Clyst St Mary and the Greater Exeter Strategic Plan – the EDDC position

This was the addendum to the post below – the East Devon District Council case for the extra 57,000 homes it has been agreed must be built around Exeter. Do note that government funding is NOT guaranteed by any current budgetary measures nor are there any major job creation schemes in the pipeline.

ALSO NOTE: these are paragraphs from the report, not the full report, chosen to reflect the particular issues for Clyst St Mary:

“The purpose of this report to Strategic Planning Committee is not intended to pre-judge any Greater Exeter Strategic Plan (GESP) detailed assessment and evidence gathering but simply to start the debate to establish broad principles and locations for growth.

The continued growth of the district and the future incentives form a vital element in the mitigation of the future financial pressures anticipated in East Devon from 2020/21.

GESP gives an opportunity for councils to negotiate deals with the government to fund additional infrastructure in association with growth.

Much infrastructure funding comes from development, central government grants and the Councils themselves. Other Councils have worked with the Government to agree ‘infrastructure deals’ to provide more and higher quality homes in return for infrastructure investment e.g. Oxfordshire have agreed a deal where the Government provides up to £215 million towards infrastructure and housing in return for a commitment to a specific number of homes being built. We realise that new development, transport and infrastructure need to be thought about together and more detail on those issues will be identified and consulted on in the draft GESP in the summer of 2019.

Up to 2040, extra large-scale infrastructure is likely to cost more than £1 Billion. This will be determined to a large extent by future development sites in the plan but these sites are not yet determined. The infrastructure we may need to provide up to 2040 in the GESP area are:

New primary and secondary schools; Relief to major junctions on the M5; Improvements to the A30/A303; A number of new Park and Ride sites on the main roads into Exeter; Walking and cycling routes in and between towns and Exeter; Improvements to rail and bus routes and buses; Low carbon energy generation and a smart grid; New, accessible green space; Healthcare facilities; Community facilities; Internet connectivity and mobile communications and this is likely to cost around £700m.

Projects are funded in part but there is still a large ‘funding gap’.

Providing more, better and a wider variety of new homes is the main way to improve the present unbalanced housing situation. New NPPF policies require a baseline of a minimum of 844 homes per year to be accommodated in East Devon although this is less than the 950 new homes per year already agreed in the East Devon Local Plan to 2031. However, the baseline of 844 homes does not account for any additional need that the Council may agree to accommodate with neighbouring authorities in GESP which may lead to an increase in the overall number.

Therefore, if Councils deliver more than the minimum total provision of 2,600 housing per year for the combined GESP areas, then the Government will provide more funding for infrastructure. Prompt housing delivery could also be Government funded for affordable housing lost through right to buy sales in our high value housing Districts which continues to be problematic. Additionally, East Devon’s aspiration of one job per home will also need to deliver enough employment space to accommodate a minimum of 844 jobs per year with Councils in the South West agreeing that they will also try to double the size of the local economy by 2036 to increase local prosperity. Evidence suggests that the area has a high number of entrepreneurs and small businesses and encouraging these businesses and providing suitable accommodation for them to expand and grow will be an important factor for accommodating growth.

The NPPF recommends the effective use of previously developed or ‘brownfield’ land for meeting development needs but avoiding low density to make optimal use of sites with allocated sites and those with outline permissions being commenced within five years.

The government intend that viability assessment work is primarily undertaken at the plan making stage. The onus is on local authorities to undertake robust viability assessments which are open and transparent and publically available. The revised NPPF addresses the importance of good design (“Paragraph 124. The creation of high quality buildings and places is fundamental to what the planning and development process should achieve. Good design is a key aspect of sustainable development, creates better places in which to live and work and helps make development acceptable to communities”).

However, decision making in relation to flood risk and heritage assets remains unchanged in the revised NPPF with one of the Key Issues in the Report to Committee stating

· Flood zones – Clearly we should not be planning for new homes in areas at high risk of flooding and so areas within flood zones 2 and 3 should be excluded from any search for locations to accommodate growth.
Two of the main principles for growth are to
· Accommodate growth outside of areas within flood zones 2 and 3 and ensure that sustainable drainage systems are incorporated to ensure that surface water is wherever possible dealt with on site.
· Locate growth in locations well served by jobs and services to minimise the need to travel and encourage the use of walking, cycling and public transport to promote sustainable travel.

Suitable locations for accommodating growth recommend the west end of the district as it is less constrained. There may be some scope for further growth at Cranbrook but it is not likely to be close to the scale of growth accommodated in the last two local plans in this area.

9. Options for growth in the North West quadrant of the district
The western most quadrant of the district to the north of Exmouth and west of Ottery St Mary is the least constrained part of the district for accommodating growth. The land is relatively flat with no landscape designations. It is well served by main roads with good vehicle access via the M5, A30, A3052 and A376 and has good existing public transport links with the railway line and existing bus routes. The main constraints in this area of the district are the airport safeguarding and noise zones but these cover a relatively small part of the area and development could readily be accommodated outside of these zones.

9.1 Centre growth around one or more existing villages ​

This scenario would identify a number of key villages with scope for significant expansion based on factors such as access to public transport, road infrastructure and the services and facilities available within the village. This option has the benefits of helping to support existing businesses and services potentially helping to secure the future of existing village shops, schools, pubs, churches etc. It could also encourage new services and facilities to be provided which are then beneficial to existing residents as well as new residents. This is something that the new NPPF encourages, however these issues would require further consideration on a village by village basis as in most cases growth would have to be quite substantial (in the region of 400 – 500 homes) to make it viable to deliver the required services and facilities to make the settlement suitably sustainable for growth and in the process could harm the character of the village and the existing community.

9.3 Establish a further new town – This scenario would involve the creation of a new community similar to Cranbrook within the western part of the district. Cranbrook has been successful in delivering a high number of new homes in a relatively short space of time and has delivered some significant infrastructure alongside such as schools, a community centre and the railway station. There is however still much to be delivered at Cranbrook and the creation of a similar new town in the district could harm delivery at Cranbrook. Cranbrook benefited from substantial government investment to get development started and there is no guarantee that such resources would be made available again. It has also been a private sector led development and there is some uncertainty whether the private sector would commit to a further new town delivered on a similar basis in the district. Cranbrook has also been criticised for delivering one type of housing which has successfully met the needs of young families but it has not to date provided a wide range of choice to meet the broad range of housing needs that exist in the district. The delivery of a town centre and some other key facilities at Cranbrook is still pending with the town needing to reach a critical mass to support these things. This in itself illustrates the scale a new community needs to achieve before such facilities can economically be provided.

9.5 Establish a number of new villages – This scenario would involve the creation of a series of modern Devon villages that could reflect to some degree the form of existing villages within the district. This option would potentially be the most sensitive option in landscape terms. If the villages were designed so that they had different characters and form then there would be the greatest potential to broaden the choice of housing in the district and maximise delivery rates by having several developers delivering different types of housing simultaneously across the area and is favoured in terms of delivery as there would be scope to have several builders delivering simultaneously with each village providing opportunities to develop their own form and character. A significant concern with this option is the ability of new villages to deliver the required service and facilities as well as jobs alongside the housing. Existing villages are struggling to maintain such facilities and providing new within a new village is likely to be even more difficult unless the villages are quite large and facilities are somehow shared with neighbouring settlements and good transport links provided between them.

Exmouth – Options for growth at Exmouth include sites that are locally sensitive and would potentially involve incursions into the Maer Valley or expansion of the town out into the Lympstone ward.

9.7 Each of these options raises issues but the new NPPF acknowledges that “The supply of large numbers of new homes can often be best achieved through planning for larger scale development, such as new settlements or significant extensions to existing villages and towns, provided they are well located and designed, and supported by the necessary infrastructure and facilities. By working with the support of their communities, and with other authorities if appropriate, strategic policymaking authorities should identify suitable locations for such development where this can help to meet identified needs in a sustainable way.”

9.8 The assessment of each of the options is at an early stage but Members views are sought on these options and any clear preferences that Members may have.

Recommendations:

· A significant proportion of growth to be accommodated within the western part of the district.
· Accommodate growth in the existing towns focusing strategic growth around Axminster, Exmouth, Honiton and Ottery St Mary with the remaining towns taking more modest growth to meet the needs of those settlements.
· Villages to bring forward modest levels of growth to meet their own needs through neighbourhood plans.
· Focus development around main transport corridors where possible.

11. Conclusion

It is early days in terms of understanding how growth could be accommodated in the district and this report is not intended to pre-empt this work which will establish an evidence base to inform detailed consultation and discussion in the future. The principles included in this report are proposed as a baseline position to inform strategy development and work only but hopefully help to aid understanding of the issues and start the debate.

Greater Exeter Strategic Plan – Update and Vision

Since the previous consultation the GESP team has been busy analysing the consultation responses, the sites suggested and exploring issues for preparing the Draft Plan. A consultation will be held between 5 October and 30 November 2018 on a new vision for the plan, separated into three sections covering ‘the plan, ‘the place’ and ‘the priorities’ and includes the key areas of housing, a potential transport strategy and required infrastructure but no details about specific proposals will be published until the summer of 2019 (after the Local Elections in May 2019).”

Save Clyst St Mary Summer 2018 Update

“It’s been a while since I was last in touch with you regarding proposed future, large scale developments in Clyst St Mary and I’m aware that there are a number of residents interested in our Campaign who are new to the village, so I am writing to provide a brief summary. I hope you find this helpful.

Thanks to the support of so many residents from all parts of our village, we have managed thus far to fight plans to substantially increase the number of homes in the village (by over 100%!). We have fought this on the grounds of the proximity to flood plains, significant traffic and safety concerns, issues regarding pollution and the lack of existing infrastructure. We have never been against all future development, but feel that any future growth needs to be sustainable.

As I write, the situation regarding the Friends Provident site is that twenty one months on from the submission of the planning application for 150 dwellings and employment space at Winslade Park, these proposals are still awaiting a decision from East Devon District Council.

As you may have seen in the press this week, there are plans to develop a ‘second Cranbrook’. This could have significant implications for Clyst St Mary because this village has been earmarked for future development but without substantial road infrastructure improvements any sizeable development will be accessed via our roundabout, adding to the already excessive level of traffic congestion that so many of us have to face on a daily basis!

Worryingly, there is also a rumour that East Devon District Council plan on connecting sizeable development (in the region of 12,000 houses) to Clyst St Mary stretching along the A3052. The report goes before the District Council Strategic Planning Committee on Tuesday 4th September.

Our East Devon District Councillor is Mike Howe. You may also be interested in the following article from Devon Live

https://www.devonlive.com/news/devon-news/second-cranbrook-new-town-more-1944438

or the 70 page link to the Council’s report below

http://eastdevon.gov.uk/media/2581497/040918strategicplanningcombinedagenda.pdf

Thanks to one of our Campaign’s members, I am able to attach a much more detailed summary of these plans (see separate post above) focusing on how they relate to our village.

May I take this opportunity to thank you, once again, for your continued support. Please spread the word if you meet new residents who may not be aware of the Council’s intentions for the village. We are always grateful for more hands-on support from residents, so if you would like to get more actively involved, please do let me know.

With best wishes,

Gaeron

https://saveclyststmary.org.uk/

Investigation launched at Greendale Business Park by the Environment Agency

The Environment Agency has announced they will be investigating a serious incident that happened at the Anaerobic Digestion Plant next to Greendale Business Park on Tuesday morning 03.07.2018.

The AD Plant at Hogsbrook Farm is owned by FWS Carter and Sons who also run Greendale Business Park but lease the plant to “Ixora Energy Ltd.” The plant uses farm crops harvested locally and livestock manure to produce biogas and bio fertiliser. The Gas is then used to produce Electricity that is fed into the National Grid and is used by Greendale Business Park.

The Grindle Brook has been impacted by the incident of a substantial leakage of “digestate” from the AD Plant. However, the impact was minimised by the direct action of bunding the watercourse and removing the effluent by vacuum tanker, actions which were taken almost immediately by the AD plant (and staff at Greendale Business Park).

The Environment Agency are confident that this action captured most of the discharge itself. However, it did result in a small stretch of deprived reach. Impact to this reach was minimised by tankering fresh water below the bund and frequent monitoring of the watercourse for any wildlife in distress by both the site and EA officers over the 3 or 4 days that this incident took place.

There was concern from members of the public, who saw operators discharging what appeared to be effluent into the stream at Greendale, however this was not the case. They were putting freshwater in at the point at which the discharge entered the stream, which helps provide oxygen to the stream and move any residual polluted water down towards the vacuum tankers to facilitate removal.

Water for this operation was taken from a lake between Honey Lane and the Greendale Farm Shop.

The AD Plants at Hogsbrook and at Clyst St Mary were both run by a company called “Greener for Life”, until the company went into receivership last year after 3 years of trading. However, several the directors secured further funding for a new company “Ixora Energy Ltd” to buy the assets and contracts of Greener for Life Energy Ltd.

There has been a number of incidents relating to Greener for Life Energy Ltd, which was a Devon-based company producing energy from agricultural waste.

In 2015 the company and the site owner of a farm near Tiverton Nomansland Biogas Ltd, were fined over £10,000 and made to pay £7,019 in costs for negligently polluting a watercourse and contravening the requirements of an environmental permit.

The two companies were handed the fine at Exeter Magistrates’ Court in June 2015 after being found guilty of polluting two and a half kilometers of the River Dalch where the effects of the pollution were substantial, with the Environment Officer finding 100 per cent sewage fungus coverage for one kilometer from the discharge point and significant sewage fungus growth impacting a total of two and a half kilometers of the River Dalch.

An Environment Officer said at the time: “The effluent has a severely polluting effect – it is 100 times more polluting than raw sewage. Starving the river of oxygen has led to a significant adverse effect on water quality, animal health and flora.

The Environment Agency have said that the incident at Hogsbrook may result in regulatory or enforcement action with regards to how and why it happened and how it should be prevented from happening again.

They also say that it was fortunate that no wider impact was identified and therefore the pollution was contained within the bunded area – which is probably a best-case scenario given the nature of the incident.

Update on Winslade Park (Clyst St Mary) planning application

PRESS RELEASE

“I have been advised that the planning application for Winslade Park, Clyst St Mary has been removed from the agenda for 31st October. This request was made by the owners of the site to East Devon District Council and came about as a result of the concerns made by the residents of Clyst St Mary.

At this stage, we don’t yet know if or when the application will go back on the agenda.

The Save Clyst St Mary group remains committed to ensuring East Devon District Council and the Applicant reach the right decision for our village with regard to this application. Any proposal should be both safe and sustainable.

On a different note, the planning application for Enfield Farm is still on the agenda and should be heard by the Devolopment Management Committee in the afternoon of 31st October. We have two residents speaking for us on Tuesday; should you wish to support them please feel free to do so.

On behalf of the SCSM team, please can I thank you all for your ongoing support over these past three years.”

EAST DEVON DISTRICT COUNCIL PLANNERS RECOMMEND DEVELOPMENT ON HIGH RISK FLOOD ZONES AT WINSLADE PARK

PRESS RELEASE

[Here’s a summary of recent developments regarding local planning applications which are likely to affect village residents. As you will see, things are once again starting to ‘move’ and we will endeavour toi keep you updated on decisions and outcomes if and when they occur. We are aware that since the Save Clyst St Mary campaign was first launched, nearly four years ago, a number of new residents have moved to the village who may wish to join the group. Should you know of anyone who has moved here since early 2014, we would be grateful if you could forward this document and encourage new residents to sign up to subsequent updates (via our email address or a note through the door of 11, Clyst Valley Road).]

“The latest hybrid planning application (16/2460/MOUT) from Friends Life Limited/Aviva for 150 dwellings, plus employment and new workplace units at Winslade Park is due to be considered by East Devon District Council’s Development Management Committee on 31st October 2017, with the Planning Officers’ Recommendation to the Committee of Approval with Conditions within a 58-page document containing 20 Conditions plus a proposed Viability Legal Agreement.

The outline new build part of the application incorporates very limited information, which the majority of Consultees have found insufficient for making informed decisions and have either recommended refusal (Devon County Highways), have major concerns, find the proposals unacceptable or object (including Historic England, Sport England, the Parish Council, Ward Councillor and East Devon’s Historic Conservation, Landscape, Tree and Environmental Health Departments), plus 225 total objections generated by local residents.

For the existing local community of Clyst St Mary the flood risk is a major concern because historically the Grindle Brook and River Clyst have frequently caused severe damage.

[Pictures of historical flooding]

The link below identifies the current flood risk and shows the vulnerability of the Winslade Park site, proving that substantial future flood defences are essential.

https://flood-warning-information.service.gov.uk/long-term-flood-risk/map?easting=297816&northing=90559&address=100040161688

East Devon’s planning recommendation states “The access road leading into the site, the area where the offices are proposed and areas of land around the Grindle Brook running through the site fall within flood zones 2 and 3 on the Environment Agency’s mapping system.

The new-build employment units are identified to be located adjacent to the entrance drive, part of this site is within flood zone 2 and a smaller part is in flood zone 3. Whilst it is not best practice to site new buildings in the flood zone, the allocation of the site is constrained by the flood zone(s) and if all buildings were sited outside the flood zone(s) then it is considered that the quantum of development in the allocation could not reasonably be delivered and therefore could affect the viability of the scheme. The employment use would be a less vulnerable use than the residential use and therefore it is less likely to be used/occupied in the event of a flood. Accordingly, it is considered that the proposed location of the employment units (based on the illustrative layout) would be acceptable and is the most appropriate location.”

Although the Environment Agency has been provided with a Flood Risk Assessment, their own website states that “flood defences do not completely remove the chance of flooding and can fail in extreme weather conditions,” leaving future residential and employment users of this site at risk.

Aviva is one of the linked companies associated with this proposed development at Winslade Park. Their Chief Executive, Mark Wilson, was noted for finalising the £5.6 billion acquisition of Friends Life with the resulting merger turning Aviva into one of the UK’s largest investors managing £300 billion plus assets.

Writing in the Telegraph in 2014, he emphasised that there should be a halt on building on “defenceless” flood plains. He stated that “As a nation we need to build more homes, but the cost of development must include the cost of defences. We can’t stop the weather, but we can act in unison to minimise the impact of extreme events and we know that the threat is only going to increase, with scientists predicting greater flood frequency and extreme weather as a result of climate change. Although the current focus for us all is coastal and river flooding, surface water flooding is a major concern. More homes, driveways and car parks all contribute to more water flowing into the system, and flowing quickly.”

He acknowledged that flooding is one of the most traumatic events that any householder or business can face, with families forced out of their homes, valuable and much-loved possessions being ruined and businesses struggling to trade. It can be many months before the drying-out process is completed and subsequent repairs can commence and he understood the emotional cost, trauma and feeling of vulnerability that comes with flooding. His mantra continued “Let’s be crystal clear: no defences, no development.”

Such strong opinions on flooding are applauded and ideally could benefit the development proposals by the Insurance Group for the residential, workplace and community areas at Winslade Park, Clyst St Mary that lie within flood zones!

The accessibility of guarantees for affordable insurance on households and businesses in flood-prone areas is comforting for existing homes and businesses but is East Devon District Council so restricted in the availability of quality development sites throughout their sizeable District that they are left reliant on recommending development on high risk flood zones?”

“Cat and Fiddle” pub site to have new hotel

Though why Exmouth Journal thinks the A3052 site is “near Exmouth”, when at 8.3 miles away it’s actually closer to Woodbury (4.1 miles), Cranbrook (6.4 miles) and even Topsham (4.1 miles) is puzzling. It is, however, only 1 mile from Crealy Adventure Park …

Does the Local Plan allow for a hotel there?

“A new 33-bed hotel could be built in Clyst St Mary if a major planning application gets the go-ahead.

St Austell Brewery has entered a proposal to redesign the Cat and Fiddle Pub, in Clyst St Mary, and build a new two-storey hotel in the existing car park.

If given the go-ahead the pub and hotel would operate together with the pub being managed by the brewery to ‘maintain control’ of the whole site. …”

http://www.exmouthjournal.co.uk/news/new-33-bed-hotel-planned-clyst-st-mary-1-5226031

“New homes for edge of Exeter approved despite concerns they would overlook neighbouring properties”

Plans for 34 new homes on the edge of a 1,500 home development on the edge of Exeter has been given outline approval.

Councillors unanimously backed the outline plans for the housing scheme on land adjacent to Honiton Road in Clyst Honiton.

East Devon District Council’s development management committee were told that 50 per cent of the homes would be affordable housing and that it would join onto the 1,500 homes that will be delivered as part of the Tithebarn development.

But they raised concerns about some of the details of the plans and requested that when the application returns to them for reserved matters approval, some of the houses would become bungalows as there were concerns about residents of Blackhouse Lane being overlooked by new homes. …”

http://www.devonlive.com/news/property/new-homes-edge-exeter-approved-429104