Exmouth, Axminster and Cranbrook – all needing new Masterplans in our new Local Plan, according to the Inspector. And Sidmouth needing one at its eastern end according to EDDC.
Given the omnishambles EDDC has made of the new local plan – at least 8 years in the making, one false start wasting more than two years, and two rejected drafts plus the interference of the East Devon Business Forum – what are the odds of our current councillors and officers getting these new Masterplans right?
Below are the challenges they face. It will take more than crossed fingers to see these through … especially as, with so many of them, the councillors and officers are at odds with the electorate about what is acceptable and appropriate.
A new commuter town, a rural town massively expanding , and two seaside towns fighting to retain their identities … and all with AONBs, important wildlife sites and the World Heritage Coast to accommodate, not to mention thousands of homes and industries and their infrastructure to create under an “asset sweating” ruling party.
On Cranbrook, Diviani says this in a press release today:
“The Cranbrook masterplan, which is currently in production, will put some meat on the bones of these policies and will provide a strong vision and guide to future development at Cranbrook to ensure that it becomes an attractive, vibrant and sustainable modern town.”
Remember that the first plan of Cranbrook neglected to plan for appropriate health facilities, it did not include enough shops, not enough green spaces and a football pitch that could not be used in the evenings because it was no-one’s responsibility to pay for or maintain floodlights and where roads are still unadopted.
The highly critical DCC report is here:
On Axminster, he says:
“a North South relief road for the town will be delivered as part of this development linking Chard Road (A358) to Lyme Road (B261). A Masterplan will be required for this site and development will be subject to improved public transport provision.”
“Prior to the granting of planning permission for any major residential schemes at Axminster, the Council will agree, with the Environment Agency and Natural England, a timetable for the review or development of a Nutrient Management Plan for the River Axe.
This plan will set out detailed actions that allow for new growth at Axminster to progress with adequate mitigation in place to negate the additional phosphate load that would be caused. The Nutrient Management Plan will work in collaboration with the diffuse Water Pollution Plan, and will seek to restore water quality for the River Axe SAC to enable it to meet its conservation objectives within a specified timescale, and in accordance with commitments to European Directives.
Depending on the findings of the plan, growth will only proceed in accordance with the mitigation delivery set out within that plan. Growth at Axminster will also be informed by the current status of the relevant discharge consents for waste water treatment works, and any upgrade required to support new growth will be the subject of Habitats Regulations Assessment prior to planning permission being given. The determination of such development applications will be informed by Habitat Regulations Assessment that takes account of the consent requirements.”
Oh, where to start with Exmouth. Suffice to say the Inspector says:
“The Exmouth Seafront is recognised as a key asset for the town and the Council is a key driver in its further enhancement. To this end, along with Devon County Council, the District Council appointed LDA Design to undertake a town centre and waterfront design study to identify opportunities for renewal and improvement in the physical, economic and environmental quality of the town.
The Final LDA study5 and recommendations and conclusion have been endorsed by the Council. The implementation of some projects in the Masterplan is underway but the Council also recognises that it is time to re-evaluate the Masterplan. The future intention is that a new or refreshed Masterplan will be produced with this becoming a Supplementary planning Document (SPD).”
Hard to see how this can be worked into what seems now to be a fait accompli with the developer (though the Inspector fired several warning shots about protecting the environs of the Exe Estuary.
Mr Thickett says:
“Land at Port Royal Site – Land for residential use is allocated for 30 homes (site ED03 (this site will incorporate mixed use redevelopment to include housing and community, commercial, recreation and other uses).”