Greater Exeter Strategic Plan – Exeter leaks its “vision”*

“But not yet in East Devon until July 2019 (see below). It seems East Devon is the only council keeping ALL its plans secret until after the 2 May 2019 district council elections.

Fishy? You bet!

Anyway, here’s what we currently know:

Interesting proposals for changes to Sidmouth Road and Junction 30 of the M5. The Motorway Services and Sowton Park and Ride being developed as a “Mixed Neighbourhood” (see image above).

The Governments require the Greater Exeter Housing target to be 53,200 new homes over the next 20 years. That is for the combined area governed by East Devon, Teignbridge, Mid Devon and Exeter.

Exeter’s housing ambitions

Karime Hassan, chief executive and growth director of Exeter City Council revealed this week a proposal for 12,000 new homes in the City of Exeter over the next 20 years. His vision of “Liveable Exeter”, for delivering a transformational housing programme for Exeter from 2020 to 2040. involves the creation of 8 new neighbourhoods.

Exeter’s published Vision

Red Cow Village (St David’s) – 664 homes in new neighbourhood, including new work space, on both sides of the railway around St David’s Station.

Water Lane (close to Exe Valley Park) – 1,567 homes. A space for expanding leisure attractions near the quay, with low traffic or car-free development with attractive cycle and walking connections.

Marsh Barton – 5,544 homes in a new neighbourhood. It will remain an important employment and retail area, but with the integration of living and working, to make better use of riverside location. Development linked to the new proposed train station. Creation of new types of work space, including light industrial, workshops, office and shared work space.

East Gate (Heavitree Road) – 962 new homes, an enhanced approach to the city centre from the east, reduced traffic on Heavitree Road and a greater provision for public transport, walking and cycling. New places to live close to the city centre will exist alongside existing neighbourhoods.

West Gate (Western Way) – 617 new homes, opening up access to the river and canal from the city centre, a new cultural destination, an expanded and connected park at the heart of the city, a “Green Bridge” promoting active travel across the river.

South Gate (Holloway Street/South Street linked via Topsham Road) – 300 new homes, establishing an improved link between the city centre and the historic quayside, with a greater emphasis on the wall, city gates and Southernhay.

North Gate (North Street) – 308 new homes, a new approach to the city from St David’s, uncovering the medieval city wall.
Sandy Gate (land off Sandygate roundabout) – 1,050 new homes in a new sustainable and well-connected mixed-use neighbourhood, bridging the city and the new and existing neighbourhoods to the east, providing recreational, cultural and entertainment space where Exeter meets the proposed Clyst Valley Park.

Mid Devon’s published ambitions.

Mid Devon’s Local Plan is almost complete with a Planning Inspectors hearing due in the next few weeks to consult on their final draft.

Culm Valley on the South side of the M5 opposite Cullumpton create a new community of up to 5,000, with a new Motorway junction and railway Station.

Junction 27. A landmark project for a leisure and tourism development involving Tim Smit from the Edan Project
Tiverton Eastern Urban Extension will cover 153ha, to the east of Tiverton.

Teignbridge future ambitions.

Teignbridge has just started a review of their Local Plan and therefore their plans are in the infancy.

Brownfield Their preferred option to develop brownfield land for development however, the required number of homes the government require Teignbridge to build, is not possible to meet the housing needs from brownfield land only. Therefore, open countryside will need to be considered for development to meet the housing needs.

Garden village is being considered with the new settlement proposal to be between 1500-10,000 homes.

So – What are East Devon’s Ambitions?

Hard to say.

Although the other 3 Authorities are keeping their residents well informed on their sections of the GESP proposals, East Devon has been an almost total blackout! There has been a Local Plan in place since 2016 with most of new development being built in an area known as the West End. That is an area close to Exeter’s border plus the new Town of Cranbrook.

At East Devon District Council Strategic Planning Committee on Tuesday 29th January it was hoped that Agenda item 12 would be able to explain more on the Greater Exeter Strategic Plan strategy and provide councillors some clarity on the East Devon Local Plan, plus the East Devon Villages Plan only agreed last year which most councillors only learned the previous week, would be jettisoned and replaced with a brand new East Devon Local Plan by 2023.

Local Plan to be replaced

At the meeting last week, the Head of Planning Ed Freeman explained that the present Local Plan was in 2 parts, with the section on Policies would require total re-writing because the Policies would be “substantially superseded” by the emerging GESP Policies. He also explained that the Villages Plan policies, will be merged into the new Local Plan.

Tory Councillor Philip Skinner who along with Tory Councillor Paul Diviani who are the only 2 East Devon`s elected representatives on the GESP “steering group committee” along with 2 elected members from the 3 other Authorities gave only a few hints on some of the latest thoughts for the GESP Strategy for East Devon.

Higher Density Housing for Exeter proposed for GESP

Regarding a question on Housing, he explained that it had been decided by the steering group, that each authority had a certain quota of dwellings proposed and it was not correct that if one Authority was unable to provide the housing numbers, other Authorities were required to build extra dwellings to offset the shortfall. He also explained that Exeter City Council had to return to the drawing board to enable extra dwelling numbers through “much higher density” within the confines of the City.

East Devon will take on most of the Industrial and commercial development for the GESP

Councillor Skinner also told the meeting regarding business development that he aimed to “Get the best for East Devon” and explained that to “Our strength and Exeter’s demise, they do not have the capacity, but we do!” and claimed most of the commercial and industrial development “will be in our patch”

After 2 years of joint secret meetings.

Exeter’s residents know what to expect with “Liveable Exeter”, Teignbridge residents are being told that their local plan is being re-assessed and are having public consultations, and Mid Devon residents have been through their public consultations and an agreed local plan about to be approved.

However, the residents of East Devon only know that their local plan is now being superseded by a new plan with substantial more housing and more industrial, commercial and business development.

All will be revealed in July 2019 after the District Council Elections. Who will you trust to steer East Devon through the next few years of obtaining the most appropriate and suitable Planning Policies. Leave it to the Tory Councillors who have kept everyone in the dark?

Or choose an Independent who are the major opposition for East Devon?

Teignbridge District Council Tory majority down to 1 – implications for Greater Exeter

Owl says: The Greater Exeter Strategic Plan must be approved by all linked authorities. EDDC has already refused to sign up to the latest draft and now Teignbridge can no longer rely on whipped Tories. 1 vacancy, 23 Tories, 6 Independents and 16 Lib Dems – so Independents now VERY powerful ….

“The ruling Conservative party have seen their majority on Teignbridge District Council slashed to a wafer-thin one after the resignation of a councillor.

Cllr Amanda Ford, the previous ward member for the Teign Valley, quit the council earlier this month.

No reason for her departure has officially been stated, but just weeks before she left, she had threatened to quit as a result of ‘allegations of bullying by senior council officers’, an accusation the council has strongly refuted. …”

https://www.devonlive.com/news/tory-majority-slashed-one-after-2238257

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

Teignbridge Council CEO given £264,000 to push off – now working for West Sussex on £138,000 plus perks

“A council chief executive was given a golden handshake of more than £250,000 in a deal that bosses tried to keep secret to avoid causing her “unnecessary or unjustified distress”.

Nicola Bulbeck, 60, left Teignbridge district council in Devon last summer after 11 years’ service. The council had repeatedly refused to reveal how much she received but its draft annual accounts disclosed yesterday that the former barrister left with a £264,000 “exit package”.

It was also revealed that she was allowed to stay on until the day after the general election last year so that she could earn a further £30,000 for being the returning officer.

After leaving the local authority she was appointed an executive director at West Sussex county council last January on an annual salary of £138,000.
There has been concern about a “revolving door” of senior local authority staff receiving significant payoffs before moving to similar jobs.
Several Teignbridge district councillors have alleged that Ms Bulbeck kept her company car as part of the leaving package. The council has declined to comment on the claim.

Phil Shears, who replaced Ms Bulbeck, had defended the decision not to release details of her payout when she departed. He claimed that the disclosure would “cause unnecessary or unjustified distress or damage” to his predecessor. Mr Shears was appointed the council’s managing director on a salary of £94,656, considerably less than Ms Bulbeck earned. Ms Bulbeck had been criticised for accepting a 12 per cent pay rise that took her annual pay packet from £126,000 to almost £142,000.

The district council and the Information Commissioner’s Office rejected several attempts by the Mid-Devon Advertiser to unearth Ms Bulbeck’s settlement. The accounts show that she received £173,091 “compensation for loss of employment” as part of her exit package”.

Jeremy Christophers, the council’s Conservative leader, said: “We have followed strict council policy and abided by the legal advice given.”

Gordon Hook, a Liberal Democrat councillor, said: “The leaving packages for some senior officers at local authorities are nothing short of obscene in the eyes of many. My view is that the general public have every right to know how their council tax is spent.”

Ms Bulbeck was not available for comment yesterday.”

Source: The Times (pay wall)

STRATA (EDDC, Exeter, Teignbridge shared computer service) down

Owl says: that’s the drawback of shared IT services – one out all out! Have they tried turning it off and on again!

One for EDDC councillor and computer whizz Phil Twiss in charge of getting broadband to not-spots in East Devon. Now, it’s all not-spots.

now that’s going to cause a few problems…

East Devon one of three councils hit by major IT fault

East Devon District Council’s phone lines and website have gone offline after a major IT fault.

Engineers have been tasked to fix the problem.

Services offered by Teignbridge District Council and Exeter City Council have also been affected.

A spokesman for Teignbridge District Council said it was working to fix this the fault as soon as possible.

Exeter City Council said people may not be able to make online payments as a result of the network issues.

It is asking people who want to get in touch to do so through social media.”

http://www.exmouthjournal.co.uk/news/east-devon-one-of-three-councils-hit-by-major-it-fault-1-5192799

Expensive Teignbridge Council CEO not being replaced

Owl says: Remember when our current CEO went 50/50 to South Somerset Council and no-one noticed – and his work was shared out to other officers? Somerset terminated that contract early and he returned to us full time.

Why?

“A council chief who is paid almost as much as the Prime Minister is leaving her post next month. Nicola Bulbeck, Teignbridge Council’s CEO, told a meeting of the full council on Monday that she would be departing from her role on June 9 once she has fulfilled her duties as the Acting Returning Officer for the General Election.

Ms Bulbeck faced criticism last year after it was revealed that she had been awarded an inflation-busting 12 per cent pay rise. Her total remuneration package, including pension contributions and benefits in kind, jumped from £126,097 in 2014/15 to £141,972 in the 2015/16 financial year. Theresa May currently receives £143,462 for leading the country, the Conservative Party and overseeing the hugely complicated Brexit process. …

… Ms Bulbeck will not be directly replaced, but instead, her duties will be distributed between the existing officers and the Deputy Chief Executive, Phil Shears who will become the Head of Paid Service.”

http://www.devonlive.com/council-boss-who-earns-as-much-as-prime-minister-to-leave-the-council/story-30335435-detail/story.html