Ottery fights up to 30% increase in housing

Pretty soon, the Exeter suburbs will stretch in one long ribbon development from Pinhoe and Cranbrook to Ottery and Honiton and fron Clyst St Mary to Newton Poppleford – without the infrastructure to support it. And, if there is another major economic turndown or an increase in interest rates, without the jobs to support the mortgages. And little or no truly affordable housing, of course.

A new outline planning application, submitted to East Devon District Council (EDDC) for the construction of up to 53 homes on a greenfield site next to Sidmouth Road, has been met with anger and dismay from many.

If accepted, the development – which includes open market homes and provision for 40 per cent ‘affordable housing’ – could push the total number of new houses in the pipeline to more than 600.

Concerned householders say this represents a 30 per cent population growth that Ottery’s infrastructure cannot cope with.

Councillor Roger Giles called the application from Gerway Landowners Consortium ‘unnecessary, unwanted and damaging’.

He said: “The East Devon Local Plan, reflecting the views of local people, said that Ottery should have an additional 300 homes. Already, more than 500 have been approved.”

Katie Corbin, who lives near Sidmouth Road, is one of the residents joining forces to fight the proposed development. She said: “Five hundred homes have been agreed, but only around 100 have been built. What’s going to happen when the rest are built? They have no idea of the repercussions of the affect of 500 houses. Why risk more?”

Gerway Lane resident Rachel Kirk said: “This is the third proposed development within sight of Gerway Lane and it is soul-destroying for all existing residents.”

In a letter of objection submitted to EDDC’s planning department, Martin Kirby said: “The local facilities are way behind this general house building frenzy.”

Dr Margaret Hall confirmed she will be objecting on behalf of the East Devon branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England.

She told the Herald: “It is more houses than we need and it is outside of the built-up area boundary. The infrastructure in Ottery cannot cope with it.”

Nigel Machin, of Knightstone Lane, is putting the onus on EDDC to ‘see through the spin, understand the strain the town is already going through and protect Ottery from this continuing onslaught’.

Agents of the application, Ian Jewson Planning Ltd, said: “The proposals will provide much-needed market and affordable housing in a sustainable location adjacent to existing development and close to local facilities.”

Anyone notice something about this press release for Exeter Science Park?

Answer: it is a non-story! At no point in the puff job is a potential tenant named!

EDDC us a partner in this project, along with Skypark, once touted as a suitable place for its new HQ and still with the majority of its space empty.

It seems all is not well at these so-called high-tech industrial areas on the outskirts of Exeter and Cranbrook. Yet thousands of houses are already being built for people supposed to be working in them. Recipe for disaster?

But still, a good exercise in making no news good news!

Perhaps our councillors should be scrutinising these projects and how much it is costing us to keep these sites ticking over and publicised.

Exeter Science Park was “topped out” in August 2014:

Skypark was supposed to provide 7,000 new jobs. Only three companies currently operate on the site: the E.ON energy centre for Cranbrook, ampn ambulance call centre and a locally-relocated parcel delivery service. It has proved impossible to find on the net just how many NEW jobs these three organisations have provided at Skypark.

Roger Giles (Ind) polls highest vote in District Council elections

We’ve had further feedback from today’s election of East Devon District Councillors, when Independents gained considerable ground. Here are some highlights:

– The voters’ favourite was Roger Giles, the seasoned Independent Councillor for Ottery St Mary Town Ward, with 2087 votes.
– Paul Diviani, Leader of the Council) retained his seat at Yarty. He received 776 votes. But votes against him totalled 795.
– Cabinet member, Ray Bloxham (525 votes) lost in Raleigh Ward to IEDA candidate, Geoff Jung (950 votes).
– IEDA Leader, Ben Ingham successfully held Woodbury & Lympstone, where he and IEDA colleague, Rob Longhurst, defeated David Atkins (Con).
– The most significant cull of Tory Councillors was in Sidmouth, with Independents now in control:
There was a surprise defeat for Graham Troman, who ironically has often stood up alone for Sidmouth, without the backing of the other local councillors.
Stuart Hughes is the sole remaining Conservative, sharing Sidmouth-Sidford with Dawn Manley and Marianne Rixson, both IEDA.
Sidmouth Town Ward is in the hands of Cathy Gardner (IEDA), Matt Booth(IEDA) and John Dyson (Independent).

The Sidmouth Herald reporters were quick to pick this up:

For complete election result information, go to

Urgent: Save Clyst St Mary public meeting 15th April re. Westpoint planning application

Westpoint has applied for an exemption to its planning permission to allow timed car trials on its site. Obviously this is a concern as it is likely to be very noisy and could potentially cause additional pollution to the area too..

This is the link to the planning application (15/0139/VAR):

Save Clyst St Mary spokesperson, Gaeron Kayley, says:
“Having spoken to The Parish Council, I can confirm there will be a public meeting in the School Hall on Wednesday 15th April Starting at 19.30″

Local Plans: with the same figures, Mid-Devon opts for low growth in housing numbers East Devon opts for high growth


The hugely controversial industrial estate, proposed at Sidford was today struck from EDDC’s Local Plan, following a proposal by Cllrs Stuart Hughes and Graham Troman.

The five hectare site was inserted into the Local Plan at the last minute when I was a member of the panel back in 2011.

It has taken local people four years of campaigning for the council to finally agree to delete it. Many votes of a similar nature have been taken in the past and have failed. Today’s got through.

The move took place at today’s extraordinary full council meeting to discuss revisions to the local plan.
I blasted the council for opting YET AGAIN for unevidenced and huge levels of growth that are contrary to consultants recommendations.

How many consultants have to tell EDDC that the right way forward is low growth before they actually listen? The answer is they never will listen. They (who I am not entirely sure) wants big big levels of development in East Devon – and so shall it be.

That is, until the planning inspector takes a look at it and wonders what on earth is going on.

A press release was issued by EDDC earlier this month which contained a grossly untrue statement about the planning inspector recommending the levels of growth that EDDC have opted for.

The planning inspector made no such recommendation. This was a disgraceful attempt to try and fool the public into believing that EDDC is doing the will of the planning inspector, who threw out the draft local plan last year.

See here for my blog earlier this week on what EDDC has done ….…/eddc_proposes_highest_housin…

Frankly, the council has sold the western end of the district off to the highest bidder. Villages like Clyst Honiton, Rockbeare and Blackhorse are set to be absolutely swamped in urban sprawl.

The council promised Rockbeare that it would be protected by a green wedge. If you saw the area that Cranbrook is set to expand now, massively south of the old A30, you would be shocked. Rockbeare is set to be lost amid bricks and concrete.

Whimple was supposed to have a green wedge to protect it from Cranbrook.
Not any more.

Whimple’s green wedge is proposed to have a great chunk eaten out of it as Cranbrook also sprawls to the east.

Given that councillors have never had the chance to question the consultants I moved an amendment that both sets of consultants are invited to the next overview and scrutiny committee meeting.

This amendment was argued against by the chief executive, who for some reason decided to mention my “parliamentary ambitions.”
It was voted down mainly by the conservative group.

My second amendment proposed an extension of the consultation period by two weeks, making a total of an eight week consultation period. This proposal was carried, despite some senior conservatives arguing against it.

Interestingly, I informed the council that Mid Devon District Council (which has been working with EDDC on this) has opted for a low growth scenario for its district. This is because Mid Devon councillors did not wish to concrete over any more of the countryside than they had to.

So why has EDDC opted for such a high growth level?(it is impossible to even match the levels to any figures in the reports!)

The chief executive said it was because East Devon is a “growth area.”
But I replied, the consultants knew this before they drafted their report didn’t they.

Yet they still recommended a preferred approach of significantly lower development, that is also in line with government growth projections.
Why oh why is EDDC doing this?

The Local Plan, with some minor amendments, was voted through by the majority of councillors.

Pickles overturns Pinn Court development and allows its 400 plus houses to go ahead

“430 residential units, local centre comprising retail space of up to 240 m2 and a community centre, care home of up to 60 bedspaces, specialist care home of up to 60 bedspaces and a park and change facility, together with associated areas of open space (formal and informal), cycleways, footpaths and infrastructure, safeguarded vehicular route to Langaton Lane, served off new access from the highway”