Have we reached ‘peak industrial estate’ in East Devon? Seems so

If industrial estates are essential sites and supposedly we don’t have enough of them, why is Taylor Wimpey being allowed to build more than 200 houses on the former Parkhurst Close Industrial Estate in Exmouth – the largest town in East Devon?

Sidbury, Sidford and snow – a lethal combination for the A375

Developers take heed!

Last weekend, a car slid off the road into the dip alongside the bend in central Sidbury, smashing its windscreen and narrowly missing a row of lowlying cottages.

Radio Devon travel news announced (2nd February) that the Sidford-Sidbury Road (A375) was turning into a skating rink.

Radio Devon travel news announced A375 was closed due to burst water main.

Imagine of that car had been a lorry …..

Sidford Business Park – appeal lodged

“We have today received the news that most people living locally didn’t want to hear. Namely, that the applicants who submitted a planning application to build a business park on agricultural land in an AONB, have now submitted an appeal against the decision taken last October by the District Council to oppose their application.

This clearly is very disappointing and speaks volumes about the attitude of the applicants to the wishes of those who live locally. After all, the Town Council, the District Council and 1,400 local residents who signed our petition all oppose the proposed business park.

We are determined to immediately take steps to raise funds to allow the Campaign to represent the views of local residents at the planning appeal hearing that will now have to be held. Our next email will set out how we intend to raise the funds to do this.

However, in the meantime we would again remind you of our timely ceilidh fundraising event which is being held on Saturday 23 February in Sidford Social Hall, Byes Lane, Sidford, starting at 7.30 pm. Tickets cost £5.00 and can be obtained by emailing us or from the Rising Sun in Sidford, the Red Lion in Sidbury or Paragon Books in Sidmouth.

It’s more imperative than ever to support us!

This is what we have today issued as a press release –

The Campaign is disappointed but determined to fight on!
The news that the applicants have lodged an appeal, whilst not unexpected, is nonetheless a massive disappointment, particularly for local residents who have overwhelmingly made their views known about this unwanted and unnecessary business park.

The fact that the applicants are going to an appeal when the District and Town Councils and so many local residents have all said that they are against the proposed business park shows how little the applicants care about the local area and its people.

The Say NO Campaign is absolutely determined to support the District Council and its rejection of the planning application at the appeal. But to do this we need to engage professional representatives to forcefully make our case against the business park development. This will take a significant sum of money that we must raise from our supporters. We will now be publicising how people can donate directly into our recently opened bank account, as well as continuing to accept cash donations.

Sadly, our fundraising ceilidh on the evening of 23 February at Sidford Social Hall cannot be timelier. If anyone wants to support the Campaign financially, or in any other way, we would invite them to contact us at

nosidfordbusinesspark@yahoo.com.

Sidford Business Park – disproportionate industrial development?

Recently posted comment:

“At the full EDDC Council meeting at the end of October 2018, independent Councillors Ben Ingham and Roger Giles, supported by 11 other councillors, tabled a motion to discuss the over provision of housing needs in our Local Plan and called for an independent assessment. In answer to a question as to why East Devon is taking a disproportionate share of development [58% more than Exeter, 53% more than Teignbridge and nearly three times that of Mid Devon according to independent analysis conducted by CPRE] Councillor Paul Diviani said:

“Because we have the land and we are good at it”!

[Perhaps he should be reminded that two thirds of East Devon lies in an AONB, or perhaps he doesn’t care].

This is not the argument that was put to Inspector Thickett at the public examination of the EDDC local plan in 2015 by Ed Freeman. Then, the argument for pitching the EDDC target at a minimum of 950 houses/year [about 30% more than could be supported by the evidence] was that we had jobs coming down the line. Specifically he mentioned 1,000 full time equivalent jobs a year.

Thankfully, we are effectively at full employment. Office for National Statistic population projections shows the South West population as a whole growing over the local plan period at around 0.8% per annum, including expected migration. However, we have an ageing population and the annual increase of those classified as of working age is only going to be 0.16% (16 to 64 for all genders). To satisfy this annual demand to find new jobs in East Devon [population 142,300] would only require around a couple of hundred a year, nowhere near the 1,000 that are being planned for.

The creation of jobs is generally a good thing but pursuing jobs as a primary objective is, I suggest, not what we need in Devon. What we need are better quality jobs to lift earnings and I am pleased to see that that is what ratepayers’ investment of £1.1M in the Exeter Science Park is aimed at achieving. But it only creates a one-off 158 jobs against the 1,000 a year needed to justify the development plan.

Can anyone provide an evidence based explanation of where these housing and job targets come from? Anyone believe that this is what they were voting for when they elected their councillors? And who are the “we’s” in Councillor Paul Diviani’s explanation?”

Sidford Business Park: Traffic action group to reveal survey results at public meetings on 21 November 2018

Sidbury Traffic Action Group (STAG) is hosting a meeting in which the results of a traffic survey will be announced.

The survey focused on electronic speed and traffic movement and was part of ongoing concerns over drivers not sticking to the enforced speed limits.

Also at the meeting, the group will discuss the establishment of a speed watch group that will work in conjunction with the police.

There will be information about the group’s recent discussions with Devon County Council.

Finally, the group will reveal where it will go next in their pursuit for 20mph flashing signs.

The group launched a campaign in April urging people to ‘kill their speed and not villagers’.

Members of the group have concerns with cars breaking the speed limits in the town.

The meeting will take place in Sidbury Village Hall on November 21 at 2 and 7pm.”

http://www.sidmouthherald.co.uk/news/sidbury-traffic-action-group-to-reveal-survey-results-at-public-meeting-1-5781477

Pity the children of Sidford

“Pollution from diesel vehicles is stunting the growth of children’s lungs, leaving them damaged for life, a major study has found.

The research, conducted with more than 2,000 school children in London, is the first such study in a city where diesel pollution is a significant factor, and has implications for cities around the world. It also showed that charges to deter polluting trucks from entering the city did reduce air pollution a little but did not reduce the harm to children’s lungs. …”

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/nov/14/diesel-pollution-stunts-childrens-lung-growth-london-study-shows

“Take business park land out of Local Plan say campaigners”

“Campaigners have called for land earmarked for a multi-million pound Sidford business park to be taken out of the Local Plan.

t follows East Devon District Council’s decision to throw out an application to build 8,445sqm of employment floor space on an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

The proposed development for the Two Bridges site received 255 comments of objection and 111 in support. A campaign group also submitted a petition to the council with 1,400 signatures opposing the plans.

Now campaigners are calling on council bosses to look at removing the area, earmarked for development, out the Local Plan, claiming it should have never been there in their first place.

The Herald understands the application could once again go to appeal following a response from East Devon District Council saying it would not be appropriate to respond to the campaigners’ comments.

An EDDC spokeswoman said: “As we understand that this matter is now going to appeal, it would not be appropriate to make any comments about the status of the Local Plan.

“The campaigners can make their points direct to the Planning Inspector in support of the council’s decision to refuse.”

Councillor Marianne Rixson has spoken out on the reasons why the town should join her rallying call to pressure the authority to look at taking the site out of the Local Plan at the earliest opportunity.

The Local Plan

“When a Government inspector was examining the suitability of the site in 2014, county Highways failed to point out that the roads would not be able to cope with the traffic an industrial estate would bring. Highways only admitted their error in September 2016.

“After the draft Local Plan had been sent to the Inspector for final approval in 2015, district councillors realised they’d made a mistake and voted almost unanimously to try to remove it from the plan but no effort was made to explain to the Inspector the reasons why the site was unsuitable – consequently he had no option but to rule that the site should remain, subject to planning.”

Flooding issues:

“It is on a floodplain and flooding will inevitably get worse with climate change.

“The Two Bridges site is in zones 3A and two flood risk zones – yet another reason why this site is unsuitable.”

Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB):

“England has 34 AONB all of which are supposed to have the highest rate of protection in law and Government policy.

“We should only build on AONB if there is an overwhelming need for a development. The owners’ plans for a business park were market driven so there isn’t any hard proof. Surely we need to know for sure that there is an overwhelming need for employment space in the Sid Valley before we destroy this AONB?

“I would advocate for the district and town councils to work together to look seriously at how we can attract good quality, well paid jobs into the valley and how we can most effectively locate them without encroaching into the AONB and where there is good transport infrastructure.

“We need to attract good quality, well paid jobs into the area. Surely we can do this without encroaching into the AONB and where there are better road links? Regrettably by mid November Sidmouth will have lost three banks and building societies. Far better to turn these buildings into offices, which would help to keep our town vibrant, rather than build new offices on the outskirts.

Roads:

“Traffic cannot cope on this narrow road as it is due to the bottlenecks and number of HGVs already using the A375 – it will not be able to cope with more.

“Highways now agree this is not suitable for HGVs. “For two lorries to pass you need 6.5 metres. The main access for business park would be School Street which has a pinch point of 4.77 metres. There are several points through Sidbury too where the road is less than 5.5m, including Sidbury Mill and Cotford Bridge.

“Surely there should be a weight restriction on this road?

“According to an FOI submitted by the Say No Sidford Business Park campaigners some 30,000 cars travelled along the road in one off-peak week in April.

“I’d like to call for a weigh restriction on these struggling roads.

Endangered Bats and Japanese knotweed:

“The Two Bridges site is an important wildlife site for species that are protected such as horseshoe bats, otters and dormice.

“Knotweed exterminators have been seen on the site – it takes several years to get rid of.

Light Pollution

“The Norman Lockyer Observatory is both historical and the home to an active amateur astronomical society.

It also has plans to build a £70,000 extension so more experiments can take place than ever before.

“The light from any business park there will have an impact on the night sky, which currently has semi rural dark skies status at Sidford.”

http://www.sidmouthherald.co.uk/news/campaigners-reasons-why-sidford-business-park-land-should-not-be-in-eddc-local-plan-1-5772366