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 …. http://www.claire-wright.org/…/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”


Bad day for EDDC’s Local Plan officers. Good day for Clyst St Mary.

A barrage of questions from the public (no less than 17 people had pre-registered to speak) were fired at the DMC who were today considering the revised Local Plan. Several councillors firmly added their own particular concerns.

Seven speakers were from the Save Clyst St Mary Group. Campaign leader Gaeron Kayley has just circulated the news copied below:

As you will be aware, today was the day the Development Management Committee met at EDDC to discuss the Local Plan.

This had great significance for Clyst St Mary, given that it had been proposed that both the Winslade Park area and the green field owned by the Plymouth Brethren would be used for the village’s allocation of an additional 200 houses.

22 members of our group met last Monday and discussed our key arguments against this which were to be delivered at today’s meeting.

We are thrilled to announce that, following today’s Committee meeting, it was unanimously agreed by the 15 councillors present to reject the green field proposal and reduce the housing allocation for Winslade Park to 150 in total.

A massive thank you to everyone who attended last Monday’s meeting, including the seven brave souls who spoke so passionately and articulately today, as well as all those local residents who turned up simply to offer moral support. It really was greatly appreciated.

Whilst this was only a hearing for the Local Plan – not a hearing for the specific applications to which we have all objected – it does give us hope for the future. Things certainly appear now to be less bleak than they did ten days ago!

Rest assured, with your support, we will continue to fight in a dignified, professional and open manner to unite and preserve our village community.

Tribute to Broadclyst Councillor who fought for years against inappropriate development

The Full Council meeting at Knowle this week, opened with a warm tribute to District and County Councillor Derek Button, who died last month. Representing the people of Broadclyst, he was strongly opposed to the massive development nearby at Cranbrook. And many Councillors listening to the acknowledgements of Derek Button’s dedication to his electors’ concerns, will have recalled his courage in standing up against what he saw as irregular planning matters. He was one of the three Liberal Democrat members of the Development Management Committee (DMC) who temporarily resigned in protest over alleged procedural irregularities in the Waldron’s Farm case. The Ombudsman found no evidence of anything untoward, however, and the controversy lingers on. More info here: https://sidmouthindependentnews.wordpress.com/2013/05/14/waldrons-farm-application-stirs-bitter-memories/

And those following the Task and Finish Forum set up to do an “in-depth report” into EDDC’s relationship with the group then known as the East Devon Business Forum, would also remember Cllr Button’s part in trying to progress this so-called Business TAFF, which never pursued its original aim. See the voting recorded here: http://saveoursidmouth.com/2013/03/29/planning-issues-are-within-the-scope-of-the-business-taff/

As Council Leader Paul Diviani put it, in a tribute in the Midweek Herald (27 Jan 2015), Derek Button’s colleagues “will mourn the loss of a good man”. http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=3&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CDEQFjAC&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.midweekherald.co.uk%2Fnews%2Ftributes_paid_to_respected_east_devon_district_councillor_1_3935704&ei=CGHwVOn3KML3UoWHgYgL&usg=AFQjCNESXXA6c5muF1a_V-2EscfoUkUD7w&bvm=bv.87269000,d.d24

Progress update on Village Plan and EDDC Plan

From Save Clyst St Mary organiser, Gaeron Kayley:

‘A big thank you to everyone that attended the meeting with Hugo Swire last week. A number of questions came up regarding our neighbourhood plan and our local plan.

Please See the update from Mike Howe regarding our local Plan below*.

Please also see our poster advertising the neighbourhood plan, where you can view and have your say on our Parish. Click here to open Exhibition poster (1) . (Saturday 7th March at Clyst St Mary School 10am- 4pm, 10th March Cat and Fiddle Inn 10am-Noon & Sowton Village Hall 6pm-9pm)’

*email fromMike Howe:

The production of the SHMA has unfortunately been a long and drawn out process. There are 6 key stages to the production of the SHMA. These are:

Definition of the housingmarket area

Understanding household projections

Addressing Market Signals

Addressing Housing Backlog

Measuring Affordable Housing Need

Future Employment and Economic Growth Assumptions and Aspirations

A so-called draft SHMA was sent through from the consultants in August 2014 after they had completed only the first two stages of the process. This information was communicated to Members via a report to Development Management Committee on the 26th August 2014 and an all Members briefing note on the 27th August 2014. This report and briefing note made it clear that the information available so far simply

modelled housing numbers based on historic trends and that without taking account of factors such as the backlog of affordable housing need and projecting future employment and economic growth the information was largely meaningless. No further draft SHMA information has been made available to any Members since that time indeed until the SHMA process is complete and all factors have been taken into account any data would have been misleading. I appreciate that this delay has been highly frustrating for all of us but we have been entirely dependent on consultants to carry out this work. Given the expertise required and the need to consider data from all of the authorities within the housing area there was no other option than to use external consultants on this work. Unfortunately, it has taken them much longer than envisaged.

In advance of receipt of the final SHMA Mid-Devon District Council have proceeded with production and consultation on their Local Plan. It is understood that their work is based on the draft SHMA data that all of the participating authorities received in August 2014 and some subsequent employment projections. Mid-Devon do not have any additional data than we do, however their position is slightly more straight forward as they do not have a growth point and therefore it is easier to predict factors such as future job growth in Mid-Devon than it is here in East Devon. Clearly there are risks associated with Mid-Devon’s approach however this is not our concern as we must focus on delivering our own Local Plan.

I am pleased to say that the SHMA work is now complete and only yesterday a draft report was provided by the consultants to officers of the commissioning authorities. The work now needs to be considered by officers and any queries raised with the consultants before the report can be finalized and published. This will happen in the next week to 10 days. We envisage publishing the SHMA in a co-ordinated way between the authorities and their respective Members with the report being sent to Members slightly in advance of wider publication.

The SHMA was the remaining key piece of evidence that enables us to produce an objectively assessed housing need for the district and move forward with the Local Plan. We had previously envisaged that the upcoming election would prevent progress being made until May however the Inspector has made it clear that he expects to see the proposed changes to the Local Plan by mid-April and we must adhere to the timescale that he has set as the process moving forward is led by the inspector.

Our time line now looks like this:

 Early March – Publication of the SHMA

 By end of March (pre-purdah) – DMC and full council meeting to consider

revisions to the Local Plan including proposed housing numbers

 Submission of revisions to Inspector immediately following incorporation of

any changes following full council

 Inspector provides questions upon which to seek views through consultation

 Consultation commences (mid-April)

 Consultation ends (end May)

 Oral examination sessions reconvene (August/September)

 Local Plan adoption by end of year

Three cheers for Save Clyst St Mary campaigners!

Congratulations to Gaeron Kayley of the Save Clyst St Mary campaign, who tells us, “I have been advised that the development at the Cat and Fiddle has been refused! This shows that a collaborative, fair and open approach does give us a true voice. Lets hope events continue to go this way and our village’s character preserved.” Full story, with reasons for refusal,  here: http://saveclyststmary.org.uk/2015/02/12/cat-and-fiddle-planning-application-refused/