Government to allow Community Infrastructure Levy to fund big projects

Oooh … just in time for Cranbrook’s latest expansion plans! AND when councils all over the country are declaring a climate emergency and trying to avoid unsustainable projects. Catch 22 there for TiggerTories!

Or perhaps it will go to a new National Park – lol.

“Councils will be required to report on the agreements reached with housing developers to pay for infrastructure, under new rules laid in Parliament this week.

Housing Minister Kit Malthouse claimed that “confusing and unnecessarily over-complicated” rules were being simplified, so that communities would know exactly how much developers were paying for infrastructure in their area.

Councils will have to set out how the money will be spent “enabling residents to see every step taken to secure their area is ready for new housing”.

The Government also claimed that the changes would make it faster for councils to introduce the Community Infrastructure Levy in the first place.

Restrictions are to be eased to allow councils to fund single, larger infrastructure projects from the cash received from multiple developments, “giving greater freedom to deliver complex projects at pace”, it added.

The Minister of State said: “Communities deserve to know whether their council is fighting their corner with developers – getting more cash to local services so they can cope with the new homes built.

“The reforms not only ensure developers and councils don’t shirk their responsibilities, allowing residents to hold them to account – but also free up councillors to fund bigger and more complicated projects over the line.

“The certainty and less needless complexity will lead to quicker decisions.”

The regulations will be debated once parliamentary time allows.

The Government has also published its response to the views received in its technical consultation on developer contributions reform.”

https://www.localgovernmentlawyer.co.uk/planning/401-planning-news/40736-councils-to-be-required-to-report-on-deals-with-housing-developers

Developer says traffic increase at potential Sidford business park would be “insignificant”

Owl says: if so few vehicles would use the business park – why build it!

https://www.devonlive.com/news/devon-news/objectors-outline-traffic-chaos-safety-2934450

Cranbrook to get massively BIGGER – first planning test for no-overall-control council

The first test of The Independent Group on large-scale development. It got to make up the EDDC Cabinet and its Leader, Ben Ingham, has appointed several current and former Tories to positions of influence.

What will each group’s stand be on large-scale development? And what happens if the smaller parties have different views to that of the Independent Group and Tories if they agree? Interesting.

There are a few worrying words in this press release – potential, proposed, outlines, capable of, vision, could, opportunities. Lots of leeway for developet mund-changing at a later date.

And missing words: affordable and social housing.

Plus our local NHS Trust wants more than £1.3 million before it considers the proposal sustainable for health needs.

“Plans for 930 new homes as part of the western expansion of Cranbrook have been revealed.

The proposals for the Bluehayes site would also see a primary school, sport and recreational facilities, community uses, green infrastructure, as well as a mixed use area of shops, food and drink and professional services built.

The Bluehayes site, which lies between the existing Cranbrook development and Broadclyst Station, is one of four proposed expansion areas of Cranbrook.

A new link road that would run from the Cranbrook railway station to London Road and to Broadclyst Station, through the middle of the Bluehayes site, is also proposed in the scheme handed in recently to East Devon District Council planners.

And the plans also reveal that a footbridge over the London Road that would connect the Bluehayes site with the proposed Treasbeare site, south of the road, could be built.

The Cranbrook Plan was backed by East Devon District Council’s Strategic Planning Committee in February which outlines the land where a further 4,170 new homes will be built.

It allocates 40 hectares of land at the Bluehayes Expansion Area for around 960 new dwellings, land capable of accommodating a community building, formal open space recreational land, a 420 pupil place primary school, formal play space with facilities for children and youth and allotments totalling an area of 0.55 hectare of land

Details with a planning statement submitted with the planning application says: “The submission of the new outline application for the Western Expansion of Cranbrook and the change of use of agricultural land to the north of Cranny Brook to SANG land, is consistent with the planning policy and the longstanding policy to deliver new homes to meet the needs of the area.

“The submission of the application for the Western Expansion area and their progression delivers certainty required in the long term delivery of growth and of the delivery of the vision for Cranbrook.

“The proposals have been designed to be residential led with the potential for the delivery of a new primary school and formal outdoor sports pitches to provide complementary community and social infrastructure to meet the needs of new residents.

“The application demonstrates provision of the necessary infrastructure to include internal roads, public transport provision, formal and informal open space uses to support itself and to mitigate any impacts of development on existing communities and wider infrastructure.

“Cranbrook and its Western Expansion have been fully justified in the context of local planning policy and in the context of the growth agenda and the national and local need for housing.

“The proposals will result in substantial and demonstrable benefits in terms of meeting the need for new homes in a sustainable manner, fostering economic development and further underpinning the sustainability of Cranbrook.

“The proposals will also help deliver the vision for Cranbrook and underpin the planning and delivery of infrastructure and the town centre.”

A 1.14 hectare site for a one-form entry primary school could come forward as part of the plans. The primary school will be built in either the Bluehayes or the Treasbeare allocation, depending on which is constructed first.

Details with the scheme also outline that a new link road from the Cranbrook station to London Road and to Broadclyst Station will be built.

There will be a new frontage to London Road which will comprise a mixed use area, providing opportunities for a range of residential, retail and small scale employment uses, and in future, a crossing over London Road to the southern expansion area may be accommodated.

But the Royal and Devon Exeter NHS Foundation Trust have requested a contribution of £1,332,313 from the developers, cash which will be used directly to provide additional health care services to meet patient demand.

Commenting on the application, they say: “Without the contribution being paid, the development would not be acceptable in planning terms as the consequence would be inadequate health services available to support it.”

Having considered the cost projections, the Trust say that they will require the full figure to ensure the required level of service provision is delivered in a timely manner.

They add: “Failure to access this additional funding will put significant additional pressure on the current service capacity, leading to increase delays for patients and dissatisfaction with NHS services.

“The contribution will ensure that Health services are maintained for current and future generations and that way make the development sustainable.”

The Bluehayes expansion is one of four proposed expansion areas for Cranbrook, which development also proposed for Treasbeare and Grange, south of the existing town, and Cobdens, to the east of the town.

A reserved matters application has also been submitted for 80 homes, for which outline planning permission has already been granted, for land north-east of the Cranbrook Education Campus.

East Devon District Council planners will determine the fate of the applications at a later date.”

https://www.devonlive.com/news/devon-news/cranbrook-getting-bigger-930-new-2923726

The new “sustainable” villages – beware estate rentcharges

Cranbrook has not recovered from the arrangenent where developers imposed charges on residents of their estates for such things as gardening and maintenance. In the end, the town council took over these charges and spread them over ALL residents, many of whom were naturally upset at extra charges they had never signed up for.

https://eastdevonwatch.org/2018/06/25/estate-rent-charges-another-warning-on-new-builds-such-as-those-in-cranbrook/

Now, the new (brutalist architecture) estate developer in Exeter says it will severely restrict parking by having only 185 car parking spaces for 400 homes and residents will need permits to use the spaces.

BUT enforcement of these parking restrictions will be done by “a specialist management company which will patrol the site to ensure vehicles are parked within dedicated spaces and to ensure that non-residents aren’t using the site”.

And who will pay these charges? Just those who have parking spaces or ALL residents? And who will control escalation of the charges?

Greater Exeter Strategic Plan: change or no change?

Now that the Local Election is over, we can see from this report in the Sidmouth Herald:

https://www.sidmouthherald.co.uk/news/possible-locations-for-new-devon-villages-set-to-be-released-1-6061225

that potential sites for new villages in support of the Greater Exeter Strategic Plan (GESP) have been found and are due to be unveiled shortly.

A whopping 57,000 new properties cross the four council areas adjoining Exeter will have to be built to satisfy Exeter’s growth aspirations.

Quite soon, therefore, we can expect that the newly elected Councillors who represent us on the GESP, Councillor Susie Bond and Councillor Philip Skinner, will have to decide how many new villages East Devon will take and where they will be sited. Obviously close proximity to Exeter will be a significant factor and places like Lympstone, Woodbury, Clyst St Mary, Farringdon and West Hill must be in the frame.

To give an example of the impact to expect. A tiny community between Broadclyst and Pinhoe – Westclyst, has had a whopping 1200 houses imposed upon it. Where the highest quality agricultural land lay four years ago, bounded by about 30 bungalows, there are now sprawling housing estates.

In the past these decision have been kept a closely guarded secret. Will the new regime now act with transparency and openness?

We know from the CPRE study on “Devon’s Housing Needs” that:

•​Far too many homes are already being planned for Devon in the next 10 years.
•​Two thirds of these will be occupied by inward migration.
•​Vacant and second homes are becoming a problem across the County.
•​We in East Devon are taking a disproportionate share of development. Our Local Plan annual housing target is the highest in the Greater Exeter Area: 58% higher than Exeter, 53% higher than Teignbridge and nearly three times that of Mid Devon.
•​Whilst we are planning too many houses, we are failing to plan for enough homes of the right type in the right location, especially for locally generated households.

Ex Councillor and one time Leader, Paul Diviani boasted in council, just before Christmas, that the high growth policy he advocated for East Devon was justified because “we have the land and we are good at it”.

In the election Paul Diviani was decisively rejected by the electorate, receiving a derisory 319 votes.

On 3rd May the voters clearly voted for change but are they going to get it?

“Rewild a quarter of UK to fight climate crisis, campaigners urge”

Rewilding would (according to the Environment Secretary) focus on:

Native woodlands
Salt marshes
Peat bogs
Ponds and lakes
Meadows and grasslands

all of which we have in abundance in East Devon.

Perhaps it is now time to revive the idea of a Jurassic Coast National Park (West Dorset would be an already-enthusiastic partner) which was squashed by the previous council because they feared losing their cosy relationship with housing developers …

And, as part of our climate emergency, make rewilding an integral part of all future neighbourhood, district and Greater Exeter development plans.

EDDC: “Relocation cost, No Deal Brexit, electric charging points and climate change motions rejected from being discussed”

Owl says: remember, the Chief executive, Mark Williams, is supposed to be a NEUTRAL civil servant and yet ALL of the refused motions are from ALL the minority groups ONLY……!

“Motions to support recycling, to call for a new property ombudsman to streamline complaints against shoddy builders, and for East Devon to get its fair share of the police precept rise will be discussed at next Wednesday’s full council meeting.

But motions over the full relocation costs of the move from Sidmouth to Honiton, to put electric charging points in all car parks, what to prioritise in a ‘No Deal’ Brexit and on climate change will not be discussed.

Various motions that councillors had put forward for debate at East Devon District Council’s full council meeting on Wednesday, February, were rejected by the council’s chief executive, as either the agenda already provides the opportunity for debate or the wording of the motions were inaccurate.

RELOCATION

Cllr Cathy Gardner had proposed a motion calling for the council to commit to publish an annual ‘summary of accounts’ for the relocation project until break-even is reached as relocation from Sidmouth to Honiton was proposed and predicated on the basis that the project would breakeven within 20 years and deliver cost-savings to the council tax payers of East Devon.

Cllr Gardner said: “Whilst some of this information is already available we feel it is vital for the ongoing costs to be published to show confidence that this project will breakeven. A majority of Councillors voted for relocation on the basis that money would be saved on energy bills. We are left unsure of whether breakeven will ever be proven.”

But an EDDC spokesman said: “The rejected motion contained inaccuracies and omissions that had the potential to mislead councillors and it was also premature. It is however proposed to bring a report to the next meeting of the Cabinet that will summarise the position reached with regard to the sale of the Knowle and the relocation. Cllr Gardner can raise the matters she is concerned about as part of the debate into that report.”

The motion would have called for the accounts to include

energy costs for the Knowle for the past 20 years (for comparison);

energy costs for both Blackdown House and Exmouth Town Hall per year;
the capital receipt for the sale of the Knowle;

a Red Book valuation of Blackdown House as of 1 March 2019;

the full costs for the relocation project since its inception, including: project management; removal, furnishing and equipment;

staff retraining and travel expenses;

new-build costs for Blackdown House; refurbishment costs for Exmouth Town Hall; and any other associated costs.”

CLIMATE CHANGE

Cllr Matthew Booth’s motion had called for the council to recognise that Climate Change and Global Warming are the key issues of our time, to acknowledge the strong concerns of young people in particular the recent walk out of school children and for the council to commit to introducing a policy of carbon measurement and reduction within all aspects of its own activity.

He said: “I personally do not care how we begin to do this, or who does it, but that we act now not wait for some planned strategy in the future.”

An EDDC spokesman said that the issue of climate change emergency is acknowledged to be of critical importance but that it would be appropriate to wait to see what Devon County Council decides. They added: “Currently, however, the County Council is considering its position and will shortly debate the matter. As we are in a two tier area it is appropriate for the District Council to assess the position taken by the upper tier authority and then respond accordingly. The public would expect us to work in partnership with the County Council rather than unilaterally.”

ELECTRIC VEHICLE CHARGING

Cllr Eleanor Rylance had submitted a motion calling for the council to plan for and implement over the next five years a full rolling renovation programme of its car parks estates to fit and bring into operation electrical charging points at every space for domestic cars, and cycle parks with charging points for all types of cycle and that there should be mandatory EV charging points for the parking spaces of every new-built house in East Devon.

She added: “This council should approach the future of electrically-powered domestic vehicles with enthusiasm and proactivity, play a positive role in helping develop the use of electrical and should make this infrastructure, that will be a necessity within the next ten years, available in advance of full electrification of domestic vehicles in 2042.

But an EDDC spokesman said: ““The agenda already provides an opportunity for this issue to be raised so this motion was inappropriate.”

BREXIT

Cllr Rylance had also submitted a motion that said in the event of a No Deal Brexit or a version of Brexit that causes significant disruption, the council should approach this event as a situation of emergency in respect of its most vulnerable residents, dedicating any available human, material and financial resources required to palliate any negative outcomes for these groups, but the motion was rejected.

Talking about all the motions, a council spokesman said: “The council agenda for February contains the most important annual decision, namely the setting of the budget and the approval of the Council Tax for the forthcoming year. The process leading to this meeting has included several meetings where members were encouraged to raise all items of future relevance so these could be assessed as part of our service planning process and for assessment as part of the budget.

“It is unfortunate that some members did not take these opportunities and have chosen instead to submit their proposed motions.

“It is also noted that the wording of the motions was not checked in advance with relevant officers who would have been able to give timely advice as to their wording.”

But motions on the police precept, protection for new home owners and supporting recycling will be discussed.

POLICING

Cllr Tom Wright’s motion says: “In view of the £24 per band D property increase in policing precept, this council urges the Chief Constable to recognise the needs of East Devon when deciding how to allocate extra resources. East Devon residents are the biggest contributors to the police budget in Devon, other than Plymouth. It is only fair that we should get a fair share of the larger cake.”

NEW HOMES

Cllr Douglas Hull’s motion says: “The Government has stated that it would therefore be introducing as a priority a new property ombudsman to streamline complaints against shoddy builders. As a council that not only provides an excellent and highly regarded building control service but also has seen significant levels of new building in its district, we call on the government to fulfil its pledge to provide this much needed remedy for homeowners as a matter of the highest priority.”

RECYCLING

Cllr Peter Burrows’ motion says: “This Council continues to support the fine work done by the EDDC Recycling team in achieving the best results in Devon and to support and encourage local Organisations and voluntary groups who are involved in trying to reduce the amount of single use plastics used in their communities & beaches by making resources and expertise available, where appropriate. The order of priority should be – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. To actively help promote such activities through the Councils social media platforms.”

The full council meeting will be held at East Devon District Council’s new Honiton Heathpark HQ on February 27 at 6pm.”

https://www.devonlive.com/news/devon-news/relocation-cost-no-deal-brexit-2557565