Greater Exeter Strategic Plan: consultation about consultation and Skinner has a pet project other councils are ignoring

Correctiin: headline changed from Diviani to Skinner as it is assumed it is new Deputy Leader who wants a sports venue. Well, he is known to be a rugby fan!

“The vision is about to start to decide specific issues in October, with the aim to prepare a draft plan for consultation in the summer of 2019 after the local elections.” …

For the GESP area, 2,600 homes a year are needed, meaning over the 20 years of the plan to 2040, around 57,200 new homes will be built. …

[Here follows a masterpiece of shooting down Diviani’s idea for a “major sporting venue” ncely!]

“In previous discussions regarding the GESP, the Deputy Leader of East Devon District Council has put forward the idea of developing a regionally or nationally significant sports arena and concert venue within the GESP area.

The consultation does not specifically refer to this concept as work in understanding the need for such a facility and how it could be delivered are at an early stage as it is focusesd at high level issues and does not talk in any detail about specific proposals.

It is however considered that the consultation asks about public aspirations for the delivery of infrastructure thus enabling respondents to raise the opportunity for such a facility and make suggestions for what it would be. …”

https://www.devonlive.com/news/devon-news/could-57000-new-homes-exeter-1948541

Is YOUR village on the EDDC list for expansion? And another east/west divide

East Devon District Council Strategic Planning Committee are going to discuss:

“Principles for accommodating the future growth needs of East Devon”

on 4 September 2018.

The Committee are being asked to endorse

“The proposed principles for growth” as the basis for future discussion and consultation on accommodating extra growth in the district.”

The document is described as the “start of the debate” for future East Devon growth points for both the GESP (The Greater Exeter Strategic Plan) and the East Devon Local Plan review, which is required to be updated within the next two years.

For the last few years East Devon District Council have achieved their own Local Plan agreed target of 950 dwellings per year. (EDDC Target is 17,100 dwellings between the years of 2013 to 2031).

Recently Central Government decided to calculate each District`s housing requirement targets on a set matrix. East Devon’s build out figure has been set to be 844 homes per year. However, the report suggests that rather than achieve the Government target of 844 new houses per year there is a proposal to build out much higher levels of growth.

The report explains that the objective of higher growth could be achieved by what is called a “Growth Deal” with Central Government where a group of Councils agree to build more housing in return for infrastructure investment from central funds.

This proposed “Growth Deal” is being prepared by the Councils of East Devon, Exeter, Teignbridge and Mid Devon through the “GESP” Greater Exeter Strategic Plan.

It is recognised that Exeter is unable to provide the housing land required to sustain the expected growth of the city, and the rural areas and towns in the rest of the combined area will be required to increase their housing requirements in exchange for the infrastructure improvements for access to and from the city of Exeter.

Improvements to the motorway junctions, new roads, extra park and rides, rail improvements, new stations and an integrated transport system are all identified as priority improvements to overcome the already chronic delays on Exeter`s transport network. There are also aspirations for a “sports hub and concert venue” for Greater Exeter to be included in the GESP infrastructure needs.

The report gives a brief synopsis of the towns in East Devon and concludes that other than the new town of Cranbrook there is limited scope for growth due to the various towns’ proximity to the AONB designated areas, or they are bordering on the coast or close to flood plains.

The conclusion from the report is that the existing towns will only accommodate minimal growth, and with two-thirds of East Devon being included in the AONB of the Pebblebed Heaths or the Blackdown Hills the only area that can accommodate substantial growth is within the North West part of the district.

The report describes this area as the Western most quadrant of this district to the North of Exmouth and West of Ottery St Mary. The land is described to benefit from being relatively flat with no landscape designations. It is also well served by main roads with good vehicle access via the M5, A30, A3052 and A376 and has good existing public transport links with the railway line and existing bus routes.

There are 3 possible ways described as to how development could be achieved in this area.

1. Establish a further new town. Basically, create another Cranbrook. However, the report considers that the creation of another new town in the area could harm the delivery of Cranbrook.

2. Establish a number of new villages. Create a series of modern Devon villages but the report considers that this option would be most damaging in landscape terms.

3. Centre Growth around Existing Villages.

Growth would be required to be substantial with around 400 to 500 extra homes to be added to a number of existing villages (The report does not state how many villages will be required within this area). However, this could harm the character of the village and the existing community.

The new NPPF acknowledges that:

“The supply of a large number of new homes can often be best achieved through planning for larger scale development such as new settlements or significant extensions to existing villages and towns, provided they are well located and designed, and supported by necessary infrastructure and facilities.”

A list of the Parishes within the expansion area for extra housing area

By referring to a map of the area these are the Parishes(villages) which are within the West of the district which could have development of between 400 to 500 extra dwellings, parishes identified could be:

Nether Exe
Rewe
Brampford Speke
Upton Pyne.
Stoke Canon ​

All these Villages are North of Exeter and access is by way of the A377 – which is not listed as one of the featured roads, so it is unlikely these will be included.

Broadclyst
Clyst Honiton
Sowton
Rockbeare
Wimple.​

These Villages are close to Cranbrook and therefore unlikely to be selected to avoid the villages and town merging.

Clyst Hydon
Clyst St Lawrence
Aylesbeare
Marsh Green

These Parishes are remote from a main road or railway station which probably eliminates them because of their unsustainable location.

Lympstone

This Village is already designated in the report to provide growth for Exmouth.

This leaves the following Parishes most likely to be included for further expansion in the proposals:

Poltimore
Huxham
Clyst St Mary
Clyst St George (includes the village of Ebford)
West Hill
Woodbury​ (includes the village of Woodbury Salterton and Exton)
Farringdon.

The “Principles for Growth” which the committee are being asked to agree to:

• A significant proportion of growth to be in the Western part of the district by either a new town or extending a number of villages or building new villages.

• Plus, modest growth in existing towns with strategic growth around Axminster, Exmouth (including Lympstone), Honiton and Ottery St Mary.

• All other Villages to be encouraged to provide modest growth through their Neighbourhood Plans.

• Focus development on main transport corridors if possible.

Conclusion:

For the last few years, East Devon has successfully complied with the government`s Housing Strategy, with their current Local Plan and at present build out rates, this will over subscribe the Government Building Target until the year 2031.

The Government is not forcing East Devon to co-operate with Exeter to provide some of their housing needs. This decision is totally at the discretion of the District Council and their leaders.

Yes, Exeter is a thriving growth city, and it is recognised that the road and rail connections are dire, but why destroy the character of a part of East Devon for these improvements?

The very reason people choose to relocate to Exeter, its surrounding towns and villages is the beautiful Devon countryside; the building of a mass of new housing will simply make the area a mirror image of the existing areas the people are wanting to move away from!

So, to satisfy the aspirations and needs of the City of Exeter, the rural west area of East Devon will be required to build many more houses with either another new town or new villages or building an extra 500 houses to a number of existing village communities.

Will the Strategic Planning Committee endorse this proposal or not?

Exmouth: dunes to disappear to replenish beach sand 2020-2025?

Fascinating that one of EDDC’s “old guard” councillors, Ray Franklin, got it SO wrong!

“… Cllr Ray Franklin, the portfolio holder for environment at East Devon District Council back in 2004, said: “The dunes will recover – it’s the way of nature. Sand has been lost, but it’s likely that the next storm will come from a different direction and bring more sand with it.”

And implications for the water sports centre?

“… Exmouth Beach is expected to be depleted over time, with the 2015 Beach Management Plan anticipating that beach recharge (importing new sand onto the beach) may be required between 2020 – 2025. The Beach Management Plan recommends that consideration is given to recycling of the material comprising the dunes to reinforce the beach between the new lifeboat station and Orcombe Point. …”

https://www.devonlive.com/news/devon-news/what-happened-exmouths-iconic-sand-1935782

Blackhill Quarry: planning application at DMC 4 September 2018 10 am

Owl says: How unfortunate that people who work for a living may not be able to attend.

But how fortunate so many of the DMC members are long-retired and can be at Knowle at 10 am with no problem at all.

TOWN AND COUNTRY PLANNING ACT 1990
PROPOSAL:
LOCATION:
Outline application seeking approval of access for construction of up to 3251 sqm (35,000 sq ft) of B2 (general industrial) floor space with access, parking and associated infrastructure (details of appearance, landscaping, scale and layout reserved for future consideration)

Blackhill Quarry Woodbury Exeter EX5 1HD

… the application has been placed on the agenda for consideration by the Council’s Development Management Committee at their meeting on 4 September 2018.

The meeting will take place at The Council Chamber, Council Offices, The Knowle, Sidmouth and is due to commence at 10am.”

Cranbrook – just another suburb of Exeter and now unlikely to get its long-promised town centre?

Exeter City Council is working in partnership with surrounding District Council Partners, isn’t it? Or is it?

The Councils of East Devon, Teignbridge, Mid Devon and Exeter have been working for some time now towards a combined Strategic Plan – “Greater Exeter” – though we are not allowed to know EXACTLY what that means until after the next local elections in May 2019. Public consultation, which had been timetabled for this year was postponed until then but no reason given. It seems unlikely to offer good news.

But perhaps recent developments in the Exeter/Cranbrook area might shed just a little light on forward plans.

Firstly, it does makes sense to share ideas and come up with a plan to benefit the whole area rather than cram everything into the bulging-growth City of Exeter. Indeed, Plymouth is doing the same thing with its surrounding councils.

In theory, it allows the spread the housing evenly throughout the wider area, enables the building of strategic new roads and other infrastructure and improves bus and rail services to help manage the ongoing problems of congestion in the City. Basically, spread the costs, the developments, and share in the joint benefits this will bring. We see an example of this here:

https://eastdevonwatch.org/2018/08/06/western-east-devon-profits-from-extra-buses-eastern-east-devon-gets-nothing-time-to-join-west-dorset/

East Devon has been working hard with Exeter for some years now with developments in their contiguous areas, creating the new town of Cranbrook, the Exeter Science Park and Sky Park (all on East Devon land) to provide workspace and office accommodation close to the City of Exeter.

However, EDDC has found it impossible to persuade retailers (and their partner developers) to take space in their planned “Cranbrook Town Centre”, which currently consists of only half a dozen small shops and a pub. A second “town centre” was mooted for the next phase of housing development but has never been firmed up.

Cranbrook and other massive housing developments close to the Exeter city boundary (Monkerton, Pinhoe) are now simply dormitory estates to Exeter, relying on the retail offer provided by the City and Sowton to supply the ever-increasing housing in these locations.

The reluctance of retailers and developers to come forward to provide the shops in the heart to the new town of Cranbrook is not difficult to understand. Most retailers are going through a massive change with most companies reporting closures, downturn in profits and many high street names pulling away from the traditional high street.

However, in the greater Exeter area, there is yet another reason for the reluctance of investment into the Cranbrook retail offer. Despite the abandonment of the Bus and Coach Station site last year for retail redevelopment, Exeter’s planners are recommending approval for a massive new “Out of Town Retail Park” close to the MET office and only a short journey from Cranbrook:

https://www.devonlive.com/whats-on/shopping/massive-exeter-retail-park-includes-1866178

The Exeter planners state the application is contrary to their own council policy as the proposed development will not be a ‘local centre’. But the scheme does provide, as part of a wider package, a “local function” – and so it is extremely unlikely that a more ‘traditional’ local centre will be delivered within the newly built housing estates at Monkerton and Hill Barton area of the City. The City planners conclude this is the only realistic opportunity to secure local retail facilities in the area – including Cranbrook.

The applicants claim the scheme will offer a mix of use classes including food retail, non-food retail, restaurants and cafes with ancillary drive thru’ offerings too.

If this application is approved by Exeter City Council next week (13th August 2018) and goes ahead this will be another massive hurdle that East Devon will need to overcome to persuade retailers to locate in their own town centre. As a result, if Exeter planners have their way the likelihood of any retail local centre at Cranbrook coming forward look to be close to zero.

Exeter councillors are being told the City will benefit from a massive economic injection associated with the scheme – with a £15 million construction investment, 260 average construction jobs during the build, 520 FTE permanent jobs, £12 million estimated total annual wage bill across the development, £9 million estimated total annual expenditure in the UK economy by employees of the development, 160 FTE jobs supported in the wider economy by the development, £1.1 million annual business rate contribution and finally up to £2.2 million in Community Infrastructure Levy.

And if this bid fails, there are three more massive retail offerings in the pipeline within half a mile of the same area and all within the Exeter City Council boundary:

https://www.devonlive.com/news/devon-news/exeter-smyths-next-mcdonalds-costa-1769559

So where does that leave “partnership”? And Cranbrook?

Exeter Council coffers will benefit substantially, and East Devon District Council get a large “Out of Town Retail Park” on the edge of their almost shop-less Cranbrook new town.

What a great partner Exeter City Council is proving to be by cherry-picking the juicy benefits and income streams provided by their partners’ hard work in providing the dwellings that will provide the customers to flood into Exeter’s new retail park.

Cranbrook is basically becoming an eastern version of Alphington (Marsh Barton, Matford) – just another suburb of congested, polluted, not-that-great Exeter.

Swire opposes Sidford Business Park

“Hundreds of people have lodged objections against the controversial application to create 8,445 sq m of employment floor space at the Two Bridges site.

The plans, which could create 250 jobs, represents 37 per cent of what was previously proposed and submitted to East Devon District Council (EDDC) in 2016.

Sir Hugo has hit out at the plans and raised concerns, slamming it as an ‘unwanted development in the wrong place’.

In a letter to East Devon District Council’s leader Councillor Ian Thomas, Sir Hugo said: “We have already seen Sidford absorbed by Sidmouth. It was because of this that I objected to a proposal for a cycle path between Sidford and Sidbury as I believed it would not be long before someone insisted on an illuminated path which could lead to gradual urbanisation between the two.

“Likewise, it seems to me to build a business park between Sidford and Sidbury, albeit nearer to Sidford, is an unwanted development in the wrong place.

“You will be familiar with the well-rehearsed arguments both for and against but I cannot see how this proposed development would do anything but detract from the area and to lead to more congestion and pollution on what is an already overused road.

“Equally I cannot see why the Alexandria Business Park could not be properly redeveloped to accommodate any need for new light industrial space.”

Sir Hugo then urged the council to turn the ‘unwanted’ planning application down.

Say No to Sidford Business Park campaigners held a protest last week that was attended by more than 80 people.

Petitioners have also been going door-to-door to gauge people’s views.

A Say No to Sidford Business Park spokesman said: “Obviously we welcome the position taken by Sir Hugo on what is a very important issue for local people. On this matter, we feel he has got it completely right.”

When the Herald went to press, EDDC had received 368 comments about the application, 254 of which were objections and 111 of which were in support.”

http://www.sidmouthherald.co.uk/news/mp-sir-hugo-swire-opposes-plans-for-new-business-park-at-sidford-1-5637131

“A protest opposing the plans for a multi-million pound business park at Sidford will be held next month”

“Campaigners have also launched a petition and have called on residents to join forces and back their efforts.

So far, more than 200 objections have been lodged against the application to create 8,445sqm of employment floor space on the Two Bridges site.

The plans, which could create 250 jobs, represents 37 per cent of what was previously proposed and submitted to East Devon District Council (EDDC) in 2016.

When the Herald went to press, a total of 232 comments had been submitted to EDDC – this included 211 objections and 20 supporters.

From Monday, July 9, Say No to Sidford Business Park campaigners have said they will be going door-to-door in Sidford and Sidbury in order to obtain signatures for their petition, in the first instance.

Volunteers then plan to submit the signatures to EDDC before the authority’s Development Management Committee makes a decision on the application.

Anyone who would be interested in volunteering on one or more of the days between July 9 and 12, from 6pm until 8pm, has been asked to come forward to help collect signatures.

Campaigners will also have street stalls in the centre of Sidmouth on Saturday, July 14 and Saturday, July 21.

Volunteers will be collecting signatures for the petition and will be seeking help from anyone who would like to help with the Say No to Sidford Business Park drive.

A campaign spokesperson said they would be running a number of initiatives throughout July.

A protest will be held on Monday, July 23, between 4pm and 5.30pm. Further details will be released closer to the time.

A spokesperson said: “We would like to thank everyone who has so far put a ‘NO Sidford Business Park’ poster in their window.

“This is an easy way of showing your opposition to the planning application.

“Please print and display the poster and give copies to friends and neighbours to put up.

“If you know of someone who you want to receive our emails then let us have their email address and we will add it to the extensive contact list.

“Thank you for the many messages of support that we have received.”

For more information email nosidfordbusinesspark@yahoo.com.”

http://www.sidmouthherald.co.uk/news/protest-to-be-held-oposing-sidford-business-park-1-5582304