“Apologies for the length of this update. There have recently been a number of significant developments with regard to planning applications of which we feel you should be aware. You are therefore strongly urged to read the whole document.
As always, thank you for your continued support; we remain committed to protecting Clyst St Mary from inappropriate developments.
1. Local Plan
The most significant event since the last update has been the formal adoption of the Local Plan by EDDC. In theory this should protect the village from further large scale development other than the 150 houses on the brown field areas of the former Friends Provident site.
At the meeting of the Parish Council on 8th February, which was attended by members of our Campaign Group, Councillor Howe gave a very warm and upbeat welcome to the Plan and emphasised that it would give EDDC the clout it needed to prevent inappropriate development of green field sites. He also said that the Planning Committee had already refused several planning applications in East Devon on the basis they were not in accordance with the Plan.
We hope that this robust approach will be sustained when the planning applications for the Friends Provident site are eventually scrutinised by the Planning Committee. We are very fortunate that our District Councillor lives in the village and has been such a strong supporter of our Campaign against inappropriate development over the past 12 months. We are particularly grateful for his input to the draft of the Local Plan last March which resulted in the house numbers for the Friends Provident site being reduced from some around 300 to 150.
Within the Plan we have our own map! This clearly shows the playing fields of the Friends Provident site and the Plymouth Brethren field as remaining green and where building will not be permitted.
Interestingly it also shows the areas that become flooded when Grindle Brook bursts the banks, as it has several times this winter. You can view the map in the online version of this update on our website http://www.saveclyststmary.org.uk
2. Future of the Friends Provident Playing Fields
The Save Clyst St Mary Campaign Group has consistently taken a robust line that the green areas in and around Clyst House should remain green and, as already mentioned, we have been successful by having this included in the Local Plan.
We do not see it as being in our remit to get involved in deciding what these green spaces would be used for in future or how they should be administered. We feel this is a matter for the Parish Council. Our assumption and hope has always been that the existing sports pitches would remain and continue to be used by local sports teams to the benefit of the village and wider community.
At the Public Meeting held at the Village Hall on 16th November we listened with interest as Mr Peter Cain, who has a role in the administration of Clyst Valley Football Club, outlined his vision for the future of the sports fields. Our understanding that he has consulted with various sports related bodies and the agents for the Friends Provident Site.
We are also aware that the Parish Council has formed a Sport and Recreation Committee which will eventually be responsible for the administration of the sports fields and hold the land in some form of trusteeship.
Mr Cain also made some suggestions regards agreeing the release of some parts of the green field for house building in order to give something back to Friends Provident for allowing the sports pitches to remain as such. This is something we would strongly oppose because it would be against the Local Plan.
At the Parish Council Meeting on 8th February further details of these plans came to light and these are now causing us concern.
The Parish Council have been briefed by a representative of the agents, JLL, about a plan to build around 100-150 extra houses on the Plymouth Brethren field and in a line running from the Brethren field eastwards towards Clyst House.
The Parish Council has been sounded out by JLL about the possibility of a three way land swap. This would involve swapping the current Clyst Valley Football field for a new pitch on the Friends Site. The Plymouth Brethren land would swopped be for the Clyst Valley Football Pitch. An application would then be made to build a Plymouth Brethren meeting hall and large car park on the pitch.
These are proposals in principle and until a formal application is submitted the Parish Council cannot comment.
At this time we do not know the exact status of the football field land beyond that it is held in some sort of trust and from hearsay that it may have been given to the football club and/or village many years ago. If you can help us in any way with more information please get in touch.
It was confirmed at the Parish Council meeting by Councillor Howe that the trustees of the Football Club had agreed in principle with JLL to a land swap.
Obviously this is very disturbing news because it runs contrary to the aims of our Campaign Group, the Local Plan and the soon to adopted Neighbourhood Plan. We must now await the submission of fresh planning applications by JLL and the Plymouth Brethren. In the meantime we will keep you updated on further developments by email and on the website at http://www.saveclyststmary.org.uk.
When and if appropriate we will ask the Parish Council to call another Public Meeting in the Village Hall.
Over the past 12 months we have, with your invaluable support, achieved a great deal. Providing we stick together as residents and remain strong we will succeed in blocking further appropriate development from whatever quarter. As a village we are now in a far stronger position with the full backing of a Local Plan and very soon the Neighbourhood Plan.
3. Neighbourhood Plan
This is currently in the final consultation phase and is expected to be published in May. Once in place this will provide a further level of protection against the onslaught of the property developers. It can be seen at http://www.planning.bishopsclyst.co.uk/
For those that would prefer to look at a printed copy, it can be seen, until 1st March, at the following locations:
Cat & Fiddle Inn
Clyst St Mary Church
Clyst St Mary Post Office (Mills)
Clyst St Mary School
Clyst St Mary Village Hall
Half Moon Inn
4. Foul smell coming from the Digester (pink ‘bubble’ situated in Oil Mill Lane)
Should you smell a strong odour which you believe is coming from the digester, remember that this needs to be reported to the Environmental Agency on an individual basis (they will not accept a group complaint). It is simple to do this: telephone (free) 0800 80 70 60.
5. Traffic Action Group
(distributed on behalf of the Parish Council)
As a member of our Parish Council, I am aware that there are any number of concerns relating to traffic, speeding, and general pedestrian and driver safety within the village and around the Parish.
One thing has become very apparent when pursuing any traffic related issue. Because Devon Highways are so cash strapped, and from experience difficult to communicate with, it has been suggested that a Traffic Action Group be formed.
If you have an issue you wish to raise, then so far as Devon Highways go, they require documented evidence of any problems. Therefore we are looking to local residents to write in to the Parish Council together with any photographic evidence highlighting their concerns.
It is no good grumbling to neighbours, or in the pub or shop, or even to your PC. Written documentation is what is needed, sent to your PC, so it can be collated and prioritised before approaching Devon Highways. As with so many local government departments, the more letters and pieces of evidence presented to them, the more likely they will take notice.
This is especially so if a safety issue plays an important role in any given concern. But it must be supported by as many individual missives as can be got together.
Therefore your Parish Council is encouraging you all to put pen to paper, or fingers to E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org .If any of you wish to participate in helping to run an Action group you would be most welcome. You would not have to be a Parish Councillor as the group would gather information to present to the PC.
It seems that in the present climate of local and central government austerity, local lobbying as I have described is becoming an essential way of getting things done within a community like ours.
6. Flood insurance survey
(letter distributed on behalf of the Parish Council)
Please help Flood Re with research about the cost of flood insurance
The cost of flood insurance is high on the news agenda again following the flood damage caused by Storms Desmond, Eva and Frank. It is only two years since the previous significant flood event in the UK and experts predict that the risk of flooding is set to increase even further.
A new scheme called Flood Re has been set up by the insurance industry with the support of the Government to help those struggling to find affordable home insurance and will launch in April 2016.
In order to better understand what impact the new scheme will have, it is important for Flood Re to measure the availability and cost of home insurance now and then compare this with data collected after the launch in April.
National Flood Forum would like you to contribute to this research by taking part in an online survey. This study is being carried out by Consumer Intelligence http://www.consumerintelligence.com on behalf of Flood Re http://www.floodre.co.uk . It should take less than 10 minutes of your time to complete and as a thank you for helping Flood Re with this vital work, Consumer Intelligence will send you £5 via email to a registered PayPal account or if you prefer, they will donate £5 on your behalf to the National Flood Forum.
What do you need to do?
Simply complete the online response via the link below. Flood Re will use this information to obtain home insurance quotations at four points during 2016 and 2017. Your details will not be used for any other purpose without prior consent. https://consumerintelligence.fluidsurveys.com/s/flood_research/
National Flood Forum hopes that enough people will participate in the research to demonstrate how effective Flood Re is at making household insurance available to households in flood risk areas and that this can be used to shape and develop the scheme in the future.
N.B. There are still a few places left on the FloodRe roundtable discussions notably Reading (18th Feb), Wrexham (22nd Feb), York (25th Feb) and Gloucester (3rd March) for further details please contact Laura Furman on email@example.com.