of Clyst St Mary a field hedge boundary has been removed which is contrary to the approved planning application.
There had been some initial activity last year which was finally stopped, but only after substantial damage had taken place to an orchard and treeline with mature oaks that was removed without a tree felling licence. FWS Carter and sons have agreed to stop work again at the site under the threat of a temporary stop notice.
PS Simon Jupp MP has not only received donations from FWS Carter and Son but rents his office from them.
Although there are a multitude of East Devon communities, who will agree with this vilification of FWS Carter and Sons and their harmful environmental practices at Greendale and throughout this entire district – there are other infamous ‘Guardians of our Environment’ who must surely also receive ignominy.
We must not forget to mention the Tory farming fraternity of Stuart Partners (Hill Barton illegal lorry park etc), the Down family (the ever-growing pollution from excessive traffic/environmentally-damaging practices on Down-owned land at Enfield Anaerobic Digester, Clyst St Mary); Farmer Parr (up for election next week in Exmouth with numerous serious planning/environmental contraventions attached to his name!) and Philip Skinner (Leader of the East Devon Conservatives) and loudest voice on the EDDC Planning Committee, promoting Build, Build Build throughout East Devon.
However, look deep inside more dark corners of East Devon and you will find that there are other, less obvious, forces that (in theory) purport to be our ‘Environmental Saviours’ – but in reality their flawed decisions have an entirely different effect!
These include the infamous South West Water (favouring their shareholders welfare rather than protecting the environment!); the Environment Agency (promoting anaerobic digesters which cause shocking pollution and environmental harm to communities under ‘a green umbrella’!); high-ranking EDDC officers, who recommend and create protective, environmental policies for implementation in our Local Development Plans – but who, in reality, (at the decision-making table) recommend large-scale development on green fields and the indiscriminate annihilation of natural environments, trees, woodland, fauna and flora to achieve economic benefits; and finally, politicians, who, we believe, will listen to our environmental voices in East Devon – BUT in practice THEY DO NOT!
They (surprisingly) include members of the Exmouth/Broadclyst Green and Lib Dem parties, who have sat on EDDD Planning Committees and voted in support of incongruous development in our villages, favouring economic benefits over and above the destruction of our bio-diverse woodlands and natural environments! Sadly, many ’Watchers’ believe voting next Thursday for these candidates will not bring the changes that are both required and desired!
Furthermore, the absolute power inflicted in medieval times by the very rich, landowning barons still appears rife in 2023 in East Devon and, indeed, nationwide, where the over-privileged, affluent few believe they can control and dictate – but will they be allowed to continue in the same vein as in the past? . . . . That remains to be seen!
It’s clear from the main article that these landowners and the others mentioned in Rapscallion’s response still expect the special treatment they used to receive in the days of the EDBF and Graham Brown. Remember there were councillors and officers who believed they worked more for EDBF interests than for us, and the police were not interested in properly investigating Brown or any other matters.
Since Cllr Skinner has recently begun to declare his association with the Carters and others one would have thought he might have noticed the illegal use of non parking areas and advised his friends either that they were at risk of sanction or that they were at risk of causing embarrassment to him.
Certainly when I caught him in the act at Warren View sports ground in 2016, hosting a meeting in the allegedly unsafe clubhouse he would have been aware that the parking of three vehicles was amongst the exaggerated infringements used to evict and crush a community football club, Exmouth Amateurs.
The meeting consisted of numerous conservative councillors, though not the non conservative ward member who had been conned into signing off the forfeiture. She was unaware of this meeting taking place. There were also a number of officers, some of high rank. They were hosting Exeter City FITC, with whom Cllr Skinner would be considered to have a connection. City FITC were the preferred bidders following the marketing process which was not advertised for a further three months and for which a number of local organisations spent time preparing applications in good faith, with no real hope of success. None of these were offered early access on site meetings with such high powered hosts. Cllr Skinner was advised of the errors in the safety assessment for the building, as officers had previously and as Cllr Nicholas was the following day, but Skinner failed to respond either to this conversation or a follow up email.
Meanwhile Cllr Stott, also at this meeting and at others with the evicted club which allegedly hadn’t happened, was approaching another local youth football club with offers of help with their rent. Her name was quoted on a statement in a Journal article about the eviction which contained at least three clear lies. I have no idea whether she actually made the statement or was just used as a puppet.
City FITC eventually pulled out of the deal, after much prevarication regarding a survey, when it became clear things were not as they had been led to believe.
Obviously now Warren View has been returned to the football community, in the shape of Exmouth Town Youth, who are doing an excellent job of upgrading the site. They were awarded the lease by a genuine bidding process involving honest councillors from all groups, under the current regime.
These matters all make clear that in the old days there was one rule for the dictatorial leading group and their chums, and another rule for the rest of us. Whenever the police were requested to investigate, they failed to do so. Perhaps it was this habitual deference, or whatever caused the police failings, that led to their apparent protection of Cllr Humphreys for over 30 years.