EDDC Development Management Committee makes another controversial planning decision

The planning application for the conversion of the South West Coast Path WW2 observation post into a holiday dwelling, covered by Owl here:

https://eastdevonwatch.org/2019/07/07/a-poignant-planning-application-on-the-75th-anniversary-of-d-day-and-enthusiastically-supported-by-clinton-devon-estates/

has been agreed. The roof will be “reconstructed and roof lights, doors, windows and solar panels will be added, thus destroying its original function as a historical building.

The owners of the land are, of course, Clinton Devon Estates.

Clinton Devon Estates: “‘Deceit and lies’ – Councillors speak out Newton Poppleford GP campaign looks to be over”

Wonder if EDDC’s CEO had any private advice for CDE?

This has gone into the most spectacular orbit of deceit and betrayal in the planning system.”

Those are the words of one councillor as the district authority agreed at a meeting on Tuesday (August 6) not to fight a developer’s appeal over a Newton Poppleford site.

Clinton Devon Estates (CDE) lodged an appeal after East Devon District Council (EDDC) delayed a decision on an application to build two homes on land originally earmarked for a GP surgery.

A wider plan for a 40-home development at King Alfred Way, including a doctors’ surgery, was approved in 2013. CDE was unable to find a tenant, so instead applied to build two more homes.

At that stage the parish council expressed an interest in running the surgery.

EDDC twice delayed a decision – the second to allow the parish council to meet with the developer to find a solution.

The developer lodged an appeal with the planning inspector, who will now also decide whether the council should pay costs.

Planning officers recommended the authority should not fight the appeal arguing the surgery was not ‘legally justifiable’. Councillors voted by seven votes to five not to fight it.

Councillor Mike Howe, chairman of the development management committee, told the meeting CDE had acted ‘atrociously’ and could not be considered an ‘ethical or nice developer’.

Cllr Olly Davey said, unless ‘legally enforceable’, ‘any promise that a developer makes is not worth the paper it is written on’.

Councillor Paul Arnott put forward a motion to reject the application, on the grounds the developer had failed in its ‘commitment’ to deliver the surgery – but it was thrown out by seven votes to four.

Councillor Paul Arnott said the application was the most ‘spectacular orbit of deceit and betrayal’ and the council should mount a challenge despite the costs. He said: “It’s so mired in lies and deceit going back years, betrayal, treachery, accusations of wording.

“We cannot afford, as a rule, to be spending council taxpayers’ money on appeals we may not win, but on this occasion we have to. It is a notorious case and we have to draw a line.”

Cllr Eileen Wragg said the committee needed a ‘damn good reason’ not to agree with the officers’ report.

Council officer Henry Gordon-Lennox, strategic lead, said nothing in planning law could stop the developer applying for a different use of them land, despite the original plan for a surgery.

He said: “I do absolutely understand the frustration and the annoyance and the disappointment, but from our point of view as officers there is nothing to defend precluding them from doing this, unpalatable as that may be.”

CDE was represented at the meeting Amy Roberts, who said there has never been a planning justification for the surgery, within the original plan. She said CDE did not want to appeal, but that the developer’s ‘hands were somewhat forced’ by the non-determination, despite planners’ recommendations.”

https://www.sidmouthherald.co.uk/news/clinton-devon-estates-slammed-for-newton-poppleford-homes-plan-1-6203178

Officers advise councillors not to fight Clinton Devon Estates over withdrawal of Newton Poppleford doctors’ surgery in planning application

EDDC fight CDE – not on your life say officers …unless, of course, councillors instruct them to do so …

https://www.sidmouthherald.co.uk/news/newton-poppleford-home-appeal-meeting-1-6194658

Clinton Devon Estates and Newton Poppleford – a lesson from Budleigh Salterton

The people of Budleigh Salterton would advise the people of Newton Poppleford not to hold out much hope in acquiring a surgery or anything of benefit to the village. (see East Devon Watch 11 July) They have been down a very similar route with Clinton Devon Estates.

The failure of the BS Neighbourhood Plan to include all the hospital garden as open space, leaving only under a half leased to the new hospital hub left Clinton Devon Estates controlling the other half. A planning application was submitted for the construction of 2 open market dwellings and associated access in its plot. Like Newton Poppleford the estate lodged an appeal against the delay in making a decision by EDDC. However, the Inspector turned down this on appeal concluding that the benefit to the town of building two houses in the garden was outweighed by the negative effect upon the recreational space within this part of Budleigh Salterton.

“In the absence of evidence to indicate that the remaining garden would adequately meet the needs of visitors to the health and well-being hub, in relation to this main issue, the proposal would have a negative effect upon availability of recreational space within this part of Budleigh Salterton, contrary to LP Strategy 6. The proposal would not result in an enhancement of the retained garden and so would not comply with LP Policy RC1.”

So what did CDE do? Did this estate whose motto is

DOING TODAY WHAT IS RIGHT FOR TOMORROW

allow the continued access to this land which cottage hospital patients had enjoyed since 1887?

No, the estate chose to ignore the spirit of the Planning Inspectorate’s decision.

They erected a fence. I am sure many of Owl’s readers have seen the “abomination” (BS Journal Feb. 15 2018) and may have seen children confined to playing in just under a half of the garden.

So those patients living in Newton Poppleford and seeking to consult their GP will have to continue to travel to Ottery St Mary. (Remember that Newton Poppleford is within the Ottery St. Mary practise boundary, not the nearer Sidmouth!) If they rely on public transport there is no direct bus route, patients have to travel into Exeter and out again, a distance of around 23 miles with a round trip time of at least 2hrs 30 mins. (and don’t ask about the cost)!

Clinton Devon Estates refuses to meet Newton Poppleford parish council over planning application … rushes to appeal

Clinton Devon Estates … again … not doing its reputation any good.

“Clinton Devon Estates (CDE) says it was unable to find a tenant for the practice which was promised as part of a 40-home development at King Alfred Way. Instead it applied to build two further homes on the land.

On June 11 East Devon District Council (EDDC) deferred its decision for 90 days to allow time for talks between CDE and Newton Poppleford and Harpford Parish Council.

The parish has now shown an interest in renting the surgery and wants to enter into talks.

CDE has instead lodged an appeal against the delay in the decision.

The surgery was part of discussions when a 40-home development was granted permission. At the time district councillor Val Ranger said she felt 40 new homes, next to an area of outstanding natural beauty, was a high price to pay for a new surgery.

Coleridge Medical Centre was originally due to take over the new practice but withdrew its support after NHS funding fell through.

CDE has now refused to meet the parish council and said it was because of the delays already caused, current NHS aims to centralise services and the extra cost involved if the surgery is built after the bulk of the development is finished in 2020.

When asked if it would consider withdrawing its appeal, Clinton Devon Estates said in a statement: “A new GP surgery in Newton Poppleford is no longer viable without a commitment from the NHS to operate it. With the submission of an appeal, the opportunity for formal discussions between CDE and the parish council is now closed until a determination has been made by a planning inspector.”

The developer said Coleridge Medical Centre confirmed in June that its plans to consolidate services within a larger site rather than at branch sites was unchanged. It understood that their plans were to deliver services with the Beacon Surgery, Sidmouth.

When asked if it would be open to talks about the possibility of the parish council taking on the surgery, a Coleridge Medical Centre spokesman said: “We and Devon Clinical Commissioning Group are always open to discussions with our local partners.

“We will continue to provide the existing single-handed doctor service at Newton Poppleford for two mornings a week for the foreseeable future.

“We remain committed to securing high quality and accessible GP services for the people of Newton Poppleford and any proposals about how to best provide this in the long-term must take into account a number of factors including cost, workforce and sustainable modern ways of providing care.”

https://www.sidmouthherald.co.uk/news/developer-refuses-talks-to-resolve-issues-over-new-gp-surgery-at-newton-poppleford-1-6154891

A poignant planning application on the 75th anniversary of D-Day (and enthusiastically supported by Clinton Devon Estates)

Brandy Head is a promontory about 1½ miles SSE of Otterton.

In 1940 the RAF opened a gunnery research range here for ground attack fighters. An observation post was built on Brandy Head with blast walls at the rear and a viewing balcony looking seaward. Targets were floated offshore and aircraft such as Typhoons, Hurricanes and Spitfires from 10 Group RAF would fly from Exeter to test turret mounted guns, wing-mounted cannons and later rockets by flying over the observation post to attack the targets anchored at sea.

The utilitarian observation post still stands as a shell, having lost its roof, alongside the Coastal Path only yards from the cliff edge. It is often used by walkers as a place for a coffee break.

The new tenant farmer at Stantyways Farm has recently submitted a planning application 19/0883 to convert the observation post to holiday accommodation.

This raises an interesting debate: is this an example of imaginative re-purposing of a derelict land mark which will ensure its future; should the observation post be left alone to stand as a simple epitaph; or is it the start of a new camping site to rival Ladram Bay and Devon Cliffs on either side?

Owl has noted this passage from the Design and Access Statement supporting the application:

“Clinton Devon Estates have offered Mr and Mrs Walker their support and have stated:

“Clinton Devon Estates recently let Stantyway Farm to Mr and Mrs Walker, we are encouraged by their plans to farm organically and sustainably. Their tender included a wish to convert the lookout into visitor accommodation to make the most of the South West Coast path tourism and we support this diversification and use of the redundant building.

It is essential that the eco-sustainability side is expressed and access is by foot.”

Owl personally just wouldn’t perch overnight that close to the cliff edge!

Perhaps it also needs Listed Building or Heritage Building status?