Unrest in Otterton – planning policies in shambles

Otterton Residents frustration to visitor and contractor traffic.

Residents in the beautiful village of Otterton are very concerned after the hot summer which has seen a heavy increase to their village roads with serious problems in noise pollution and traffic with visitors to Ladram Bay Holiday Park and now large mobile homes getting stuck in the village and causing further frustration to local people.

Residents blame EDDC and the County Council for allowing the Holiday Park to expand over the last 20 years and not listening to their views or those of the Parish Council concerns.

However, District Councillor Cllr Geoff Jung who has been the District Councillor for the last 3 years for Raleigh Ward that includes Ladram Bay, says:

“I have done everything possible to control the expansion of the Holiday Park. The Park is there and there is nothing that a Planning Authority can do to reduce its size.”

“The East Devon Local Plan does not support any further expansion for any Holiday Park within the AONB, and with the site being on the Jurassic Coast which is a World Heritage site, this you would think would be reason enough to protect the area from further expansion.”

“However as demonstrated at East Devon’s planning meeting last Tuesday regarding Industrial units to be built at Blackhill Quarry in the AONB of Woodbury Common, that although it was against East Devon’s local plan policies, the lack of support from Natural England and the controlling party Tory Councillors supporting Enterprise over Environmental issues, the committee unfortunately voted to approve the application by just one vote!!”

“The justification for Blackhill was – it will provide jobs and unfortunately RSPB and National England did not object won the day. I fear the same will happen when three outstanding Ladram Bay planning applications that are being considered at present.”

The 3 planning Applications awaiting determination are:

18/2015/FUL LPG storage tanks Ladram Bay Otterton Budleigh Salterton EX9 7BX.
This is for the siting of large storage tanks in the field above the existing Holiday Park and the Public Road.

8/1517/FUL Retrospective application for a new ‘splash’ zone adjacent to the indoor swimming pool, extension to viewing deck at junction of beach and slipway; relocation and re-orientation of bases and addition of static caravan. These developments have already been built and the owners have been requested to summit the applications to comply to Planning Policy.
The Jurassic Coast Trust has objected, plus the Parish Council and 10 individuals. The Planning department are awaiting further comments from the AONB and Natural England before they come to a decision.

17/1584/FUL for revisions to a planning permission submitted in 2016, 16/1709/FUL for the construction of new service yard and building. Again, this application covers work that has already been carried out with new roads car park and a service yard being built one third larger than originally approved.

This application is being held up for further landscaping proposals from the applicant before it can be finally being determined by the planning department.

Infrastructure: Shortfall of £270m over period of Local Plan says external auditor

“Appendix A page 39

Click to access 180118bpauditgovernaceoperationalrisk.pdf

“Current estimates show that there will be a £270 million shortfall in infrastructure over the period of the Local Plan. Changes in legislation are needed to address this albeit a CIL charging schedule review is underway and may improve the situation. Fundamentally the current system relies on funding from other sources and infrastructure providers and so pressure needs to be put in bodies such as DCC, NHS etc to help fund infrastructure projects in the district.”

“Knowle relocation project: full Pegasus contract published”

Some VERY VERY interesting information!

It seems that PegasusLife had no plans to pay any Section 106 contributions, or Community Infrastructure Levy.

The PegasusLife contract that would have been signed had the DMC not refused planning permission and the Savill’s report on how the company got it is detailed in full here:


Where further revelations are promised.

Sidmouth – indeed the whole district – should thank Jeremy Woodward, who worked tirelessly to get this information.

The Information Commissioner had to threaten EDDC with the possibility of being in contempt of court when they issued their Decision Notice forcing publication, after an appeal from EDDC that they should not be made to issue it or at least not without without so much redaction it would likely be pointless. EDDC had been planning to appeal the Information Commissioner’s Decision Notice but suddenly withdrew this action – presumably knowing it would not succeed.

EDDC then issued a press release saying that all the hours and hours they must have spent opposing publication “cost nothing” as it was only officer time.

Owl wonders which senior officers work for nothing!

This sorry tale should be examined by EDDC’s Scrutiny Committee forthwith.

And now ANOTHER potential devolution deal to add to the mix! This one with government approval?

Sajid Javid Speaking on the Exeter University campus in October, said:

“Some in Cornwall see their county as distinct from the rest of the region, a special case that should be handled separately from everywhere east of the Tamar.

Some in Poole and Bournemouth associate themselves more closely with Southampton, Portsmouth and the M3 corridor than with rural Dorset.
And then there the traditional, often historic, rivalries and tensions that you find in any region.

One county looking down on another.

A smaller one mistrusting a larger neighbour.

Urban areas versus rural ones.

And so on.

If we’re going to make a success of the South West, that whole attitude has to change.

And that’s why today’s conference is so important.

It’s about recognising that this region can achieve MORE TOGETHER THAN APART.

About long-term strategic thinking and planning that benefits everyone – NOT PROMOTING ONE AREA AT THE EXPENSE OF ANOTHER.”

He was speaking at the creation of the “South West Growth charter Group” (spearheaded by leadership of the Pennon Group, owners of the utility company South West Water). Encouraged, this group pulled together a charter for the South West covering all the four counties in a matter of days and sent it to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (Javid) ahead of the autumn statement.

This strongly suggest that neither the Exeter and Plymouth nor the Heart of the South West bids might be going anywhere (one is too parochial, the other hasn’t got a mayor). $64,000 question is who will get how much from the £191 million allocated to South West LEP in the autumn statement?


PS Can anyone explain to Owl why the head of the local monopoly water company with its captive customers and charging astronomic bills is the right choice to lead a regional growth plan?

Campaign for Better Transport for the South West

“Local campaigners are coming together to launch the Campaign for Better Transport South West, with the question: “What’s your beef?”

The group says it will aim to tackle the many problems facing everyday transport in the South West, from bus cuts and “needless” new roads, to poor rail links.
Chris Todd, roads campaigner, said: “We urge people to book their place at the launch event in Bristol for our new transport group, Campaign for Better Transport South West.

“It’s an opportunity, for people to voice their concerns about transport in the region and get involved in issues that really matter to them.

… Event details: Saturday 14 November, Hamilton House, 80 Stokes Croft, Bristol BS1 3QY Time: 10.30-4.30pm

Guest speakers: Steve Melia, senior lecturer in Transport and Planning at University of the West of England and Stephen Joseph, chief executive, Campaign for Better Transport.”


More on that anti-social behaviour in Cranbrook. .. it’s adults as well as children

. .. as referred to in the recent DCC report. Yet another example of why appropriate infrastructure and social support MUST be built into new communities from the start:

“Anti-Social Behaviour, Cranbrook Park
On Monday 13th July PCSO Stannard held a Police surgery at St Martin’s Primary School with Mrs Beard (Head of the school) to listen to parents concerns about the level of anti-social behaviour (ASB) in the play park in Cranbrook.

Around a dozen parents showed up to discuss with me some of the issues that they have witnessed and had reported to them from their children. Some of these issues include bullying, intimidation and damage being caused to some of the play equipment. Many children now feel too scared to use the park in case they encounter any of this bullying.

The ASB is not just being caused by the children, with some adults causing problems too. There have been occasions when parents have been encouraging their child’s unruly behaviour, arguments between parents and also reports of adults smoking in the park.

This is all totally unacceptable.

PCSO Stannard has been given a list of names of some of the people acting inappropriately and we will be going to speak to them all over the next week about their behaviour.

If you witness anti-social behaviour in and around the park area, please report it to the police so we are fully aware of all of the problems and can take action to stop it, after all, the park is there to be enjoyed by all. Extra patrols will be undertaken in the area and anybody acting inappropriately will be dealt with in an appropriate manner.

release date: 14 Jul 2015”


What mainstream media isn’t telling you about that DCC Cranbrook Report!

What the Express and Echo article on Cranbrook DIDN’T report:

Firstly, that along with Councillor Moulding, other EDDC (or former EDDC) councillors were part of the DCC task group which were closely involved with the development of Cranbrook: councillors Bowden and former EDDC Leader Sarah Randall-Johnson.

and bits of the report that didn’t make the mainstream media have been extracted here:

Developers are house builders, not town builders. The planning of e.g. the town centre and open spaces is the responsibility of the district council as the local planning authority whose responsibility it is to ensure that developing land commercially is coordinated with building a new community with social as well as physical facilities and infrastructure. It took five years to negotiate the original Section 106 Agreement.

Numerous concerns were shared with the task group in relation to the developers’ activities, among them a large number of incidents relating to the quality of the completed homes, including compliance with plans and residents struggling to encourage developers to address any shortcomings. Landscaping of community space has followed rather than preceded development and the management and maintenance of future community space and development land is lacking. The number of complaints regarding the quality of the built environment resulted in some community representatives being concerned about Cranbrook’s future reputation and the success of future phases.

Despite numerous invitations it was disappointing that none of the four house builders were available to comment on the concerns which participants shared with the task group.

Community Infrastructure

There is no standard model for planning community infrastructure and negotiating with developers, service commissioners and providers, but what is critical in creating a new town is upfront funding to support delivery the development of roads, community infrastructure and affordable housing from the public purse. Some of those facilities, e.g. the primary and secondary schools, Clyst Honiton bypass and Younghayes Community Centre, have been finalised ahead of schedule in Cranbrook. For others, notably the train station, there is a strong public perception that facilities are substantially behind schedule. Building and operating facilities without residents to use them is not viable but equally, residents expect facilities as soon as they move in. Participants repeatedly called for a multi-disciplinary team to plan and shape the future provision of services in Cranbrook.

In the absence of alternative public transport provision other than a limited but expanding bus service, car parking facilities were described as inadequate, including insufficient car parking allocation per bedroom, no visitors’ car parking, allocated parking bays being situated away from homes and garages being physically too small for cars to fit in them. Concern was expressed that habits formed in the early days would be hard to unlearn and that transport infrastructure should be delivered in line with residential development. Residents criticised “blue sky” bicycle thinking ignoring the reality that today’s Society had a two car per dwelling dependency which should be catered for in new development.

The roads in the town are not yet adopted, and as they are carrying significant volumes of construction traffic, the County Council does not currently have timescales for when responsibility will be transferred. The maintenance for the roads remains the responsibility of the developers, including gritting in the winter. The task group understands that the developers have an agreement with Devon County Council to finance gritting by the highway authority in severe weather. Several participants expressed concerns about dangerous car parking by residents and developers on pavements, corners and junctions but Devon County Council cannot extend its civil parking enforcement service until the roads are adopted.

Safe access routes to the Cranbrook Education Campus (primary and secondary schools) were due to be completed by the end of August 2015, including secure footpaths. An Infrastructure Site Manager employed by the Developer Consortium was overseeing their completion.

The task group remains concerned about the secondary school being located next to the railway line. Network Rail has committed to delivering awareness training for the children once per year in the school. The school was also planning to operate manned gates.

The main road through Cranbrook is not finished which might cause problems for parents whose children attend both the Cranbrook Education Campus. They would have to drop children off at both sites at similar times with no direct access route to both.

A pre-school facility would have assisted at an early stage.

When the first residents moved into Cranbrook in the summer of 2012, there was no social or community infrastructure or service provision beyond the completion of their homes. The task group repeatedly heard how this was a problem especially for the more vulnerable residents, including single parent families and residents without access to private transport. Social housing occupants were housed in Cranbrook and thereby removed from established communities, with shops, public transport and public services, and lived in Cranbrook in isolation. The complete lack of healthcare, social care or other professional support during the first 18-24 months meant that some residents were left to struggle on their own, exacerbating existing problems, including (post-natal/long-term) depression and drug/alcohol dependency.

Participants repeatedly expressed how there was provision for young children under the age of five in the form of open spaces and safe play areas, and some surrounded by unsafe fencing, but still no facilities exist for older children and teenagers. This resulted in problems, e.g. older children using the park and making it an unpleasant environment for younger children to play. Although funding had been available in the Section 106 Agreement from the beginning, the youth bus had only commenced at a later date. The task group understands that this provision was temporally withdrawn following an alleged antisocial behaviour incident at the end of July 2015. Participants commented that the provision should increase in order to combat antisocial behaviour issues, rather than be withdrawn.

The Cranbrook Medical Centre opened on 20 April 2015, nearly three years after the first residents moved in. An unsuccessful tender for new services and premises had been issued by the then Devon Primary Care NHS Trust in the past. The reorganisation of the NHS saw the responsibility for the commissioning of primary care services transfer to NHS England which awarded the contract to Devon Doctors. A funding challenge remains: Core services delivered in GP surgeries are funded per capita based on the number of formal registrations with a surgery. Although the current practice in Cranbrook has a capacity for approximately 3,500 patients, only 514 patients were formally registered at the end of July 2015. NHS England has provided some core minimum funding to the practice whilst the list size remains low and this will be paid until the registered population reaches a certain size, at which point capitation-based funding will be applied; another example of upfront funding required in the initial period. Two GPs, who are building their work load up to full time, and one nurse are currently practicing.

A backlog of patients who still need to be registered remains. When moving to Cranbrook, residents had to register with the Pinhoe & Broadclyst Medical Practice in cases where their old surgeries would not keep them registered. The Pinhoe & Broadclyst Medical Practice was difficult to access with public transport from Cranbrook which had proved a challenge for the more vulnerable members of the community.

Cranbrook is forecast to have approximately 20,000 residents by 2031 and the GP surgery will have to slowly evolve in order to grow in conjunction with the growth in residents and their future healthcare needs. The surgery will need a new building in the future with sufficient capacity to expand in a modular way to grow with the population. It would therefore be important for the NHS to be able to access Section 106 funding as appropriate to enable such premises to be facilitated, although there are concerns around State Aid which will need to be addresses as GP practices are effectively private businesses. NHS England is currently working with other health partners to develop a joint response to planning applications being received.


The independent pharmacy is being accommodated in temporary premises at present and the task group heard from participants how its provision might have been better coordinated and co-located with the GP surgery with improved forward planning.

One of the objectives in the development of Cranbrook is to develop the employment infrastructure, i.e. create one job per residential dwelling. Employment opportunities exist in nearby Exeter, the SkyPark and the Science Park and eventually in the town itself, with the intention that Cranbrook develops as a small enterprise town. The development of small-scale employment spaces is currently being pursued with the conversion of two residential dwellings into offices. Commercial properties in the town centre have not yet sold. The task group questioned where spaces are in the town for small- and medium-sized enterprises to establish their businesses. An Economic Development Strategy has been developed for Cranbrook.

Well, duh, We knew it wasn’t right! Can you BELIEVE the developers, officers and councillors didn’t see any of these major flaws? Or was it just a rush for maximum profits as fast as possible to take advantage of government sweeteners? AND Councillor Moulding (with his EDDC councillor hat on) was around the whole time but now criticises the project with his DCC hat on? You could not make it up! AND it seems Mr Cohen may have been too busy on the Knowle project to notice, too!

A NEW report has found that Cranbrook is not yet “future proof”, as there is no provision of bungalows, retirement homes, extra care housing and nursing homes for older residents.

The problem was highlighted in findings from a review by a county council task force. The task group’s report states that “a huge amount has been achieved” since building work began at Cranbrook in June 2011.

Cranbrook held its first elections in May and it now has its own Town Council to serve its estimated current population of around 2,500 people living in just over 1,000 homes.

The reports states that although the Cranbrook Medical Centre opened in April 2015, there was a “complete lack of healthcare, social care or other professional support during the first 18-24 months”.

The GP surgery will need a larger premises in future to have sufficient capacity for the town’s expanding population. The task group also found that the pharmacy, which is in a temporary premises, would be better served if it was located with the GP surgery.

The first residents moved to the town in summer 2012 and St Martin’s Primary School opened its doors shortly after, when less than 50 homes were occupied.

The school opened with just 32 children, but over 400 were attending by the end of the Summer Term. The Cranbrook Education Campus opened its doors to primary and secondary school children for the first time this month.

Cranbrook is served by a half-hourly bcus service and it has a network of cycle and walking routes which link to Exeter. The railway station is due to open this autumn, but its delivery is later than initially planned.

Residents in the town benefit from reduced energy prices, thanks to the district heating system which supplies Cranbrook and SkyPark. The system, which is the first low-density district heating system in the country, was hailed a success.

The report highlights some problems which need addressing as well as some areas where things could have been done differently.

It states that “Cranbrook is not yet future proof”, as there is currently no provision of bungalows, retirement homes, extra care housing and nursing homes for older residents.

It also highlights that the planning process for “crucial community infrastructure”, such as a leisure centre, library, children’s centre and town council offices, is only just starting despite the first residents moving in more than three years ago. However, the Younghayes Community Centre was completed ahead of schedule.

Councillor Andrew Moulding, who chaired the task group and is Chairman of the Place Scrutiny Committee, said: “Although the development of the town is a huge success, this task group uncovered many issues which need resolving, such as planning future development in a co-ordinated manner, accelerate provision for older children and young people, and identify the healthcare, social care and general wellbeing needs of the residents in order to plan future services.

“The task group commenced at a time when the development at Cranbrook reached a milestone with the near-completion of Phase 1 and with the imminent development of Sherford, a new town of similar size and scope in the South Hams close to the border with Plymouth.”

The task group’s final report contains a number of recommendations and lessons learnt. These include:

– The establishment of a multi-disciplinary team across Devon County Council to plan and implement the provision of future services in Cranbrook, Sherford, and large extensions to existing settlements. This team would cover everything from waste management to public health.

– Provision of services for older children and young people should be enhanced until permanent services are established.

– The establishment of a strategic health and wellbeing group to oversee the development of a health and wellbeing strategy for the town.

The report is available here



Talaton planning refusal will affect many other communities in East Devon

Two planning applications for 10 and 25 houses in Talaton have been refused on appeal. It is best to read the full document (see link below) for how it might affect YOUR community.

Basically, although the Inspector had a LOT to say about how he did not trust EDDC’s figures on 5 year land supply or its planning abilities in general particularly with regard to Cranbrook, the unsuitability of the suggested S106 option of village hall extra parking, the lack of sustainability AND Talaton’s nearness (within 10 km) of the Pebblebed Heath weighed heavily in his decision:

30. From the information in front of me, the Council has not demonstrated that previous under delivery has been accounted for within its five-year supply calculations. Even if the previous under-delivery has been accounted for within the estimated need of 17,100 identified within the SHMA, which is not certain, the way in which the Council have addressed the previous under-supply is not consistent with the aim of addressing it within the first five years, where possible. In the Council’s projection the 17,100 has been split evenly over the plan period, ‘the ‘Liverpool’ method. Whilst the PPG is not prescriptive in stating that any under-deliver must be recovered within the first five years it sets a clear preference for this approach, ‘where possible’. No evidence was presented by the Council to suggest that it would not be possible to recover any previous under-supply over the next five years and the Local Plan Inspector has previously written to the Council to advocate the ‘Sedgefield’ approach with the aim of boosting housing supply.

31. Moreover, I have concerns that the projected delivery rates for the new settlement at Cranbrook are not supported by clear evidence. The predicted completion rate for the two phases of the development over each of the following five years is 467 dwellings per annum. However, the March 2015 HMU identifies that there had been 757 completions between ‘summer’ 2012 and August 2014. It is not clear when development commenced but the published completion rate suggests a figure in the region of 350 to 375 dwellings per year over the two year period. The Council suggested orally at the Hearing that there is evidence to suggest that delivery rates are likely to increase but no firm evidence was submitted to show how the predicted delivery rates had been derived. In effect, those predictions show an increase of approximately 100 dwellings a year at the site, over and above the published rate of completion to date. That rate of delivery is not supported by the evidence presented to me.

I conclude that the location of the site is such that the proposed developments would result in unsustainable travel patterns resulting in an increase in the use of the private car. The harm resulting from those unsustainable travel patterns would be comparatively greater for the proposed development in Appeal B due to the greater number of dwellings in that scheme. Both proposals would be contrary to the requirements of policy TA1 of the LP and policy TC2 of the ELP, which state that new development should be located so as to be accessible by pedestrians, cyclists and public transport and well related to compatible uses to as to minimise the need to travel by car.

the proposed car park [for the village hall] is not directly, or even indirectly, related to the impact of the proposed scheme and is not necessary because of it. Thus, the offer to provide the car park is not a matter that I can take into account in reaching my decision, having regard to paragraph 204 of the Framework and regulation 122 of the Community Infrastructure Levy Regulations (2010). Whether an individual landowner or developer chooses to offer the car park to the Parish Council is a matter for their consideration. It is not a factor that can be taken into account in reaching my decision.

…The appeal sites are within a 10km radius of the Pebblebed Heaths SAC/SPA. The Council have referred to the South East Devon European Site Mitigation Strategy10 (the Mitigation Strategy) which identifies that planned residential and tourist accommodation development within that radius would, in combination, have a detrimental effect on the integrity of the SAC/SPA, as a result of increased recreational pressure within the designated SAC/SPA boundaries. Both main parties agree that mitigation is necessary in order to off-set the harm caused by the proposed developments and clause 3.3 of the s.106 agreements in relation to both proposals indicates that planning permission should be refused in the absence of the proposed mitigation11. Based upon the findings of the Mitigation Strategy I concur with that view.

Paragraph 7 of the Framework identifies three dimensions of sustainable development, based on economic, social and environmental factors. The Framework identifies that these strands are mutually dependent and should not be considered in isolation. In this case, the village is not in a sustainable location in terms of its proximity to shops, services and employment opportunities. Future residents would be largely reliant upon the private car. That reliance would not foster a move towards a low carbon economy and would be contrary to the environmental dimension of sustainable development.

The full document is HERE13.1832 & 1833.mout

Inspector’s response to EDDC draft plan admin arrangements


Good to see that, in his last paragraph, he agrees that it was sensible to extend the public consultation period from six weeks to eight weeks because of the effect of elections – a concession suggested by and fought for by Councillor Claire Wright to which some other councillors objected.

EDDC and the Case of the Mysterious Numbers

An article in ine of today’s newspapers is about health and the figures for Body Mass Index and cholesterol ( Sunday Times). It makes the point that figures for “healthy” BMI and cholesterol were picked arbitrarily and based on little firm evidence and may be quite wrong.

Rather like EDDC’s old AND new annual housing figures.

Several readers have made the point that they can find no evidence at all for the figure of 950 houses a year for the next 18 years in any of the latest Local Plan documents. All sorts of figures are mentioned for all sorts of scenarios but 950 does not seem to be one of them.

Perhaps this is why Mr Thickett, the Inspector who is usually so quick at responding to EDDC, has yet to reply to EDDC’s submission of the new draft which they sent to him on 18 March 2015 (with Community Infrastructure Levy rate information sent on 30 March). He usually replies witin a few days.

This new draft must be giving him much food for thought.

Surely not yet another enormous blunder that will allow a developer free-for-all to continue well beyond the life of this (currently) Conservative-controlled district council with its “economic growth” at all costs mantra?

Oversubscribed schools in East Devon

Woodbury C of E (large development planned)
Exeter Road Primary and Brixingham Primary Exmouth (large developments planned)
West Hill Primary (large development in Ottery, development in West Hill)
Stockland Primary (no development there)
Lady Seward at Clyst St George (large developments planned)
Mrs Ethelstone’s Primary in Uplyme (large developments planned in Axminster nearby)

95% subscribed schools:
Ottery St Mary
Bassetts Farm Primary, Exmouth
Sidbury C of E (near where large industrial estate planned)
The Beacon and St Joseph’s in Exmouth
Feniton C of E (Wainhomes want to extend development)

Source:today’s Express and Echo newspaper

Underfunding of southwest rail services

“Since the line was severed at Dawlish, and the floods caused major disruption across our rail and road networks last year, we have been making the point to Government that the South West has a legacy of under-investment.

“It’s not just new schemes that have fallen by the wayside – maintenance is also a problem. For every £545 the Government spends in London, it is just £41 in the South West. That is simply not acceptable.

Read more: http://www.exeterexpressandecho.co.uk/Peninsula-Rail-Task-Force-blasts-unacceptable/story-25924047-detail/story.html