Have we reached ‘peak industrial estate’ in East Devon? Seems so

If industrial estates are essential sites and supposedly we don’t have enough of them, why is Taylor Wimpey being allowed to build more than 200 houses on the former Parkhurst Close Industrial Estate in Exmouth – the largest town in East Devon?

Sidbury, Sidford and snow – a lethal combination for the A375

Developers take heed!

Last weekend, a car slid off the road into the dip alongside the bend in central Sidbury, smashing its windscreen and narrowly missing a row of lowlying cottages.

Radio Devon travel news announced (2nd February) that the Sidford-Sidbury Road (A375) was turning into a skating rink.

Radio Devon travel news announced A375 was closed due to burst water main.

Imagine of that car had been a lorry …..

Sidford Business Park – appeal lodged

“We have today received the news that most people living locally didn’t want to hear. Namely, that the applicants who submitted a planning application to build a business park on agricultural land in an AONB, have now submitted an appeal against the decision taken last October by the District Council to oppose their application.

This clearly is very disappointing and speaks volumes about the attitude of the applicants to the wishes of those who live locally. After all, the Town Council, the District Council and 1,400 local residents who signed our petition all oppose the proposed business park.

We are determined to immediately take steps to raise funds to allow the Campaign to represent the views of local residents at the planning appeal hearing that will now have to be held. Our next email will set out how we intend to raise the funds to do this.

However, in the meantime we would again remind you of our timely ceilidh fundraising event which is being held on Saturday 23 February in Sidford Social Hall, Byes Lane, Sidford, starting at 7.30 pm. Tickets cost £5.00 and can be obtained by emailing us or from the Rising Sun in Sidford, the Red Lion in Sidbury or Paragon Books in Sidmouth.

It’s more imperative than ever to support us!

This is what we have today issued as a press release –

The Campaign is disappointed but determined to fight on!
The news that the applicants have lodged an appeal, whilst not unexpected, is nonetheless a massive disappointment, particularly for local residents who have overwhelmingly made their views known about this unwanted and unnecessary business park.

The fact that the applicants are going to an appeal when the District and Town Councils and so many local residents have all said that they are against the proposed business park shows how little the applicants care about the local area and its people.

The Say NO Campaign is absolutely determined to support the District Council and its rejection of the planning application at the appeal. But to do this we need to engage professional representatives to forcefully make our case against the business park development. This will take a significant sum of money that we must raise from our supporters. We will now be publicising how people can donate directly into our recently opened bank account, as well as continuing to accept cash donations.

Sadly, our fundraising ceilidh on the evening of 23 February at Sidford Social Hall cannot be timelier. If anyone wants to support the Campaign financially, or in any other way, we would invite them to contact us at

nosidfordbusinesspark@yahoo.com.

Sidford Business Park – disproportionate industrial development?

Recently posted comment:

“At the full EDDC Council meeting at the end of October 2018, independent Councillors Ben Ingham and Roger Giles, supported by 11 other councillors, tabled a motion to discuss the over provision of housing needs in our Local Plan and called for an independent assessment. In answer to a question as to why East Devon is taking a disproportionate share of development [58% more than Exeter, 53% more than Teignbridge and nearly three times that of Mid Devon according to independent analysis conducted by CPRE] Councillor Paul Diviani said:

“Because we have the land and we are good at it”!

[Perhaps he should be reminded that two thirds of East Devon lies in an AONB, or perhaps he doesn’t care].

This is not the argument that was put to Inspector Thickett at the public examination of the EDDC local plan in 2015 by Ed Freeman. Then, the argument for pitching the EDDC target at a minimum of 950 houses/year [about 30% more than could be supported by the evidence] was that we had jobs coming down the line. Specifically he mentioned 1,000 full time equivalent jobs a year.

Thankfully, we are effectively at full employment. Office for National Statistic population projections shows the South West population as a whole growing over the local plan period at around 0.8% per annum, including expected migration. However, we have an ageing population and the annual increase of those classified as of working age is only going to be 0.16% (16 to 64 for all genders). To satisfy this annual demand to find new jobs in East Devon [population 142,300] would only require around a couple of hundred a year, nowhere near the 1,000 that are being planned for.

The creation of jobs is generally a good thing but pursuing jobs as a primary objective is, I suggest, not what we need in Devon. What we need are better quality jobs to lift earnings and I am pleased to see that that is what ratepayers’ investment of £1.1M in the Exeter Science Park is aimed at achieving. But it only creates a one-off 158 jobs against the 1,000 a year needed to justify the development plan.

Can anyone provide an evidence based explanation of where these housing and job targets come from? Anyone believe that this is what they were voting for when they elected their councillors? And who are the “we’s” in Councillor Paul Diviani’s explanation?”

Why do we “need” Sidford Business Park when we have the Science Park Enterprise Zone down the road?

Enterprise Zones give favourable start-up arrangements such as business rate relief to businesses that take space in them – Sidford is not in an Enterprise Zone.

“East Devon District Council’s Cabinet last night agreed to invest £1.1m in the development of a new Open Innovation Building at Exeter Science Park, in the Exeter and East Devon Enterprise Zone.

The investment will bring forward 20,000 square feet of space under one roof for growing small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM) sectors.

Funding has been raised against future business rates income from the growing list of businesses seeking to establish offices and laboratories alongside leading regional science and tech companies already based at Exeter Science Park.

Councillor Ian Thomas, Leader of East Devon District Council said: “The Exeter and East Devon Enterprise Zone is a significant and strategically important development site for the area, with the potential to create over 10,000 jobs.

“This investment will bring forward the opportunity for up to 158 high value jobs in the Open Innovation Building for local people as well as boosting the local economy.

“The £1.1m grant is 15% of the total cost of the building, providing an additional 20,000 square feet of employment space at the Science Park. It means the Open Innovation Building can be ready for occupation in the second half of 2020.”

The Enterprise Zone investment will help fund the building, including the fitting-out.

Dr Sally Basker, Chief Executive of Exeter Science Park Limited said: “Exeter Science Park is growing rapidly and is on-track to become a community of around 700 people by 2021.

“The Science Park helps innovative STEMM companies to deliver extraordinary growth and this Enterprise Zone grant will help us meet accommodation needs of STEMM businesses – both those already located at the Science Park and new firms wishing to take the next step in their growth journey and create a sustainable business.”

Steve Hindley CBE DL, Chair of the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “Exeter and East Devon Enterprise Zone is part of the Heart of the South West’s multi-site enterprise zones offering economic opportunities in the area’s key sectors. These enterprise zones, with other sites at Oceansgate in Plymouth and at Gravity in Somerset, enable the local areas to retain a greater share of business rates to re-invest and attract new jobs and growth.”

Councillor Rufus Gilbert, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Economy and Skills, said: “This is another welcome investment in the Exeter and East Devon Enterprise Zone. The site is key to economic growth in Devon and the Open Innovation Building will add to the portfolio of excellent facilities being developed within the Zone. New infrastructure will attract new businesses and help create high value job opportunities in the area.”

The Exeter and East Devon Enterprise Zone is in its second year of operation, with businesses benefiting from Government-funded business rate relief.

In April 2018 the Council agreed in principle to borrow up to £8m, with detailed approval for £3.4m of expenditure. Projects include the launch in September 2018 of an enhanced ConnEXions bus service with free wifi, a park and change site near Exeter Science Park which will be delivered this year, and design work for an upgrade to Long Lane adjacent to Exeter Airport.”

https://heartofswlep.co.uk/news/east-devon-district-council-agrees-1-1m-enterprise-zone-investment-exeter-science-park/

“Say NO to Sidford Business Park” campaign newsletter and fundraising event

“We hope that you had a good Christmas and wish you a very Happy New Year!

In this newsletter –
v Approaching any potential planning appeal
v A fundraising event on 23 February
v Opening a Campaign bank account

Approaching any potential planning appeal
We still don’t know whether the applicants who submitted the planning application to build the Business Park in Sidford intend to appeal against the District Council’s decision to refuse planning permission for this site, the second application in as many years. Should the applicants want to appeal they have up to 6 months from when the District Council made its decision to do so.

The applicants therefore have until 18 April to lodge any appeal. Should the applicants decide not to appeal it would be nice to think that they would announce this so that local residents can be put out of their misery as otherwise this matter sits uneasily over us all.

We have had to assume that without any evidence to the contrary, the applicants will at some point submit an appeal. We are therefore preparing ourselves should an appeal happen.

At an appeal the District Council will have to defend its decision to refuse the planning application. As its grounds for refusing planning permission were restricted to the narrow issue of the highway not being suitable for the anticipated size and volume of traffic that the Business Park could be expected to generate, we have decided that we would want the Campaign to be a party to the appeal process.

The Campaign, and many of you who have supported it, have cited broader reasons, than those put forward by the District Council, for opposing the proposed Business Park. Therefore, the Campaign would want to become a formally registered party which could fully participate at an appeal. We believe that the District Council was wrong to only rely upon highways arguments for its refusal, hence the reason why we feel the need to be a party to any appeal hearing.

However, if the Campaign is going to do all of this effectively, we believe that we are going to have to employ a planning professional to make the arguments and to cross examine the applicants’ representatives and witnesses for us. As you can imagine to do this won’t come cheaply. Potentially, we would need to raise several tens of thousands of pounds to be professionally represented. We are in the process of contacting various people with the intention of identifying such a professional and a likely cost.

It is also our hope that other organisations who submitted objections to the planning application would also want to be a party to any appeal process. In particular, we would encourage the Town Council, which submitted a broad set of objections, would make its arguments at any appeal hearing. Indeed, there is no reason why other organisations such as the County Council couldn’t do likewise.

As we say, we are having to assume that we will need to be professionally represented at an appeal if one is held. That means that we have to think about how we might raise many thousands of pounds. One way will be to seek pledges of funds from our supporters. This is something that we will return to in a future newsletter.

A fundraising event on 23 February
In the meantime we are holding a fundraising ceilidh on the evening of Saturday 23 February in Sidford Hall. Tickets will be £5.00 and you will be able to bring your own drink. We will be holding a raffle and inviting donations of prizes for it. Further information about this event will be circulated soon and, in the meantime, we are approaching several businesses in Sidford and Sidbury to see whether they would agree to sell tickets.

If you are willing to donate a prize for the raffle please let us know! Please put this date in your diary!

Opening a Campaign bank account
So far, we have managed to run this Campaign on the basis of raising cash from you, our supporters. At our last public meeting we explained how much we had raised and what we had spent it on. On several occasions we have been asked whether we have a bank account to allow supporters to give donations by cheque. We have resisted opening a bank account as frankly it’s a time-consuming process.

But as we may now have to possibly raise a significant amount of money to pay for professional representation at an appeal, we have started the process of opening a Lloyds Bank account. Once this process has been finalised, we will circulate its details.

As we said at the beginning of this newsletter, we wish you a Happy New Year. Let’s hope that our wishes for this matter to come to a quick conclusion come to fruition.

Best wishes

Campaign Team”

Hotel development planned adjacent to Hill Barton Business Park

Owl says: Seems Crealy and Greendale want lots of development. And what happened to plans for a hotel at the site of the Cat and Fiddle pub? And if this site so close to Exeter DOESN’T need another business park, why does Sidford?

“Hill Pond Caravan and Camping Park have applied to build a new L-shaped hotel on the site of the existing park just off the A3052.

The site is adjacent to the Hill Barton Business Park, and is across the A3052 from Exeter City’s training ground and Crealy Adventure Park.

The application, submitted to East Devon District Council planners says there is a need for the hotel in the area and that will provide new jobs and boost the economy.

It adds: “The proposal seeks to recognise the evolving needs of the area and the site’s location in a developed, mixed use zone of East Devon that sits close to Exeter, the M5, and the rapidly enlarging tranches of development in the area.”

East Devon District Council planners will debate the application at a later date.”

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/live/uk-england-devon-46453951