Devon planners told to go home by developer – s/he has the county sewn up?

Not sure which district council this is (Teignbridge, Torridge?) but one developer appears to believe s/he runs the district and possibly even the county. As the blogger (Andrew Lainton – Decisions, Decisions blog) says, the alleged author may well regret his or her early morning post!

The wild (south) west of planning!

https://andrewlainton.wordpress.com/2017/10/13/go-home-devon-planners-wilson-architects-and-planner-will-replace-all-your-local-plans/amp/

“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. …”

http://www.exmouthjournal.co.uk/news/new-33-bed-hotel-planned-clyst-st-mary-1-5226031

Air pollution – citizen fights back

“An environmental campaigner is to bring a legal challenge over a city council’s adoption of its Local Plan, claiming that it is in breach of procedural requirements with regard to compliance with air pollution law.
The Canterbury District Local Plan proposes 16,000 new houses, mostly near Canterbury, on farmland outside the city boundary, with new slip roads, relief roads and further infrastructure.

The claimant, Emily Shirley, argues that this will result in additional car journeys of up to 112,000 daily, adding significantly to Canterbury’s roads.

Represented by law firm Leigh Day, she claims that the impact on air pollution was not properly considered by Canterbury City Council when adopting the plan and that the local authority failed to assess the cumulative effects of the proposed developments on the Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) as required by the Environmental Assessment of Plans and Programmes Regulations 2004.

Shirley is crowd funding the case through the CrowdJustice website. She said: “Air pollution is the invisible killer. Everyone knows how congested Canterbury’s roads are but few are aware of the dangers of air pollution. For many years, individuals, amenity groups and parish councils have tried to get air pollution reduction measures implemented in Canterbury without success. Challenging the Adopted Canterbury Local Plan in the High Court will hopefully lead to a Plan that will reduce the unlawful air pollution levels as soon as possible.”

Rowan Smith, solicitor at Leigh Day, said: “With the dangers of air pollution so much of a zeitgeist issue, it is unfathomable that the City Council is prepared to risk making things worse in its area. You only have to look at the UK’s recent commitment to ban the sale of all diesel and petrol vehicles from 2040 to realise how out of step these plans are with current low carbon trends in policy-making. The legal errors we say it has made in formulating its plans only further demonstrate how imperative it is that the City Council goes back to the drawing board.”

Canterbury City Council has been approached for comment.

Judgment is meanwhile awaited in an earlier legal challenge on air pollution grounds in Canterbury this year. This challenge, also involving Shirley – Shirley & Rundell vs Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government – was heard in the High Court in July 2017. This case concerned the failure of the Secretary of State to call in a large planning application of 4,000 houses on air pollution grounds.”

http://localgovernmentlawyer.co.uk/index.php

Is EDDC gearing up for even greater development for 5-year Local Plan review?

All Local Plans have to be reviewed every five years. Though it is likely that the next Local Plan won’t be very local as “Greater Exeter” will almost certainly be what is put forward, East Devon being only one part of it.

Now it seems the current Local Plan didn’t go to plan!

The number of new homes being built in East Devon has dramatically dropped, government data has revealed.

In total, 620 new properties were completed by private developers and housing associations in 2016/17.

But this is more than 250 homes fewer than were built in 2013/14, 2014/15 and 2015/16 – where an average of 836 new properties were finished each year.

In the last decade, a total of 4,690 properties have been built and completed in the district and more than 12,600 new homes were finished across Devon. …

http://www.sidmouthherald.co.uk/news/number-of-new-homes-being-built-in-east-devon-dramatically-drops-1-5155038

In fact 2013/14 and 2014/15 and 2015/16 were the result of the years during which the developer free-for-all took place when EDDC had no Local Plan and no 5 year land supply so we had a situation where, under government rules, developers could build any amount of houses practically anywhere. So it’s hardly surprising there was a boom.

So, it now appears that, in fact, the number of houses EDDC had expected to see built this year haven’t materialised.

That could mean that more will be front-loaded to a revised (probably Greater Exeter) plan. And/or the whole area might be back to not having a 5-year land supply so it will be a developer free-for-all – again.

What is VERY interesting is that around 37% of all new homes in the whole of Devon have been built in East Devon in the last decade.

Perhaps time for other parts of Greater Exeter to take the strain in the coming decade?

Why “growth” is almost impossible in East Devon

Our Local Enterprise Partnership trumpets “growth, growth, we must have growth to prosper” and EDDC chose the highest growth figures to ensure its Local Plan got LOTS of housing. But they both seem to have forgotten something that their bible, the Daily Telegraph, now points out:

Britain’s productivity crisis risks getting worse because the population is ageing steadily, leaving relatively fewer younger, more dynamic workers who typically innovate more.

Unless drastic action is taken to boost skills and creativity, or to increase the number of young workers, then growth will struggle to pick up, according to new economic research published in the journal of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research.

“The share of young workers impacts the innovation process positively and, as a result, a change in the demographic profile that skews the distribution of the population to the right [older], leads to a decline in innovation activity,” said the paper, written by Yunus Aksoy, Henrique Basso and Ron Smith. …

To avert a sustained slowdown they recommend that governments should look at ways to make the dwindling proportion of young people more productive.

“Unless there are drastic changes most OECD countries will need to devise new policies to foster medium-run economic growth in an environment with ageing population, perhaps by increasing investment in human capital,” the researchers believe.

Alternative options are also available, but some may be less politically palatable – for instance, encouraging greater flows of migrants of working age into the country.

“Demographics are not destiny and our conclusions assume that there will not be major changes in rates of immigration, labour force participation, fertility or longevity,” the economists said.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2017/08/07/ageing-population-make-productivity-crisis-worse/

“Cranbrook expansion plans for 1,200 new homes opposed by Cranbrook town council”

“Cranbrook town council voted on Monday night to object to plans for the southern expansion of the new town. Two new applications for the southern expansion of Cranbrook have been submitted to East Devon District Council for the outline planning permission for 27.2 hectares of residential development, 9.2 hectares of employment development, a new primary school, a local community centre, and sport pitches and tennis courts as part of a sports hub.

The plans includes 1,200 new homes, a new primary school, a sports hub, a petrol station, and a site for travellers and were a revision of plans that had been outlined in 2015 but had been deferred while the Cranbrook Development Plan Document was being finalised.

The revised plans would see a reduction of 350 homes, a reduction in employment space by 5,000 square meters to 35,000 square meters, enhanced sports and play areas with all-weather facilities, floodlighting, changing facilities and children’s play, community uses as well as the possibility of gypsy and traveller pitches as an alternative to employment land.

But concerns by the council’s planning committee were raised about the fact that the proposals added land for housing on the eastern edge of the original proposals between Parsons Lane and the Country Park boundary immediately opposite the existing homes in Post Coach Way which front the B3174, and they requested further clarification on the gypsy and/or traveller allocation being provided.

The committee said: “Broadly the planning proposals being considered are in line with East Devon District Council’s Local Plan 2013-2031, which precludes development within the Neighbourhood Plan areas of the surrounding villages. By reducing the application to 1,200 homes, the proposals maintain an acceptable density per hectare and respect the Neighbourhood Plan areas of the two immediate parish neighbours.

“The Committee considered that density of 45 dwellings per hectare as acceptable and reiterated that parking issues associated with that level of density were well recorded.

“The Committee felt that the applications ignored previous pledges about the green wedge contained within East Devon District Council’s Local Plan 2013-2031. Councillors were anxious to preserve the green wedge between Cranbrook and Rockbeare and considered the proposed wedge too narrow.

The proposal added land for housing on the eastern edge of the original proposals between Parsons Lane and the Country Park boundary immediately opposite the existing homes in Post Coach Way which front the B3174 which may raise concerns about visual impact from the village of Rockbeare.

“The inclusion of the “gypsy and traveller pitches” required clarification.The Town Council always maintained a position that it is acceptable for Cranbrook to accommodate a proportionate and reasonable number of pitches particularly to provide permanent homes for gypsy and/or traveller families and this provision should be within the allocation of affordable homes within the scheme.

“The indicative site was, however, shown as an alternative to employment land and had close proximity to the airport. This site was not suitable for settled gypsy or traveller families to be located because of its proximity to the airport and the Committee felt that a possible transition site should be located nearer the main arterial routes and the M5 and not in a residential area

“The Committee also reiterated that there was a need to separate between sites for each group and, traditionally both genuine gypsy and genuine traveller families were not usually content to share sites with new age or caravan travellers.”

They resolved to object to the planning applications.

Since the build of the new town in East Devon began in 2010, 3,500 homes, a railway station, St Martin’s Primary School, play facilities, the neighbourhood centre, local shops, the education campus, the Cranbrook Farm pub, while construction of buildings in the town centre and the sports pitches are underway, while plans for the ecology park in the town have also been submitted.

The application for the southern expansion for Cranbrook would see the town get an additional 1,200 homes, but also a petrol station, a residential care home, employment land, a new primary school, and an all-weather sports facility.”

http://www.devonlive.com/cranbrook-expansion-plans-opposed-by-cranbrook-town-council/story-30445666-detail/story.html

Express and Echo names EDDC Vice-Chair Helen Parr as councillor under police investigation at Colyton

Councillor Parr is standing for the DCC Seaton and Colyton seat at elections tomorrow.

“The vice-chairman of East Devon District Council is under investigation over an allegation she influenced plans to develop her area while failing to declare an interest.

Councillor Helen Parr will be speaking to police officers on a voluntary basis, the Express & Echo understands.

The investigation into the councillor for Coly Valley regards late changes to the East Devon Villages plan made after she was among those who spoke at the meeting of the East Devon District Council strategic planning committee on February 20.

Cllr Parr is a director of a company which owns land next to the former Ceramtec factory site in Colyton. The factory was due to be slated for housing until Cllr Parr spoke at the planning meeting and it was decided to recommend that it remains for employment.

She told the committee: “The main concern and why people are not at all happy about what is proposed in the document is that the built up area boundary line now has suddenly, after the consultation, gone out round the built section of the Ceramtec site.

“It is a very large site and will accommodate, if it went only to houses, about 80 houses. It would be a large development for Colyton which nobody, until now, had any inkling of, in that the built-up area boundary excluded this site.

“There is concern because the bottom line for Colyton is that we lost 80 jobs when this factory closed and we would like to retained as much as possible for employment land.

“I would ask the committee to agree or to propose that the wording should make it clear that on the preamble to the plan that on page 20 it includes words that show that this is protected as an employment site and it should be retained for employment use.”

The East Devon Alliance – a group of independent district councillors – has raised concerns about Cllr Parr’s conduct with Devon & Cornwall Police.

Members say she should have declared and interest and not spoken on the issue.

Cllr Parr and her husband are directors of J & FJ Baker & Company Limited, which owns land at Turlings Farm, next to the Ceramtec site.

East Devon Alliance Councillor Cathy Gardner, at last week’s East Devon District Council meeting, revealed that there was an ongoing police investigation into the council’s handling of the matter.

A spokesperson for Devon & Cornwall Police said it could not confirm or deny the scope of the police investigation. Cllr Parr was asked for comment, but said that due to purdah – rules brought in before an election – she could not say anything.

Last year J & FJ Baker & Company Limited bought land on the south side of Turlings Farm which connects the Ceramtec site to the farm that the Parrs own. They paid £1 for the strip of property.

Cllr Gardner said at last week’s meeting of East Devon District Council: “It may be proven that undue influence has distorted the content of the plan. If that does turn out to be the case, do you agree that it is the responsibility of this council to rectify the result of this influence – in order to ensure the residents of Colyton are not adversely affected and to do so before the plan goes to the (Planning) Inspector?”

In response, Cllr Paul Diviani, the council’s leader, said: “In terms of the village plan, I can’t see a reason why we should be inclined to second guess what an inspector or other authority or otherwise is going to do and in that respect I will reserve judgement as to when we actually do take action.”

An East Devon Alliance source told the Echo: “She is the vice-chairman of the council and has been the chairman of the planning committee for years, so she knows what she is doing, so we have got to pursue this.”

An East Devon District Council spokesman said: “Only the three statutory officers at the council together with one other officer were aware that there was a police investigation prior to the meeting of council on Wednesday and these officers have kept the matter confidential.

“Given that there is an active police investigation, and the sensitivities around purdah for both the county and General Election, it would be wholly inappropriate for the council to comment on the investigation at this time. The council also cannot comment on how Cllr Gardner became aware of the police investigation, and the chief executive and monitoring officer were surprised that she raised this matter at a public meeting.

“The process that has been followed for the village plan and the representations made/considered by officers and reported to the strategic planning committee, can be found on the East Devon District Council website.”

The East Devon Villages Plan – a blueprint for development in the area – is currently out for consultation”.

REPRODUCEABLE IMAGES:

UNFORTUNATELY SOME IMAGES IN THIS ARTICLE ARE NOT REPRODUCEABLE HERE – SEE LINK TO FULL ARTICLE AT END OF THIS POST WHICH IS REPEATED VERBATIM FROM THE DEVON-LIVE WEBSITE. FOR FULL STORY AND ALL EVIDENTIAL IMAGES SEE:

http://www.devonlive.com/east-devon-council-vice-chairman-to-speak-to-police-over-plan-changes/story-30310460-detail/story.html