Rights of way – action needed

Ramblers Association:

“We have until January 2026 to save our historic rights of way.
Well over 140,000 miles of public paths criss-cross England and Wales. This network has evolved over centuries with many paths dating back to medieval times – or earlier! These paths link villages, hamlets, roads and towns – they describe how generations before us travelled to the pub, field or shops and reflect the changing patterns of human interaction with the landscape. To this day, millions of people across our towns, cities and countryside, use this fantastic network. However, miles and miles of our public paths are unrecorded and if they are not put on the map by 1 January 2026, they will be lost for ever.

Download our guide below and get started on the hunt for lost rights of way in your area (requires form fill-in)

https://e-activist.com/page/34392/data/1

Axminster: “Millbrook Park – includes a “publicly accessible” green space

Note the words. Not a publicly OWNED green space – a publicly ACCESSIBLE green space. Big difference!

Sorry there is no link to the masterplan. The three EDDC-dictated press releases Owl has seen on various sites include no link, just rather hazy schematics or cartoons, so far.

“Developers to be forced to plant more trees amid fears barren developments are being constructed by builders”

Developer definition of trees – two trees which residents have to pay high maintenance charges on
Developer definition of open space – pocket handkerchief, which belongs to them but which residents have to pay for high upkeep costs

“Developers will be forced to demonstrate to planners that they are improving wildlife habitats whenever they build new homes, Michael Gove will say on Sunday.

Under plans that will go out for consultation next week, builders will be required to deliver a ‘biodiversity net gain’ when building new housing or commercial development.

This means that wildlife habitats must be enhanced and left in a measurably better state than they were before development started.

It could also see developers planting more green spaces around new developments. …”

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2018/12/02/developers-forced-plant-trees-amid-fears-barren-developments/

“More than one public play park is closed every WEEK as green spaces are ‘left to rot, be overrun by thugs or turned into properties’ “

“Playgrounds are being closed at the alarming rate of nearly two a week as they fall victim to neglect, vandalism and property developers, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.

To the dismay of families, a staggering 347 council playgrounds have been axed since 2014 – the equivalent of seven a month – according to the new figures.

Local authorities have removed 70 playgrounds in the last year alone – and they plan to further slash spending on facilities by almost half in the next two years. …”

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6376137/More-one-public-play-park-closed-WEEK-green-spaces-left-rot.html

Open spaces: to little and so very, very late

The Mail on Sunday today has launched a petition stop parks being sold off.

If only they had created it BEFORE the massive sell-off, instead of after.

But then Tory donor developers – who bought the parks – wouldn’t have liked it.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6273471/Petition-launched-rescue-open-spaces-sold-cash-strapped-councils.html

Beware council promises – an example from Teignbridge

“Plans for a new country park serving the 2,500 homes to be built on the edge of Exeter are being cut back, it has been claimed.

The 70-hectare park (173 acres) in the area of the new homes around the Devon Hotel is being dropped by Teignbridge District Council in favour of one that is much smaller, says local county councillor Alan Connett.

Cllr Connett says he has uncovered the council’s plan for a park less than two-thirds the size of the original plan, at 39 hectares (96 acres).

He said: “Teignbridge’s own Local Plan, which sets out how the district will develop over the next 20 years, promises a ‘ridge top park of approximately 70 hectares’. “However, we see yet again how the council promises the earth and then quietly changes the plan.”

In a confidential report going to Teignbridge Council’s Executive committee on Tuesday, October 2, Mr Connett said it was understood the ruling Conservative councillors would be asked to back a new, smaller countryside park for the South West of Exeter development.

Cllr Connett, a Liberal Democrat, said: “Teignbridge now wants to concentrate on a country park that is over a third smaller than it promised residents. “Much of the development at South West Exeter is, in fact, in the parish of Exminster, which will see an extra 2,000 houses within the community, and just 500 ‘over the border’ in Exeter.

“The ridge top park is seen as an essential part of the development not only to provide open space for the residents who will live in the new homes but also to take pressure off the Exe Estuary and reduce the number of visitors.

“This is another example of the planning system promising one thing but delivering less than that promise.

It was the council that put forward a country park of approximately 70 hectares but now, in a secret meeting not open to the Press or the public, and without any consultation, it plans to renege on that promise.

“This is why local people lose faith in the planning system and don’t believe councils when they say good quality community benefits will be gained from large scale housing developments.

“Of course, a park of 96 acres will still be a big space to walk dogs, enjoy picnics and family time together, but that is not the point. “The park will be part of the community for ever more, we hope, and it’s already being downsized.

“As Exeter and Teignbridge continue to grow in the years to come, future generations will come to regret that the Park was not the promised 70 hectares.

“Also, as a local councillor I am now gagged and prevented from saying more about what I have uncovered because the council has ensured all this is being discussed in private, in secret session.”

“Teignbridge says it is an ‘open and transparent’ council, but yet again we see it is anything but that. “It prefers to do its business and cut back on its promises in a private meeting which the public are not allowed to attend.”

A spokesman for Teignbridge Council said Teignbridge adopted its Local Plan in 2014 and at the time the Plan’s independent Inspector noted that the Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace allocation at South West Exeter was sufficient to address the impacts planned development, as well as possible needs in the future.

He said: “The same year, a masterplan for South West Exeter was publicly consulted on and adopted by the Council.

“It explained that 36 hectares of the 70 hectare allocation were needed to accommodate planned development and that the allocation of the larger area therefore provided longer term flexibility.

“The additional provision to the total of 70 hectares indicated was put in there to provide greater flexibility for the countryside park to expand in the future.

“In all cases the land areas being talked about are significantly larger than Dawlish countryside park.”

Cllr Humphrey Clemens, Teignbridge’s Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Housing and Planning, said: “In line with council procedure, Cllr Connett has had the opportunity to raise any questions in advance of the Executive and I welcome the opportunity to have an open discussion with him during the meeting.”

https://www.devonlive.com/news/devon-news/devon-country-park-shrinks-2062679