Sidford Business Park: “Nothing has changed’ highways outlines objection to business park proposals”

Owl says:

A test of whether EDDC develops or plans on the cards here. New Leader new times or new leader, old times?

https://eastdevonwatch.org/2018/06/18/sidford-business-park-a-grubby-history/

“Highway bosses have submitted fresh opposition to a new proposed business park at Sidford as ‘nothing has changed since the last time’.

Councillor Stuart Hughes, head of highways for Devon County Council, spoke exclusively to the Herald saying the department specifically objected to the distribution element of the application.

A change of use is being sought for the agricultural site, in Two Bridges Road, to provide 8,445sqm of employment floorspace.

The plan has received 102 letters of objection ahead of the deadline today (June 15) for comments.

Councillor Hughes posted on Facebook that the council would be submitting its objections and said the news would be welcomed by residents in Sidford and Sidbury.

He said: “Nothing has changed from the last time. The distribution element was a concern last time because it would bring big lorries through narrow streets in Sidford and Sidbury.

“They are very narrow and just aren’t big enough for this sort of traffic. It is the wrong site for a business park, in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.”

Resident Jackie Green said highway’s focus on the distribution element could ‘play straight into the developers hands’.

She said: “Any down-playing of the impact of the rest of the plan, two thirds of the development, risks making it easier for the application to be approved. Worse, if the B8 [class for distribution] is deleted, it would leave a space for even more B1 buildings (office and light industrial), which require more dedicated parking spaces than B8.

“This emphasis in the Highways objection will not ‘be welcomed by all local Sidford and Sidbury residents’, as Stuart Hughes claims, nor by any other users of the Sidford-Sidbury road. The plan as a whole is wrong, not just bits of it.”

The plans state the applicants aim to create 250 jobs and have addressed concerns raised when a scheme for a larger business park were submitted in 2016.

District council ward member David Barrett said he must remain impartial as he is a member of EDDC’s development management committee, which may be involved in making a final decision about the application.

EDDC will make the final decision about the plans.”

http://www.sidmouthherald.co.uk/news/nothing-has-changed-devon-county-council-submits-opposition-against-sidford-business-park-1-5570042

It’s going to take more than a yew tree branch to ward off evil at EDDC new HQ!

And who at EDDC was responsible for this press release that gives the (totally erroneous) impression that the sale of Knowle is 100% financing the new HQ?

https://eastdevonwatch.org/2018/06/16/sums-on-knowle-relocation-not-adding-up-for-us-the-taxpayers/

“A yew tree branch has been placed on top of East Devon District Council’s new HQ to “ward off evil spirits”.

The topping out ceremony took place at Blackdown House in Honiton, which will be the council’s new home by January 2019.

As part of the ceremony, a yew tree branch was attached to the highest point of the building.

The ceremony was completed by council chairman Andrew Moulding and leader Ian Thomas. A council spokesman said it was “an age-old tradition”.

The authority plans to move from its current HQ in Sidmouth to Blackdown House in December 2018. The move will be financed by selling the property to Pegasus Life Ltd for £7.5m, which will turn it into a 113-apartment assisted-living community. …”

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/live/uk-england-devon-44465408

DCC East Devon Alliance Councillor backs East Devon National Park

“I’m putting forward a motion to the next meeting in July for the Council to support a new park, which would include the East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and prepare a case for submission to the review of national parks recently announced by the Government.

I’m proposing that Devon County Council supports the creation of a Dorset and East Devon National Park

And EDDC Leader Thomas is … silent so far. And Hugo Swire is … silent so far!

Boundary problems and a headache for EDDC’s new leader

What is fascinating about this spat is that a park and ride scheme can be deemed a harmful impact in an AONB.

Owl wonders if this will therefore similarly be a material consideration for a new industrial park planned in Sidford?

“A park and ride service which operated to the West of Lyme Regis has been halted.

East Devon District Council last week refused planning permission for a further temporary consent for the site, off the A3052, in Uplyme.

The application, from Lyme Town Council, was rejected on the basis of a lack of evidence provided to justify a need for the facility and that, as a result, this would have a harmful impact upon the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

East Devon’s planning department had previously granted temporary consents for the park and ride use to support businesses in Lyme Regis and visitors to the town, but despite ample time being given to Lyme Regis Town Council to justify the park and ride’s continued use, the required information had not been received, say officials.

Since 2014, the district’s planning authority says it has consistently asked Lyme Regis Town Council to gather evidence to justify the need for a park and ride in the location in Sidmouth Road.

Despite the town council having four years in which to do this, the work has still not been carried out, says EDDC.

In addition, East Devon is not convinced that the proposed site is the best location for a park and ride facility, or that a further park and ride site is required, given that the majority of the traffic does not enter the town from the West on the A3052 where the site is located, and that the park and ride on Charmouth Road, to the East of Lyme Regis, has very recently been granted planning permission to operate 400 spaces over a longer seasonal period.

EDDC says it is happy to entertain a future planning application for the site, but it needs to be supported by justification for the use of the site. In addition, robust evidence of the need for the facility and justification that the proposed site is the most appropriate location to serve visitors to the town must be provided.

Cllr Ian Thomas, Leader of East Devon District Council and ward member for Trinity, which includes Uplyme, said: “East Devon planners, Uplyme Parish Council and I have worked for several years, in the interest of Lyme Regis traders, residents and visitors, in what has become a uniquely frustrating process.

“Last Summer, contrary to planning guidelines, I was able to secure a further last minute temporary consent.

“I was only able to do so: ‘….to allow the newly formed working group, including representatives from Devon and Dorset County Councils, East Devon and West Dorset District Councils. Lyme Regis Town Council and Uplyme Parish Council, to use such information in the development of a strategic approach to the management of traffic and parking requirements…”

“Sadly, this group has never met…

“It is disappointing that another planning application (validated on 19 March 2018) was submitted by Lyme Regis Town Council, seeking further temporary consent from 30 March 2018. The application is essentially a copy of that submitted in 2017, so it again neither offers supporting evidence requested following the 2014 application, nor demonstrates any significant progress in that direction.

“This lack of progress makes it impossible for me to intervene again on the grounds I used in 2017.

“Despite several instances of ‘factual inaccuracy’ by the applicant, I commend both East Devon planners and Uplyme Parish Council on their rigorous adherence to dealing professionally with each successive application, according to planning policy and guidelines.

“Notwithstanding difficulties experienced to date, I am confident that East Devon District Council, Uplyme Parish Council, other local authority neighbours and I, remain willing to work with Lyme Regis Town Council to develop the best possible long-term solution to the management of traffic and associated parking requirements in and around Lyme Regis and Uplyme.”

Lyme Regis deputy mayor, Cllr Steve Miller, said: “Lyme Regis Town Council was extremely disappointed to learn, immediately prior to a busy bank holiday and the school half term, that East Devon District Council refused the application for continued temporary use of the Sidmouth Road park and ride site.

“We are surprised by the tone and content of the press release issued by East Devon District Council, a copy of which was not supplied to the town council. We believe such a release is not normal practice on refusal of a planning application.

“The town council will obviously review available options before deciding how to proceed, which may involve appealing the planning authority’s decision.

“In the meantime, the work to obtain the evidence previously requested by East Devon District Council has already been commissioned via independent experts Hydrock and will continue. However, this has been made more difficult by the refusal of the Sidmouth Road application.

“This work will ascertain the best parking, transport and signage strategies for the town and will be pursued by the town council in the best long-term interests of the residents and businesses of Lyme Regis and those visiting the town we all love.

“The 400-space Charmouth Road Park and ride site will continue to operate throughout the peak summer periods. In addition, the town council has just agreed to extend the bus service to include all June weekends.

“The town council is grateful for the help and support it received from West Dorset District Council, its local representative and the landowner in achieving the permanent permission for the use of the Charmouth Road facility, which is also in an area of outstanding natural beauty.” …

http://www.midweekherald.co.uk/news/planners-reject-lyme-park-and-ride-application-1-5538074

Independent East Devon Alliance councillor Geoff Jung seeks support for a (non-political) Jurassic National Park

Press release:

“A Jurassic National Park makes sense Says East Devon Councillor

East Devon’s new leader Cllr Ian Thomas has been contacted regarding Mr Michael Gove’s announcement that the government is considering creating new National Parks within the UK.

Cllr Geoff Jung who is Ward Councillor for Raleigh Ward that includes several rural villages including Collaton Raleigh, Otterton, Bicton and Yettington and most of Woodbury Common that are all within the “Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty” of East Devon has written to Cllr Thomas asking for his and full council support in creating a Jurassic National Park to cover the length of the Jurassic Coast from Poole Harbour in Dorset to Exe Estuary which would include Woodbury Common and the villages he represents.
This is because a few years ago the Council discussed the concept of creating a joint Dorset and East Devon National Park which they considered neither appropriate or achievable.

However, Cllr Geoff Jung points out that since then a lot has changed as the District Council is now working with Exeter, Teignbridge and Mid Devon Councils with the Greater Exeter Strategic Plan, to provide for extra housing and commercial development in the Greater Exeter growth area it would now make sense to open a dialogue with Dorset and the Government.
To the Leader of East Devon District Council.

(An open Letter to the leader of East Devon District Council)

Michael Gove the Environment Secretary has stated today (27/05/2018) plans for a new “Green revolution”, with a possible new generation of National Parks and changes to the boundaries to our Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

This review is our one opportunity in East Devon to protect and enhance our beautiful area!

Within East Devon we have the Pebblebed Heaths (commonly known as Woodbury Common) and the Blackdown Hills designated as AONBs. We also have the World Heritage Jurassic Coast which covers the coast line area from Exmouth through to Lyme Regis in Dorset, and the Exe Estuary which is a most important habitat being designated a SSSI and RAMSAR site.

The review is to be conducted by a panel led by Julian Glover, a former Downing Street adviser. They will look at both extending existing AONB and National Parks or possibly creating new ones.

Mr Gove says the review will consider landscapes such as the Chilterns and South Devon Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) to join the list of 10 National Parks.

It should be noted that Mr Gove mentions South Devon which may not include our own district but would possibly include the “South Hams” only.

It is well known that National Park status “provides safeguards at the highest level “In most National Parks the decisions on planning matters are dealt with through the “National Park Authority.” However, in the recently formed South Downs National Park, the Local Authority administer the planning process, on behalf of the National Park.

I understand that Dorset and East Devon were in discussions a few years ago regarding a “Jurassic National Park” which would cover the coast line of the Jurassic Coast and the hinterland of some of East Devon and Dorset including the areas of AONB in each area. However, I understand that the proposals were not considered appropriate at that time.

I understand from colleagues in Dorset that they are now considering applying to Mr Gove to designate the Dorset area of the Jurassic Coast from Poole Harbour to Lyme Regis to be included in a National Park.

This very important review of the AONBs and National Parks could mean that with the current policy of EDDC we may find ourselves having a new National Park in Dorset and in the South Hams but none in our area!

This would be a travesty in East Devon considering that one of the Jurassic Coast`s most important areas is the undercliff between Lyme Regis and Seaton and we already have the Pebblebed Heaths and the Blackdown Hills.
The loss to East Devon’s Tourist trade and the exclusion of funding and grants that will be allocated to the new National Parks would mean our area lose out on a once in a lifetime opportunity for protecting our beautiful unique landscape.

East Devon District Council is discussing with their neighbours in the west (Exeter, Teignbridge, Mid Devon Councils) a plan development. The GESP (the Greater Exeter Strategic Plan) is looking at the “Growth Area” for possible expansion of housing and commerce within the confines of commuting distance of the main driver which is the growth of the City of Exeter.

However up to now our dialogue with our eastern neighbours has resulted in a negative response to a joint National Park.

I would strongly support that we endeavour to work with our growth point neighbours to the East but at the same time discuss with the National Park Panel and our Dorset neighbours to plan a balanced and unique area of managed economic growth to provide the required housing, infrastructure and commerce, and at the same time expand the AONB designated areas and strive for a joint Jurassic National Park that would include the most important natural areas in our district.

East Devon is about to be placed at a crossroads, do we ignore our wonderful and unique selling point which is our countryside and only concentrate on growth or do we aim to deliver on both these important issues?

This issue most not become a Party-Political tool, but be endorsed by all the parties and independents at East Devon District Council.

I therefore ask for your support and urgent consideration.
Councillor Geoff Jung
Raleigh Ward. East Devon District Councillor”

East Devon National Park? Not in EDDC’s (many thousands of) back yards!

Gove wants more national parks. Dorset wanted a Jurassic National Park for Dorset and East Devon. Then EDDC Leader Paul Diviani said NO, NO, NO – we would lose control of planning (housing growth is heavily restricted in national parks).

And Clinton Devon Estates is most definitely against it too:

https://eastdevonwatch.org/2017/11/09/dorset-positive-about-national-park-we-cant-join-up-as-diviani-doesnt-want-to-lose-control-of-assets/

And we wouldn’t want that, would we ….. well, naturally, of course, Owl would! And Owl suspects many others would welcome it.

A test of new Leader Ian Thomas’s green credentials?

“New wave of national parks could be created under Michael Gove’s plans for a ‘Green Brexit’

A new generation of National Parks could be created under Michael Gove’s plans for a “Green revolution”, The Telegraph can disclose.
The Environment Secretary is announcing on Sunday a sweeping review of the country’s protected landscapes, 70 years after the designation of the first National Parks.

The review, to be conducted by a panel led by Julian Glover, a former Downing Street adviser, “will look at both extending existing sites or creating new ones”, Mr Gove’s department said.

It is likely to consider calls for landscapes such as the Chilterns and South Devon Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) to join the list of 10 National Parks, which include the Lake District, Snowdonia and New Forest, and are protected by dedicated planning authorities and given special status in law.

Earlier this month, Dame Cheryl Gillan, the former Conservative cabinet minister, warned the Chilterns AONB was “threatened by development on all sides” and said National Park status “would provide safeguards at the highest level”.

Writing for the Telegraph, Mr Gove describes how National Parks are made particularly precious by the fact they are legally required to “promote opportunities for enjoyment” for visitors and to “provide homes for the farmers who keep our countryside both productive and beautiful”.

He adds: “In order to ensure our protected landscapes are in the best possible shape to meet future challenges I have asked the acclaimed writer Julian Glover, a passionate advocate for the countryside and a resident of one of our National Parks, to lead a review into how we can guarantee our most precious landscapes are in an even healthier condition for the next generation. The goal of Julian’s review is not to diminish their protection in any way, but to strengthen it in the face of present-day challenges.
“Are we properly supporting all those who live in, work in, or want to visit these magnificent places? Should we indeed be extending our areas of designated land? Could we do more to enhance our wildlife and support the recovery of natural habitats?”

The review, a key plank of the Government’s 25-year Environment Plan for a “Green Brexit”, will seek to “enhance natural habitats and protect plants and wildlife” as well as consider “expanding [the] network of National Parks and AONBs, supporting people who live and work there,” the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs said. It will also look at ways to improve public access, in line with a separate pledge by Mr Gove to replace EU farming subsidies with a new system which pays farmers to improve access to their land.

The last time a new National Park was created was in 2009. Dame Cheryl has said designating the Chilterns as a National Park would help to “enhance the environment”.

Campaigners have also called for the Dorset AONB to be upgraded to National Park status, while others have advocated designating the Forest of Dean and Herefordshire Black Mountains as AONBs. While both statuses afford special protections, National Parks have a second formal purpose, under the 1995 Environment Act, to “promote opportunities for the understanding and enjoyment of the special qualities” of the areas by the public.

The Government pledged to conduct a review of protected landscapes as part of its 25-year Environment Plan. In its foreword, Mr Gove stated: “The plan looks forward to delivering a Green Brexit – seizing this once-in-a-lifetime chance to reform our agriculture and fisheries management, how we restore nature, and how we care for our land, our rivers and our seas.”

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2018/05/26/new-wave-national-parks-could-created-michael-goves-plans-green/

New EDDC Leader a ‘solution finder’ says another obsequious Tory Councillor

Owl says: Ah, Mark Williamson – how little you understand about your own council! What it REALLY needs is a leader who makes sure the problems don’t occur in the first place! Not one who has to get into the deep holes that have already been dug for him by his own party!

“East Devon District Council’s new leader has been described as a “solution finder” by a fellow councillor.

Councillor Ian Thomas was unanimously elected to become the new leader of the council at the annual council meeting last night.

The Conservative, who has represented Trinity Ward since 2009 and is a director of the Exeter Science Park Company, replaces Councillor Paul Diviani, who announced that he would be stepping down from his post earlier this year.

We all know that the next ten years will be the most difficult and challenging for local government, and we need someone with financial acumen and creativity to lead us, and in his business career, he has demonstrated that each day. He is a solution finder, and that is exactly what we need now and for the forthcoming year.”
Councillor Mark Williamson”

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/live/uk-england-devon-44037998