Greater Exeter Strategic Plan – Exeter leaks its “vision”*

“But not yet in East Devon until July 2019 (see below). It seems East Devon is the only council keeping ALL its plans secret until after the 2 May 2019 district council elections.

Fishy? You bet!

Anyway, here’s what we currently know:

Interesting proposals for changes to Sidmouth Road and Junction 30 of the M5. The Motorway Services and Sowton Park and Ride being developed as a “Mixed Neighbourhood” (see image above).

The Governments require the Greater Exeter Housing target to be 53,200 new homes over the next 20 years. That is for the combined area governed by East Devon, Teignbridge, Mid Devon and Exeter.

Exeter’s housing ambitions

Karime Hassan, chief executive and growth director of Exeter City Council revealed this week a proposal for 12,000 new homes in the City of Exeter over the next 20 years. His vision of “Liveable Exeter”, for delivering a transformational housing programme for Exeter from 2020 to 2040. involves the creation of 8 new neighbourhoods.

Exeter’s published Vision

Red Cow Village (St David’s) – 664 homes in new neighbourhood, including new work space, on both sides of the railway around St David’s Station.

Water Lane (close to Exe Valley Park) – 1,567 homes. A space for expanding leisure attractions near the quay, with low traffic or car-free development with attractive cycle and walking connections.

Marsh Barton – 5,544 homes in a new neighbourhood. It will remain an important employment and retail area, but with the integration of living and working, to make better use of riverside location. Development linked to the new proposed train station. Creation of new types of work space, including light industrial, workshops, office and shared work space.

East Gate (Heavitree Road) – 962 new homes, an enhanced approach to the city centre from the east, reduced traffic on Heavitree Road and a greater provision for public transport, walking and cycling. New places to live close to the city centre will exist alongside existing neighbourhoods.

West Gate (Western Way) – 617 new homes, opening up access to the river and canal from the city centre, a new cultural destination, an expanded and connected park at the heart of the city, a “Green Bridge” promoting active travel across the river.

South Gate (Holloway Street/South Street linked via Topsham Road) – 300 new homes, establishing an improved link between the city centre and the historic quayside, with a greater emphasis on the wall, city gates and Southernhay.

North Gate (North Street) – 308 new homes, a new approach to the city from St David’s, uncovering the medieval city wall.
Sandy Gate (land off Sandygate roundabout) – 1,050 new homes in a new sustainable and well-connected mixed-use neighbourhood, bridging the city and the new and existing neighbourhoods to the east, providing recreational, cultural and entertainment space where Exeter meets the proposed Clyst Valley Park.

Mid Devon’s published ambitions.

Mid Devon’s Local Plan is almost complete with a Planning Inspectors hearing due in the next few weeks to consult on their final draft.

Culm Valley on the South side of the M5 opposite Cullumpton create a new community of up to 5,000, with a new Motorway junction and railway Station.

Junction 27. A landmark project for a leisure and tourism development involving Tim Smit from the Edan Project
Tiverton Eastern Urban Extension will cover 153ha, to the east of Tiverton.

Teignbridge future ambitions.

Teignbridge has just started a review of their Local Plan and therefore their plans are in the infancy.

Brownfield Their preferred option to develop brownfield land for development however, the required number of homes the government require Teignbridge to build, is not possible to meet the housing needs from brownfield land only. Therefore, open countryside will need to be considered for development to meet the housing needs.

Garden village is being considered with the new settlement proposal to be between 1500-10,000 homes.

So – What are East Devon’s Ambitions?

Hard to say.

Although the other 3 Authorities are keeping their residents well informed on their sections of the GESP proposals, East Devon has been an almost total blackout! There has been a Local Plan in place since 2016 with most of new development being built in an area known as the West End. That is an area close to Exeter’s border plus the new Town of Cranbrook.

At East Devon District Council Strategic Planning Committee on Tuesday 29th January it was hoped that Agenda item 12 would be able to explain more on the Greater Exeter Strategic Plan strategy and provide councillors some clarity on the East Devon Local Plan, plus the East Devon Villages Plan only agreed last year which most councillors only learned the previous week, would be jettisoned and replaced with a brand new East Devon Local Plan by 2023.

Local Plan to be replaced

At the meeting last week, the Head of Planning Ed Freeman explained that the present Local Plan was in 2 parts, with the section on Policies would require total re-writing because the Policies would be “substantially superseded” by the emerging GESP Policies. He also explained that the Villages Plan policies, will be merged into the new Local Plan.

Tory Councillor Philip Skinner who along with Tory Councillor Paul Diviani who are the only 2 East Devon`s elected representatives on the GESP “steering group committee” along with 2 elected members from the 3 other Authorities gave only a few hints on some of the latest thoughts for the GESP Strategy for East Devon.

Higher Density Housing for Exeter proposed for GESP

Regarding a question on Housing, he explained that it had been decided by the steering group, that each authority had a certain quota of dwellings proposed and it was not correct that if one Authority was unable to provide the housing numbers, other Authorities were required to build extra dwellings to offset the shortfall. He also explained that Exeter City Council had to return to the drawing board to enable extra dwelling numbers through “much higher density” within the confines of the City.

East Devon will take on most of the Industrial and commercial development for the GESP

Councillor Skinner also told the meeting regarding business development that he aimed to “Get the best for East Devon” and explained that to “Our strength and Exeter’s demise, they do not have the capacity, but we do!” and claimed most of the commercial and industrial development “will be in our patch”

After 2 years of joint secret meetings.

Exeter’s residents know what to expect with “Liveable Exeter”, Teignbridge residents are being told that their local plan is being re-assessed and are having public consultations, and Mid Devon residents have been through their public consultations and an agreed local plan about to be approved.

However, the residents of East Devon only know that their local plan is now being superseded by a new plan with substantial more housing and more industrial, commercial and business development.

All will be revealed in July 2019 after the District Council Elections. Who will you trust to steer East Devon through the next few years of obtaining the most appropriate and suitable Planning Policies. Leave it to the Tory Councillors who have kept everyone in the dark?

Or choose an Independent who are the major opposition for East Devon?

Mid-Devon Scrutiny Committee consults residents on problems

People are happier in Crediton than their neighbouring district towns of Tiverton and Cullompton a survey has found.

Members of Mid Devon District Council’s scrutiny committee went to the three towns between May and August to gather opinion after it was agreed a lack of consultation was a key issue for the public. …”

You can’t build anything you like in the countryside (well, at least in Mid-Devon!)

“Councillors [in mid Devon NOT East Devon!]have warned residents who live in the rural areas that they cannot just build what they like after a two-storey outbuilding was refused planning permission.

Applicants Mr and Mrs D Hall had requested the retention of a replacement two-storey timber building at Forestry Houses in Chenson, between Lapford and Eggesford Station. The application was brought before Mid Devon District Council’s planning committee on Wednesday, November 29 after a previous decision not to take enforcement action and to invite an application given the rural nature of the property and the limited negative impact of the application.

The proposed use of the building was purported to be a workshop with domestic storage over, a greenhouse and potting shed were also included within the lean-to structure.

In his report to members, area team leader Simon Trafford recommended refusal. His report said: “The development by virtue of its siting, scale and massing represents an incongruous feature on the site and furthermore contributes towards an unnecessary proliferation of built structures within this part of the countryside. For these reasons the development as it has been constructed is considered to be harmful to the overall character and appearance of the countryside.

“At the time of this decision the application site contained a single storey timber cabin building used as ancillary domestic accommodation, a pitched roof timber outbuilding with double doors used for the storage of building materials and a motorbike, a timber pitched roof field shelter, a timber store building and a small lean-to extension providing ancillary storage for the main dwelling. …

… All 11 members of the planning committee voted in favour of refusing the application.”

Oooohhh – a Devon MP gets a ministerial post and it isn’t Swire!

Tory Mel Stride, who held onto his central Devon MP at the general election by a comfortable margin, has been appointed financial secretary to the Treasury.

Stride, 55, who enjoyed 54 per cent of the vote and has a 16,000 majority over Labour in the rural seat he has won three times, was confirmed in the role on Monday after Mrs May’s meeting with the Conservative 1922 committee.

It is a junior ministerial post and the fourth most significant in the Treasury after the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the chief Secretary to the Treasury, and the Paymaster General. …”

New “garden village” for Devon

To be called Culm Garden Village

Owl hopes that it will fare better than “Cranbrook Eco Town” where the “eco” got very quietly dropped some time ago!

The local blog Cullompton Eye says:

“Proposal for Culm Valley Garden Village was released this week by MDDC which included some very interesting issues for Cullompton.The obvious one being a new town development East of the Motorway of up to 5000 homes, enlargement of the Kingsmill Commercial area,provision of 2 new schools, retail & community facilities.

Most importantly the provision of a new road which loops from the back of the present Kingsmill site via Honiton Rd at Aller Barton then through the fields between the old greenhouse site & Upton Lakes to a proposed new road crossing site over the Culm ,Railway & motorway at a point approximately between the Jubilee Wood & the junior football pitches. The proposal also includes south facing slip roads onto & off the M5 & a junction with a new Town Relief Road running from Station Rd roundabout across the CCA fields via a route to be decided to join Meadow Way by the Pumping Station.

The timescale put on this is by 2023 meaning the town would double in size by 2030 but have the infra structure to cope with the traffic generated.

By itself the growth of the Commercial area demands a better motorway access as the traffic of artics is already having difficulty moving around the junction to access the M5 North let alone swamp the town via Fore St.

Within the proposal MDDC also suggests that the J28 as now configured has reached capacity & the congestion in town is affecting air quality levels as well a being detrimental to the development of the Fore St/ High St area so i would assume that puts emphasis for approvals .

This proposal also includes a section on the study into reopening the Railway Station which will be perfectly placed between old & new town areas.

Within the report there is a large section on flood alleviation & a country park looks to being developed around the NE fringe stretching to more than 100 acres to include attenuation lakes renewable forest area for fuel & leisure.”

Exeter Green Party wants transparency on proposed LEP and other secret partnerships including with East Devon

“Proposals by Exeter City Council to restructure decision-making in Devon are being challenged.

In a letter to Council Leader, Pete Edwards, Exeter Green Party has raised concerns about the ways Exeter City Council is developing initiatives to restructure the authority – all of which will give binding powers to new layers of local government.

[The letter states]

Exeter Green Party is deeply concerned about the ways in which the various initiatives to restructure local government decision-making in Devon are being pursued. We are referring to:

The “devolution” proposals for a combined authority covering the Heart of the South West, from which we understand the City Council withdrew at a meeting on 9 December.

The proposal for a Greater Exeter Growth and Development Board (GEGDB], agreed in principle by the City Council’s Executive on 8 November.

The proposals which emerged at the end of last week for a South Devon Unitary Council, involving Exeter, Plymouth, East Devon, Teignbridge, Torbay and possibly South Hams councils.

We do not at present wish to take a position on the merits of the various alternatives, though there are many concerns and questions to be addressed.

At this stage, we ask the following questions:

1. What mandate does the City Council have from the residents it serves to:

(a) attempt to reorganise local government decision-making structures?
(b) propose arrangements which would suck key decisions upwards from the elected representatives of the people of Exeter to a new superior authority – the GEGDB – which would not be directly elected?
(c) propose a strategic authority – the GEGDB – which on the evidence of the 8 November paper would focus solely on economic growth to the exclusion of social and environmental considerations?

2. When does the City Council plan to publicise its thinking and actively consult residents and businesses on whether they actually want new local government arrangements and, if so, on the form they should take and how any new body might be fully accountable to local people?

Because we believe there should be public debate now on these issues, we are issuing this letter to the media. I am also sending a copy to Karime Hassan.
I look forward to your reply.

In a surprise move proposals emerged at the end of last week for a new super South Devon Unitary Council. It could see a ‘super mayor’ governing Exeter, Plymouth, East Devon, Teignbridge, Torbay and possibly South Hams councils.

The Greens concerned that decisions are being made without any public consultation or mandate to give power to unelected bodies.

Exeter City Council had previously committed itself to the Heart of the South West “devolution” proposals for a combined authority. It is now understood Exeter City Council withdrew from this plan at a meeting on Friday. The Council’s Executive has also agreed in principle to set up a ‘Greater Exeter Growth and Development Board’ with East, Mid and Teignbridge Councils, and give this new body powers to make binding decisions on each Council.

Green Party spokesperson, Diana Moore, said:”These decisions about major changes to the structure and functions of local government are taking place behind closed doors.

“We want to know what mandate the City Council has for these proposals and when they intend to consult residents and businesses on whether they actually want new local government arrangements.

“They need to be transparent about their intentions and the power they intend to give away.

“The proposed arrangements would take away key decisions from the elected representatives of the people of Exeter and hand them to distant unelected bodies.

“The economic growth priorities of any of these bodies doesn’t address social and environmental considerations or the rising inequality in the city.

“Councils must focus on their duty to co-operate – and do that to the benefit of local people and not obsess about new structures which will only serve vested interests.

“Any new proposals for local government must be fully consulted on and that whatever structure emerges must be transparent and accountable to local people.”

Oh, oh, trouble: a mini Local Enterprise Partnership or a maxi East Devon Business Forum on its way?

Another unelected, unaccountable, non-transparent secret society on its way?

Another shady group of “private sector representatives and business community” Tories wetting their pants with the excitement of yet another trough for their snouts?

Cabinet Agenda for 14 December, 2015
Item 19
Page 147

The “Exeter Travel to Work Area (TTWA) area recommendations:

“It is presently proposed that the desired formal body for the Exeter TTWA will be a ‘Greater Exeter Growth and Development Board’ (GEGDB) including the local authorities covering the Greater Exeter functional economic area.

The Board would be a Joint Committee under s101 (5), 102 Local Government Act 1972 and s9EB Local Government Act 2000 and pursuant to the Local Authorities (Arrangement for the Discharge of Functions) (England) Regulations 2012.

It will comprise the 5 local authorities [Exeter, East Devon, Mid Devon, Teignbridge and DCC] as voting members

and a number of non-voting co-opted private sector /other representatives drawn from the wider business community.

This approach was agreed by Exeter City Council in principle on 8 November and is now being considered by the other potential partners.”