Update on Winslade Park (Clyst St Mary) planning application


“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.”



[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.


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. …”


“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. …”


Clyst St Mary Neighbourhood Plan news

“Neighbourhood Plan (Voting this Thursday 26th January)

Following the Inspector’s Report and some amendments, the NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN has been accepted by East Devon DC.

The Referendum to decide on the adoption of the Plan will be held on 26th January and polling cards have been sent out. Even if you have not received a polling card, all registered voters can participate in the Referendum and cast their votes at Clyst St Mary Village hall.

Please support the Plan by voting for adoption in the Referendum. Once adopted, the Neighbourhood Plan will greatly strengthen the powers of the Parish Council to resist inappropriate development.

The final version of the plan can be viewed on our website: http://www.planning.bishopsclyst.co.uk

If you have any questions on the referendum or the Neighbourhood Plan, please ring Rob Hatton on 01392 874305 or the Chairman, Mike Norman on 01392 877012.”

Save Clyst St Mary update – November 2016


A big thank you for all the emails of support that we have received in the last few days regarding the latest planning application for development proposals for the Friends Provident site. We are currently working our way through this latest planning application. Although we remain open minded to the eventual solution to the site, we currently have grave reservations regarding these proposals for Winslade Manor and the Stables because the developer hasn’t offered any solution to a number of key National Planning policies such as :

-The loss of the leisure facilities (Stables Club) that were closed down at the end of 2015

-The flooding that has continued to occur at the site and the proposals to build houses and industrial buildings in the areas that frequently flood. (As I am writing this email I have just been advised of the closure of the A376 due to flooding!)

-The fact that our village remains unsustainable for such a significant population increase, having only one shop and a pub

-Lack of public transport links and the scale of congestion that already occurs on a daily basis (set to be exacerbated by the poorly considered location to the entrance by our Village Hall)

-The proposed site sits outside of the current approved Built Up Area Boundary

These are just a few of the examples and valid reasons why the proposals won’t enhance our village; worryingly, the proposed scheme has many other areas where we have serious concerns.

We have started writing some template letters of objection which you may want to use. We hope to be able to email them to you within the next week. Moreover, we understand that the Parish Council may be arranging a Public Meeting at the beginning of December to further discuss the planning application. As soon as we get a date and time, you will be informed.


East Devon District Council’s Environment Department is currently conducting a survey of households within our neighbourhood regarding the odours that were omitted from Enfield Farm and the anaerobic digester. Hopefully, since the last major problem five weeks ago, things have considerably improved. We have been told that this should finally solve the ‘odour issue’ that has annoyed residents for so long.

“Save Clyst St Mary” News

Friends Life site

We are delighted to be able to inform you that the planning for the four of the applications at Friends Provident have been refused. There has been approval given for the Listed Building Consent (which basically means there is permission to alter the Grade II listed properties, but East Devon District Council has refused to allow the owners to alter them according to the proposed plans).

At the time of writing, not all the reasons for refusals have been given, but we believe: the designs failed to meet the requirements stated by English Heritage; Sport England objected to the loss of the sports facilities; Natural England did not agree with the building on the Green Fields; and the proposals were outside of the East Devon Local Plan and the emerging Bishops Clyst Neighbourhood Plan.

Inevitably the developers will come back with a revised plan in the future, but for the moment, this is fantastic news for our village and puts us in a strong position moving forward. We must remain united and as a group, we would like to personally thank each and every person for all your support, letter writing and help over the past two years.

Clyst Meadows Footpath

We have received an email from EDDC regarding the consultation for this footpath. As a result, the Parish Council needs more people to get in touch and give ‘evidence of use’ (although it is really well used, apparently there are not enough evidence forms logged from locals at present – email alison.h.smith@devon.gov.uk). Please draw the route you have used on a blank map. I will happily take completed forms to EDDC if you drop them through our letter box (11 Clyst Valley Road). The completed forms need to be returned before 3rd June 2016.

Save Clyst St Mary – April update

Save Clyst St Mary update***SAVE CLYST ST MARY ~ APRIL UPDATE ***

Friends Life site

It’s now approximately two months since our last update and we were hoping following the Parish Council Meeting on 11th April, which was attended by members of the Save Clyst St Mary Campaign, that we would have some more news for you on the redevelopment of the Friends Life site.

However, nothing came out of the meeting about any new planning applications or forecasts of when these might appear. You will recall from our previous newsletter that a representative from Friends Life briefed the Parish Council on a revised plan for the entire site. This would involve building a substantial number of houses on the existing green sports field areas in a line parallel to the rear gardens of the houses that back on to the Friends Life sports pitches.

A key element of this outline proposal is to swap the existing Clyst Valley football pitch for pitches on the Friends Life site, allowing houses to be built on the existing Brethren field, with a Brethren Meeting Hall proposed on the current Clyst Valley football ground. We have heard nothing more on these proposals, so can only assume that the developers are working on this behind the scenes.

One substantial element discussed at the latest Parish Council meeting was that, at the request of the Parish Council Chairman, the trustees of the Clyst Valley Football Club will show the trust documents to the Parish councillors at a meeting on 25th April. At the football club’s request, this meeting will be held in private, between the trustees of the football club and Parish Council members only, with no members of the public permitted in order to maintain strict confidentiality. This will enable the Parish Council to try to establish the ownership of the football club land and the legal powers of the football club trustees to negotiate swapping and any disposal of the land, should that decision be taken in the future. It must be noted that at present the football club trustees have assured us that they have not reached any agreement with Friends Life or the Plymouth Brethren regarding the swapping of the football field and have only agreed to enter into discussions on future proposals.

Recently, our own District Councillor, Mike Howe, resigned as a long-standing trustee of the football club, recognising a possible conflict of interest in connection with his role as both Parish Councillor and also Deputy Chair of the Development Management Committee at East Devon District Council with responsibilities for planning decisions.

On a more positive note, the Adopted East Devon Local Plan to 2031 is now fully operational and Councillor Howe informs us that it is being used ‘robustly and routinely’ to successfully oppose planning applications that do not conform to the Plan. We can only hope that this will be the case when the revised planning proposals are submitted for the Friends Life site.

The planning limit has been allocated by EDDC at around 150 houses on the brown field areas only with the Planning Inspector agreeing with this allocation to safeguard the future of the historic Manor House but also recognising the significance of the high quality parkland contributing to the setting of the Grade II House.

On 15th January 2016 the Inspector stated: “The promoters of the site seek to incorporate more of the large green space to the North West of the buildings in the allocation. The Council’s vision is for development to enable the sensitive conversion of the listed building within the high quality parkland which is a significant contributor to its setting. Having seen the site, I consider that the allocation boundary will enable this setting to be maintained.”

Obviously, if the land swap proposed by Friends Life were to go ahead, this agreed District Council allocation would be exceeded substantially, with the numerous detrimental consequences to our village that we have previously outlined.

Although only speculation at present, we suspect that Friends Life are hoping that by offering sports facilities (to be used by groups such as the football and cricket club) in return for significant extra housing on our green field sites (despite the fact that they have already withdrawn substantial sports facilities available to residents in this village); we suspect that an exception to the Adopted District Local Plan, the agreed Built-Up Area Boundaries and the Emerging Neighbourhood Plan could be made.

However, it must be stressed that our views on this are merely a hypothesis at present.

The Emerging Neighbourhood Plan is now at a very advanced stage and should give us an important extra level of protection against any inappropriate level of development on the Friends Life site and throughout the village. Though, as yet, not formally adopted, it is at such an advanced stage that the EDDC Planners must take it into consideration and credit it with substantial weight.

The Save Clyst St Mary Campaign was set up to voice the views of the majority of parishioners on future development in the village. Over the past 18 months we have volunteered tirelessly to ensure our village does not simply become another anonymous suburb of Exeter. We are not opposed to new development, but are committed to ensuring any new housing remains both sustainable and proportionate.

Currently, in excess of 400 objections have been submitted to EDDC objecting to the planning application for residential development on the sports fields of Friends Life, with 254 objections submitted to the residential development of the Plymouth Brethren field (prior to its withdrawal).

On the basis of continued positive feedback from residents, it is our belief that the majority of parishioners continue to be opposed to residential development on our open green areas and we intend continuing to campaign for their protection against development. However, an anonymous claim has been brought to our attention alleging that opposition to residential development on the green field areas has become “diluted” and that some local residents may now favour additional residential development on our green, open spaces as a “trade-off” for facilities for outside sporting groups.

Our assumption is that this information is incorrect, and as such, we would be most grateful if you could continue to voice your support.

The anaerobic digester

This continues frequently to emit strong unpleasant odours which the Environment Agency are keen to monitor on an individual complaints basis (a group complaint is invalid). Their free telephone number is 0800 80 70 60 should anyone wish to make comments.

Fund raising

Thanks to the support of local people, the Tesco Bags of Help Funding Scheme has awarded the Parish Council the £10,000 second prize for funding the levelling of the QEII field behind the Village Hall which will provide field sports for the community.

Police training exercise On 21/4/16 there will be a Police simulation taking place around the Winslade Park area. Do not be alarmed if you hear or see anything unusual such as helicopters, mock gunfire or ‘casualties’.

Please continue to visit our website:

If you would also like to receive emailed Campaign updates, want to offer assistance to the group or simply want to voice a comment, we always welcome residents’ feedback. You can either email us at saveclyststmary@gmail.com or write to 11 Clyst Valley Road. We will continue to forward comments to the Parish Council as appropriate.


“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
Sowton Church
Sowton Village.

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: bishopsclyst@gmail.com .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)
Dear Supporter

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 laura.furman@floodre.co.uk.