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

Swire says developers “gamed” Cranbrook to its detriment and Neighbourhood Plans aren’t working!

He says developers refused to create a town centre because there weren’t enough people living there! He says the council is now having to step in to rectify this!

Owl thinks that perhaps there are not enough people living there (question: how many is enough?) because there is no town centre!

“Open consultation: “Planning for the right homes in the right places: consultation proposals”

Owl says: seems the decision that we need MORE and MORE housing is taken as a given – and this is more an exercise on how and where they can be shoe-horned in:

This consultation closes at
11:45pm on 9 November 2017

Summary
Consultation on further measures set out in the housing white paper to boost housing supply in England.

“This consultation sets out a number of proposals to reform the planning system to increase the supply of new homes and increase local authority capacity to manage growth.

Proposals include:

a standard method for calculating local authorities’ housing need

how neighbourhood planning groups can have greater certainty on the level of housing need to plan for

a statement of common ground to improve how local authorities work together to meet housing and other needs across boundaries

making the use of viability assessments simpler, quicker and more transparent

increased planning application fees in those areas where local planning authorities are delivering the homes their communities need

The attached ‘Housing need consultation data table’ (see links below) sets out the housing need for each local planning authority using our proposed method, how many homes every place in the country is currently planning for, and, where available, how many homes they believe they need.

Alongside this consultation, the attached ‘Comprehensive registration programme: priority areas for land registration’ document lists those areas where Her Majesty’s Land Registry intends to prioritise the registration of ownership of all publicly held land.”

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/644955/Planning_for_Homes_consultation_document.pdf

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/644783/Housing_Need_Consultation_Data_Table.xlsx

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/644786/120917_Priority_areas_for_land_registration.pdf

Budleigh Salterton neighbourhood plan passes final hurdle

“Budleigh Neighbourhood Plan gets 95 per cent approval

Budleigh Salterton is set to become the first town in East Devon to have their neighbourhood plan implimented after 95 per cent voted in favour of adopting the blueprint document

The Budleigh Salterton community has given its backing to a plan which lays out how the town could look in the future.

Residents went to the polls on Wednesday (September 6) on Budleigh’s Neighbourhood Plan.

Voters were asked to say yes or no to the question: ‘Do you want East Devon District Council (EDDC) to use the Neighbourhood Plan (NP) for Budleigh Salterton to help decide planning applications in the neighbourhood area?

Some 94.7 per cent of the 1,320 who voted said yes while 5.3 per cent voted no with two ballot papers spoiled. There was a turnout of 31 per cent.

The plan will now go back to EDDC cabinet to me ‘made’. This will make Budleigh the first town in East Devon to successfully complete the Neighbourhood Plan process.

When the document gets rubber-stamped by EDDC, it will have to be referred to alongside the East Devon Local Plan, when any planning applications are considered.

Town mayor Alan Dent said: “This will help control future development, will support businesses and will really help in securing a viable future for the town.

“The NP will also protect the character and history of Budleigh which is loved and admired by both residents and visitors. … ”

http://www.exmouthjournal.co.uk/news/buldiegh-nieghbourhood-plan-referendum-approval-1-5189761

Clinton Devon Estates and Budleigh Hospital Garden – a PR nightmare for today and tomorrow!

In May 2017 Clinton Devon Estates (CDE) ran an online survey which was covered by Owl. Questions were heavily weighted towards suitably glowing answers, such as:

“How credible do you think “We pledge to do today what is right for tomorrow” is as a statement from Clinton Devon Estates?”

In July 2017 Owl then ran the story of how CDE had made a last minute land grab by submitting an outline planning permission to develop half of the Budleigh Hospital Garden for two small houses. The Neighbourhood Planning team had nominated the garden as an historic open green space and the new health hub hoped to use it as an outdoor therapeutic area. As stakeholders in the Neighbourhood Plan CDE had been consulted at all stages but had not divulged their plans for the space.

https://eastdevonwatch.org/2017/07/29/budleigh-neighbourhood-plan-group-apologises-for-being-unable-to-save-hospital-garden-after-being-outmaneuvered-by-clinton-devon-estates/

CDE followed this by launching an appeal on the grounds that EDDC had not determined the application within the prescribed time. This appeal has now been roundly rejected.

A planning inspector has ruled against CDE on the appeal, and it seems CDE might now have to think of other ways to wheedle their way our hearts and minds.

Here is the text of a Budleigh Journal article on the appeal:

“A controversial planning application which sought to build houses on a section of Budleigh Salterton green space has been rejected at appeal.

The outline application, for means of access, proposed two houses to be built on half of the former hospital gardens, in Boucher Road.

Applicant Clinton Devon Estates (CDE) appealed to the planning inspectorate against the length of time it had taken East Devon District Council to reach a decision on the plan.

But planning inspector Andy Harwood ruled that the appeal should be dismissed and that the proposal was rejected.

In his report he said: “The retention of the remaining garden would continue to meet some needs for local people. It would continue to be a pleasant landscaped area. “However, it is not demonstrated how the space would be enhanced by the proposal.”

Mr Harwood also pointed out that under the East Devon Local Plan, development should not involve the loss of land of recreational value.

The whole garden had been earmarked for activities relating to the health and wellbeing hub, due to open at the former hospital later this year.

In response to the ruling, a CDE spokesman said: “We have noted the inspector’s report and will be considering our options in due course.”

Town council planning committee chairman Courtney Richards said: “That land was designated an open space in our Neighbourhood Plan. I am glad to see that will be retained for open space in the town.

“Having that open space available for people at the hub will be of tremendous benefit.”

See the full Inspector’s decision here:
http://planningapps.eastdevon.gov.uk/Planning/StreamDocPage/obj.pdf?DocNo=2797808&PDF=true&content=obj.pdf

The somewhat chilling phrase that CDE are now “considering their options” should no doubt include taking the views of the local community into account when making decisions and pledging to do today what is right for tomorrow.

Owl recollects the First Law of Holes that states that: “if you find yourself in a hole, stop digging”!