“Gove wasting his time” – “Wild Woodbury” responds to Blackhill Quarry incursion further into AONB

Press release:

“Michael Gove is Wasting his time!

Conservative Councillors Undermine Government Environmental plans

The Woodbury Common “Area 12” development in East Devon is a classic example of members of the conservative party undermining the leadership and the will of the electorate. The proposed development of factories within an Area of Outstanding Natural beauty caused a local outcry. There were 198 objections to the plans and 4 people supported the application. When the development was put to the planning committee the council chamber was packed with objectors. The plans were passed with 6 people voting in favour and 5 against. The 6 supporters were all Tory Councillors who were not only out of step with the wishes of the electorate but also showed a total disregard for Michael Gove’s 25-year Environmental Plan.

Michael Gove is wasting his time! He is being undermined by his own Party and would be more effective working for an organisation with real environmental integrity such as The Wildlife Trust. He may be the most progressive and forward thinking Conservative Secretary for the Environment that we have had in decades. He recently stated “Outside the EU we are going to make sure that our environment is enhanced and protected. We believe in a greener Britain.”

If he hasn’t been a closet environmentalist all his life he has learned very quickly. He has listened to the much maligned “so called experts” and taken their ideas onboard. He isn’t afraid of speaking out either. When Donald Trump pulled the USA out of the Paris International Climate agreement most of the government were shuffling around looking at their shoes and scared to speak out in case they caused any offence. Michael however came out and condemned the move in his first speech after being returned to the cabinet. People have said that the new Tory “Green” policies that he is putting forward are just “vote bait” and that the conservatives are desperate to grab votes from the younger generation.

It is true that the younger generation in general tend to be greener than the traditional Tory voter, but they are also quite canny. It is not enough these days for a party to Talk the Talk, they will have to be seen to Walk the Walk if they are to get the youth vote. If the Tories don’t make good on their promises the next generation of voters will be even more disaffected about politics than the current ones. Plans for environmental initiatives like the bottle deposit scheme, banning single use plastics, and a switch to electric cars are very welcome, but until the legislation necessary to get them working is in place they are just a good idea and nothing more. Michael may have good intentions but after a year in the job the harsh reality is that he has changed very little.

Michaels downfall will not come because of criticism from environmental groups as most of the conservationists I talk to agree with his proposals. He is in step with most current thinking on environmental protection and is happy to express his own ideas. The document “A Green Future: Our 25 Year Plan to Improve the Environment” contains enough positive ideology to satisfy most environmental campaigners. The document is elegantly designed, and its contents has been carefully thought out. It covers a huge range of subjects: sustainable land use, enhancing the beauty of landscapes, ways of reducing pollution and waste, fishing policy that ensures seas return to health and fish stocks are replenished, climate change, and new forests. The document even covers wildlife crime, poaching and illegal wildlife trade beyond our borders.

The problem that Michael has is that the document is a vision and not legislation. It is a collection of really good ideas, but it is not law. When there is a conflict between potential industrial development and the environment the ideals will get thrown into the river like toxic waste. If there is a chance for a profit to be made Tory councils will always find ways to get around even the most stringent protections. The “Green Future” is not seen as a moral compass for development it is just viewed as a bit of a nuisance.”

“Air pollution causes ‘huge’ reduction in intelligence, study reveals”

Not good news for people on the route of the Sidford Fields Industrial Estate – or anyone in any of the villages close to Exeter that EDDC wants to expand.

“Air pollution causes a “huge” reduction in intelligence, according to new research, indicating that the damage to society of toxic air is far deeper than the well-known impacts on physical health.

The research was conducted in China but is relevant across the world, with 95% of the global population breathing unsafe air. It found that high pollution levels led to significant drops in test scores in language and arithmetic, with the average impact equivalent to having lost a year of the person’s education.

“Polluted air can cause everyone to reduce their level of education by one year, which is huge,” said Xi Chen at Yale School of Public Health in the US, a member of the research team. “But we know the effect is worse for the elderly, especially those over 64, and for men, and for those with low education. If we calculate [the loss] for those, it may be a few years of education.”

Previous research has found that air pollution harms cognitive performance in students, but this is the first to examine people of all ages and the difference between men and women.

The damage in intelligence was worst for those over 64 years old, with serious consequences, said Chen: “We usually make the most critical financial decisions in old age.” Rebecca Daniels, from the UK public health charity Medact, said: “This report’s findings are extremely worrying.” “

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/aug/27/air-pollution-causes-huge-reduction-in-intelligence-study-reveals

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?

Fire close to Greendale Business Park

“Firefighters are tackling a huge blaze involving “300 to 400” hay bales near Exeter.

Fire crews were called to a field near Greendale Business Park in Woodbury Salterton at about 04:45.

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service said “approximately 300 to 400 large straw bales” were on fire.

They remain at the scene and are trying to stop the blaze from spreading.

Appliances in the lanes surrounding so may be tricky driving around Woodbury/Woodbury Salterton.”

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/live/uk-england-devon-45085272

Greendale Business Park Tree Order – East Devon Alliance Councillor Geoff Jung instrumental in getting it passed

Well done, East Devon Alliance Councillor Jung! Others with business parks earmarked for their areas should take note! The tree order for the area around Greendale Business Park has been out for consultation and is now agreed and signed off. Let’s hope the owners of Greendale have the map – and understand it.

“Within the proposal for the 2009 extension to the business park back in 2009 there was an “agreed” landscaping proposal. However, agreements to maintain the landscaping proposals in a planning agreement do not generally extend beyond the agreed time of 5 years to maintain or replace the landscaping trees and shrubs in their first few years of growth.

Following many unauthorised tree and landscaping removals by the owners of Greendale Business Park, it was considered appropriate to instigate a review of all the trees existing surrounding the park and to include all the agreed landscaping.

The Local Authority (EDDC) following this review considered that the most appropriate way to stop further encroachment on the agreed landscape proposals would be to cover the whole area with a Tree Preservation Order.

Tree Preservation Order Proposal

The Tree Preservation Order (TPO) has been made to protect the significant individual trees and areas of newly created woodland. The TPO protects a total of 47 ‘Individual’ trees, 19 ‘Groups’ of trees, 3 ‘Areas’ of land and 17 ‘Woodland’ areas. The TPO collectively protects thousands of trees growing on and around the Greendale Business Park.

Extent of Tree Preservation Order 18/0002/TPO marked in green.

Most the trees within the TPO are contained within the landscape planting areas that were approved under the historic planning consent for the expansion of the business park (09/1195/MOUT). The extent of the business park is defined further within the adopted East Devon adopted Local plan 2013 – 2031.

Collectively the trees add to the rural character of the surrounding landscape. With the individual mature trees, their amenity is already significant. The landscape planting areas, will significantly increase in their amenity value, as the tree increase in size and develop into areas of woodland.

The protected trees and woodland areas are important in reducing the visual impact of the business park on the surrounding area and help maintain the rural character of the wider area.

Tree Preservation Order consultations

Three letters have been received requesting modifications to the provisional TPO, these modifications can be summarised as follows:

• Woodland, W2 – Request the removal of an area of land on the north-eastern corner of the woodland, as it does not contain any trees (Figure 2).

• Woodland, W8 – Request the removal the most southern end of the woodland as it is sandwiched between industrial units, is in places in contact with the buildings causing maintenance problems and it is of limited public amenity.

Area of Woodland (W2) showing absence of trees

What will this Tree Order mean?

No one can cut down, top, lop, uproot, wilfully damage or destroy a tree or cause or permit the cutting down, topping, lopping, uprooting, wilful damage or wilful destruction of any tree except with the written consent of the Local Authority.

This order does not restrict the management of these trees and woodland areas but if any work was to be carried out the landowner is now required to seek permission from the Local Authority.

Comment from the District Councillor

Councillor Geoff Jung (EDA Independent Councillor for Raleigh Ward which includes Greendale Business Park)

I really appreciate the work that the officers have done on this Tree Order that will in effect protect the trees and woodland in whole area surrounding the Business Park and the Rural Village of Woodbury Salterton.

I know that the Woodbury Salterton Residents Association and Woodbury Parish Council have been must concerned with industrial encroachment into the countryside within the area and important landscaping being removed prior to any planning approvals.

This TPO (Tree Preservation Order) and the shortly to be approved EDDC village development plan with its designated employment line around the business park will provide better certainty and protection to the rural landscape of Woodbury Salterton.”

Village Development Plan Approved by EDDC Strategic Planning Committee

The long-suffering residents of Farringdon and Woodbury Salterton are now one step closer from being a little more confidant with their fears of further growth from the Industrial Business Parks on their doorsteps from Hill Barton and Greendale Business Parks.

These 2 business parks have been growing at a considerable rate over the last 20 years which has provided important business opportunities and employment. However, it has been felt that further growth would be inappropriate in the open countryside some distance away from any major towns.

East Devon Local Plan proposals in the Local Plan approved in 2016 supported planned commercial growth would be at Cranbrook and areas close to Exeter together with other major towns in the district.

However there has been a number of challenges made to these policies with a number of Planning Inspectors hearings and High Court cases to these particular policies.

It was always known that the Local Plan would be challenged for development at these Business Parks and some villages. Therefore, the Local Authority proposed an additional planning document known as the “Villages Development Plan” which is an additional planning document drawn up by the Strategic Planning Department at East Devon which will provide further guidance and clarity to the largest villages in the district and the two business parks.

Finally, after 3 years of deliberation and public consultations, East Devon`s Strategic Planning Committee meeting this week, agreed to recommend to the East Devon`s Full Council meeting on the 25th of July that the “Villages Plan” be adopted.

The Villages Plan has been through several rounds of public consultation and the plan text has been refined to reflect the comments made.

Then followed a Planning Inspectors hearing plus an examination and recently returned by the Planning Inspector with an agreed approval following further changes and amendments.

The result of the Strategic Planning Committees approval and recommendation to the next Full Council meeting to adopt the new policy document will provide clarity and guidance on planning matters to the Villages and to the two Business Parks.

In the case of the Business Parks new planning policies are to be adopted.

Policy VP04 and VP05 which include a map that shows the extent of authorised uses at the Business Parks. Beyond the “Employment Area” shown on the map, any further planning applications will be considered to be in the “open countryside” and will be subject to stringent countryside protection policies.

It is therefore hoped by the rural villages of Farringdon and Woodbury Salterton that this endorsement of restricting further expansion at these Business Parks will provide clarity and certainty for the community for many years.

East Devon’s Villages Plan is agreed by the planning inspector (with implications for business parks)

Press Release including comments from East Devon Alliance Independent Councillor Geoff Jung:

“I am delighted that, after a number of years of hard work and following extensive public engagement, the Planning Inspector has found our Villages Plan to be sound. The Plan is a key document that once adopted will sit alongside the Local Plan and help promote the right types of development in the right places for our rural villages and communities while protecting our outstanding countryside assets and environment.”

Developers will be able to refer to Villages Plan when considering building in larger East Devon villages, the town of Colyton and Greendale and Hill Barton business parks.

Planning Inspector Beverley Doward’s report on the East Devon Villages Plan has been received by East Devon District Council and the inspector concludes it is sound, subject to her earlier submitted “main modifications”.

The East Devon Villages Plan sets out planning policy that will help determine planning applications in the larger villages of East Devon (and the town of Colyton), as well as at Greendale and Hill Barton business parks. The primary role of the Villages Plan is to set boundaries (known as built-up area boundaries and employment areas) around villages and the two business parks, which will help determine where new development can be built.

Outside these boundaries opportunities for development will be far more restricted, which will effectively control the outward expansion of villages and the two Business Parks into the surrounding countryside. The Villages Plan will sit alongside the adopted East Devon Local Plan and together they will guide and manage development across the whole district.

East Devon’s Strategic Planning Committee will consider the report on 26 June 2018. The committees new Chairman Cllr Paul Diviani says:

It is expected that the Villages Plan will go before the Full Council on 25 July 2018 for adoption.

Welcome News to the Communities of Farringdon and Woodbury Salterton
The adoption of the Villages plan is a welcome additional Planning Document to the two rural communities of Woodbury Salterton and Farringdon, which are close to Greendale and Hill Barton Business Parks. These very large Industrial parks have seen continued growth for many years and dwarfed their rural communities.

The Inspector in her report states that:

“By virtue of the definition set out in Strategy 7 of the EDLP, the business parks lie within the countryside where development will only be permitted where it is in accordance with a specific Local or Neighbourhood Plan policy that explicitly permits such development.”

Further in her report the Inspector notes that:

“Greendale Business Park and Hill Barton Business Park have clearly made an important contribution to the supply of employment land within the district and provide valuable employment opportunities.”

“There is nothing in the evidence that has been submitted to the examination of this Plan that leads me to conclude that there is currently a need to provide for future employment development in locations other than those which have been tested and found sound through the examination of the EDLP. (East Devon Local Plan)”

“The inclusion within the EDVP of a policy providing for future growth at Greendale Business Park and Hill Barton Business Park, whilst considered as a ‘reasonable alternative’ in the SA, is not supported by it and instead the option of not providing for further expansion of the business parks is identified as the preferred option.”

“I am satisfied that the approach not to provide for the further expansion of Greendale Business Park and Hill Barton Business Park in the EDVP beyond that which is already authorised is justified and consistent with the development strategy of the EDLP.”

“To conclude on this issue therefore, subject to MM08, MM09, MM10 and MM11 the approach adopted in the EDVP to Greendale Business Park and Hill Barton Business Park is justified and consistent with the development strategy of the EDLP and is capable of effective implementation.”

East Devon District Councillor Cllr Geoff Jung for Raleigh Ward which includes the village of Woodbury Salterton says:

“I welcome this long-awaited Village Plan and the inclusion of the Employment Areas for the Business Parks of Hill Barton and Greendale.

The Planning Inspector Beverley Doward’s comments and recommendation for the business parks demonstrates that further expansion of either the Business Parks beyond the present approved boundaries will not be considered appropriate.”

“This Plan will provide clarity and certainty required for both communities of Farringdon and Woodbury Salterton and the owners of the Business Parks.”