Wake up apathetic Honiton! For the sake of half-a-dozen volunteers your town is at enormous risk!

Owl simply cannot believe that in a town the size of Honiton half-a-dozen people cannot be found to join the neighbourhood planning group. People have been falling over themselves in the rush to volunteer in smaller towns and villages, many of which gave already had their plans signed, sealed and delivered.

What is wrong with the people in the town? Have they no civic pride? Do Honiton people not realise what enormous danger they are in if they DON’T have a neighbourhood plan? Everywhere in Honiton NOT named in the Local Plan (and that’s a lot of land) up for grabs by developers. Who will provide no infrastructure to the town and likely no affordable housing.

It paints a dreadful picture of a totally apathetic town with an inept town deputy clerk (who suggested shelving the project until 2020) and lazy town councillors if this situation is allowed to happen.

“Residents have been urged to ‘step up’ or face ‘losing out’ after the creation of the Honiton’s Neighbourhood Plan was granted a six-month continuation.

The warning, made by the town’s mayor, comes a month after the future of the document was thrown into doubt following a recommendation to shelve the document until 2020.

Deputy town clerk Heloise Marlow made the suggestion to town councillors based on the ‘lack of past and current’ interest from residents in getting involved with the plan’s creation.

The Honiton Neighbourhood Plan’s current committee is ‘inquorate’ – meaning it is not made up of enough members.

A report submitted to last month’s council meeting said: “A steering group made up of about nine to ten members with one-third councillors and two-thirds community members is essential. In view of the lack of past and current interest from the community of Honiton, the recommendation is that a neighbourhood plan cannot currently be delivered.”

However, at a meeting of Honiton Town Council last week, members agreed to let the creation of the town’s Neighbourhood Plan continue for the next six months.

Cllr Henry Brown, town mayor and chair of the council, said: “The Neighbourhood Plan will continue for the next six months, with the hope that the Community Engagement Forum will act as a conduit to entice members of the public to join the Neighbourhood Plan.

“The public must outnumber the council in representation on this – our community needs to step up or we face losing out.”

At last month’s council meeting, Cllr Roy Coombs staged a late intervention to save the Neighbourhood Plan from being shelved until 2020 – recommending it be deferred until last week’s council meeting at The Beehive.

He said: “If we have not got a Neighbourhood Plan in place it could, I feel, become a developers’ free-for-all.”

The Community Engagement Forum, which is comprised of various groups in Honiton, was formed in 2016 with the aim of improving the town and bringing about change.

Anyone who wants to join the Neighbourhood Plan committee should get in touch with the town council on 01404 42957 and ask to speak to Heloise.”

http://www.midweekherald.co.uk/news/creation-of-honiton-s-threatened-neighbourhood-plan-granted-a-six-month-continuation-1-5567305

East Devon’s Villages Plan is agreed by the planning inspector (with implications for business parks)

Press Release including comments from East Devon Alliance Independent Councillor Geoff Jung:

“I am delighted that, after a number of years of hard work and following extensive public engagement, the Planning Inspector has found our Villages Plan to be sound. The Plan is a key document that once adopted will sit alongside the Local Plan and help promote the right types of development in the right places for our rural villages and communities while protecting our outstanding countryside assets and environment.”

Developers will be able to refer to Villages Plan when considering building in larger East Devon villages, the town of Colyton and Greendale and Hill Barton business parks.

Planning Inspector Beverley Doward’s report on the East Devon Villages Plan has been received by East Devon District Council and the inspector concludes it is sound, subject to her earlier submitted “main modifications”.

The East Devon Villages Plan sets out planning policy that will help determine planning applications in the larger villages of East Devon (and the town of Colyton), as well as at Greendale and Hill Barton business parks. The primary role of the Villages Plan is to set boundaries (known as built-up area boundaries and employment areas) around villages and the two business parks, which will help determine where new development can be built.

Outside these boundaries opportunities for development will be far more restricted, which will effectively control the outward expansion of villages and the two Business Parks into the surrounding countryside. The Villages Plan will sit alongside the adopted East Devon Local Plan and together they will guide and manage development across the whole district.

East Devon’s Strategic Planning Committee will consider the report on 26 June 2018. The committees new Chairman Cllr Paul Diviani says:

It is expected that the Villages Plan will go before the Full Council on 25 July 2018 for adoption.

Welcome News to the Communities of Farringdon and Woodbury Salterton
The adoption of the Villages plan is a welcome additional Planning Document to the two rural communities of Woodbury Salterton and Farringdon, which are close to Greendale and Hill Barton Business Parks. These very large Industrial parks have seen continued growth for many years and dwarfed their rural communities.

The Inspector in her report states that:

“By virtue of the definition set out in Strategy 7 of the EDLP, the business parks lie within the countryside where development will only be permitted where it is in accordance with a specific Local or Neighbourhood Plan policy that explicitly permits such development.”

Further in her report the Inspector notes that:

“Greendale Business Park and Hill Barton Business Park have clearly made an important contribution to the supply of employment land within the district and provide valuable employment opportunities.”

“There is nothing in the evidence that has been submitted to the examination of this Plan that leads me to conclude that there is currently a need to provide for future employment development in locations other than those which have been tested and found sound through the examination of the EDLP. (East Devon Local Plan)”

“The inclusion within the EDVP of a policy providing for future growth at Greendale Business Park and Hill Barton Business Park, whilst considered as a ‘reasonable alternative’ in the SA, is not supported by it and instead the option of not providing for further expansion of the business parks is identified as the preferred option.”

“I am satisfied that the approach not to provide for the further expansion of Greendale Business Park and Hill Barton Business Park in the EDVP beyond that which is already authorised is justified and consistent with the development strategy of the EDLP.”

“To conclude on this issue therefore, subject to MM08, MM09, MM10 and MM11 the approach adopted in the EDVP to Greendale Business Park and Hill Barton Business Park is justified and consistent with the development strategy of the EDLP and is capable of effective implementation.”

East Devon District Councillor Cllr Geoff Jung for Raleigh Ward which includes the village of Woodbury Salterton says:

“I welcome this long-awaited Village Plan and the inclusion of the Employment Areas for the Business Parks of Hill Barton and Greendale.

The Planning Inspector Beverley Doward’s comments and recommendation for the business parks demonstrates that further expansion of either the Business Parks beyond the present approved boundaries will not be considered appropriate.”

“This Plan will provide clarity and certainty required for both communities of Farringdon and Woodbury Salterton and the owners of the Business Parks.”

Feniton shows Honiton how to conduct a Neighbourhood Plan consultation

After the total fiasco of Honiton finding itself unable to organise a Neighbourhood Plan:

https://eastdevonwatch.org/2018/05/15/unbelievable-creation-of-honitons-neighbourhood-plan-could-be-shelved-until-2020/

comes this press release from Feniton’s Independent Councillor Susie Bond:

And it’s great news!
The polls in the Feniton Neighbourhood Plan referendum closed at 10 p.m. this evening and counting started very soon afterwards.

The choice was a simple Yes/No answer to the following question:

Do you want East Devon District Council to use the neighbourhood plan for Feniton to help it decide planning applications in the neighbourhood area?

· The number of people eligible to vote was 1538
· Turnout was 32.05%
· Those voting Yes = 462
· Those voting No = 30

Without wishing to sound like I’m giving a speech at the Oscars, there are many people who should be thanked, not least officers at East Devon District Council who guided the team throughout, but also the NP steering group and particularly those who stuck with the process right to the bitter end.

It was the vision of the Parish Council Chairman, Martyn Smith, that set us on this rather lengthy road and I’m sure we all felt from time to time as though the process was interminable.

But we made it … and the Neighbourhood Plan will now pass into planning policy …

Well done Feniton”

Unbelievable! “Creation of Honiton’s Neighbourhood Plan could be shelved until 2020”

Gobsmacking! Villages such as Feniton and Beer manage to have a quorate Neighbourhood Plan group, so have smaller towns such as Budleigh but Honiton can’t manage it:

http://eastdevon.gov.uk/planning/planning-policy/plans-of-other-organisations/made-neighbourhood-plans/

Some really serious questions need to be asked and answered here otherwise Honiton will be descended on by vulture developers for years.

Didn’t Councillor Twiss intimate that he is Honiton’s problem solver …?

“Town councillors were asked to consider a recommendation to shelve the document at a meeting last night because its current steering group is ‘inquorate’ – meaning it is not made up of enough members.

A report submitted to the council by deputy clerk Heloise Marlow said: “A steering group made up of about nine to ten members with one-third councillors and two-thirds community members is essential.

“In view of the lack of past and current interest from the community of Honiton, the officers recommendation is that a neighbourhood plan cannot currently be delivered.

“As such the recommendation would be to put the process on hold for a period of two years.”

As part of the proposal, the town council’s annual budget of £10,000 would be put into earmarked reserves for a maximum of three years, including the financial year 2020-2021.

Research into average costings for a Neighbourhood Plan indicate that funding from the town council in the region of £30,000 would be needed, and there is limited grant funding available.

The deputy clerk’s report added: “Currently there is £1,022 being brought into earmarked reserves which is the balance of the East Devon District Council start up grant.

“In May 2020 when the matter is reviewed, there would be earmarked reserves available of £31,022 and therefore should the drafting of a Neighbourhood Plan over the next two years gather public support, and the decision is taken to revive the process, this would allow funding to be made available immediately.”

Councillor Caroline Kolek said: “I think we all understand the recommendation and I feel we have no option but to go with it.

“Having been involved with the Neighbourhood Plan right from the start, I think it’s really sad that we are at this point.”

Councillors opted to vote on the recommendation at next month’s meeting after Cllr Roy Coombs voice his concerns over the recommendation.

He said: “There’s no deadline but if we had got our Neighbourhood Plan in place now, possibly things could have been done differently over the Halse of Honiton site or the Ottery Moor Lane business park.

“There could be other missed opportunities – if we have not got a Neighbourhood Plan in place it could, I feel, become a developers’ free-for-all.”

Cllr Coombs proposed to defer the item to the council’s June meeting.

His motion was unanimously approved.”

http://www.midweekherald.co.uk/news/creation-of-honiton-s-neighbourhood-plan-could-be-shelved-until-2020-1-5518228

Helpers needed to drive forward Honiton’s neighbourhood plan

“Honiton Town Council and existing members of a steering group have been working together to formulate the town’s Neighbourhood Plan, a document which will enable residents to have a say on its future development.

A council spokesman said: “The aim is to work as a community to develop a plan which reflects the aspirations we all have for the future of Honiton.

“However, we now need a Chairperson and additional members of the Steering Group to lead and deliver the project for the benefit of the community.
“We are looking for a chairperson who is a collaborative leader, an effective communicator with project management experience who has the willingness, enthusiasm and time to devote to the whole project.”

No experience or qualifications are required, although anyone with knowledge of project management, town planning, community engagement and consultation and report writing will be warmly welcomed.

Additional information about the role of Chairperson and the Steering Group, including a person specification and job description, is available on request

Those interested in joining to help steer the group can contact deputy town clerk Heloise Marlow DeputyClerk@honiton.gov.uk

http://www.midweekherald.co.uk/news/chair-needed-to-help-complete-honiton-s-neighbourhood-plan-1-5445942

“Court of Appeal backs decision to put neighbourhood plan to referendum”

“Leeds City Council did not act unlawfully when it put a neighbourhood plan to a referendum after modifications had been made that partly differed from those recommended by the examiner, the Court of Appeal has said.

Kebbell Developments had challenged the council’s decision to allow the Linton neighbourhood plan to proceed to a referendum before its adoption under the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004.

A 4.5 hectares site called The Ridge was not owned by Kebbell but it has applied for planning permission to build 26 homes there. The plan as drawn up would designate the site as unsuitable for development.

When the case first went to court Kerr J concluded Leeds had not dealt with the examiner’s recommendations unlawfully.

The appeal had to decide whether the council acted outside its powers in departing from the examiner’s recommendations when modifying the plan in relation to The Ridge, whether it failed to give sufficient reasons for its modifications, and whether it should have consulted on these.

Giving the lead judgment in Kebbell Developments Ltd v Leeds City Council [2018] EWCA Civ 450, Lindblom LJ said the modification was one the council was able to make in exercising its statutory powers.

“The modification was comfortably within the ambit of the local planning authority’s statutory power to modify a neighbourhood plan before putting it to a referendum,” he said.

The judge added: “The city council was entitled to conclude that the modification was effective both in securing compliance with the ‘basic conditions’ and in achieving internal consistency in the neighbourhood plan. There was no breach of the statutory procedure.”

He said the council’s reason for its actions could not “be regarded as unclear or inadequate”.

The procedure for post-examination representations on a neighbourhood plan was “tightly defined [and] the circumstances in which a local planning authority will be required to consult in accordance with it are limited to the particular circumstances referred to”, which did not fit with Kebbell’s case concerning The Ridge, the judge noted.”

http://localgovernmentlawyer.co.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=34601%3Acourt-of-appeal-backs-decision-to-put-neighbourhood-plan-to-referendum&catid=63&Itemid=31

What happens when developers pay planners for pre-planning “advice”?

Guardian letters today. We also have this “premium service” – our prices go from £150 (inc VAT) to £900:
http://eastdevon.gov.uk/media/2105479/pre-app-charging-schedule-jan-2017.pdf

The letter:

“Further to Simon Jenkins’ article (Wine and dine democracy is now on trial – and about time, 23 February), there is another facet of this situation. Milton Keynes council now offers its residents and prospective developers the possibility of a premium planning service. If we wish to ease the planning and development process we can peruse the biographies of its planning staff on the council website and pick a suitable one. Prices on the site range from £150 to £7,500 plus VAT. The council is “dedicated to building relationships with our customers and therefore have found that some Applicants and Agents like to have the continuity of working with specific Planning Officers”.

This may work very well in some cases by improving planning efficiency, but where is the oversight if Milton Keynes residents find that neighbourhood plans are ignored? The ethos of our initially well-planned town is disappearing while developers who ignore the unique character of the place are helped to get planning permission by a planning authority that has enjoyed a close, paid-for relationship with them.

No doubt the planners show impeccable integrity but, if there is insufficient oversight, the temptations must be there.
Gill Boothy
Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire”

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/feb/26/the-dangers-of-paid-access-to-council-planning-officers