• The debate, which took place at last night’s planning meeting, was prompted by a request from Roger Giles for the subject to be discussed again, following a well-attended public meeting in The Old Boys’ School, on 9 January. At the meeting on 9 January, which was attended by around 100 people, a show of hands revealed that the vast majority of people did not support building of more than 100 houses.  This led to Roger Giles requesting that the subject was re-debated at the next town council meeting, which was eventually agreed following heated exchanges at the planning meeting[...]

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    The application is on a small piece of land opposite McColls and is outside West Hill’s built-up area boundary. It was refused by East Devon District Council last May on grounds that it was contrary to planning policy as it is contained proposals for four storey flats, underground parking and a building that the landowner claimed would become a doctor’s surgery.  The application was clearly out of line with West Hill’s character and distiinctiveness. East Devon District Council’s tree officer expressed concern that the line of mature beech trees along West Hill [...]

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    1.General comments Although the East Devon Local Plan is an improvement on the old Local Development Framework, which put economic growth ahead of everything else, the level of development in the draft Local Plan remains excessive and not evidence-based.  In particular, consultant reports commissioned at great cost to the taxpayer seem to have been disregarded.  Instead the views of local landowners and developers appear to have carried more influence, particularly in relation to industrial and commercial land.  See my reasoning below: 2. Housing “The number of households [...]

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    Up until the 15 January this year councillors were bound by a strict(ish) set of rules in relation to giving their views on planning applications, in advance of the decision or at a time before all the facts were known.  But this law, known as ‘pre-determination’ has now been scrapped. Pre-determination did not mean that a councillor could not give a view, however, it did mean that a councillor had to be careful not to be too aggressive in opposing an application at an early stage, or for example campaigning against it.  If this happened the councillor (if on a planning [...]

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    The application is on land belonging to the Taylor family and is for 15 dwellings (amended from 19) on a steep hill behind Barton Orchard, Tipton St John. The town council meeting, which was held at Tipton St John, was packed with residents and many spoke.  Most objected, but some supported the provision of affordable housing contained in the application.  Amid heated exchanges with planning chairman, Cllr Paul Carter, the debate among members of the public lasted for over two hours. Councillors were divided on their support for the application.  I said that I acknowledged the [...]

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    Around 40 members of the public gave their views on the association’s draft response, which was tweaked accordingly.  Overwhelmingly, residents gave it the thumbs up, however, as an accurate portrayal of their thoughts on the development proposed for the district. There was considerable concern that the 35 houses proposed for West Hill, will be the tip of the iceberg, with unplanned or ‘windfall’ development being in addition to the allocation.  Dozens of ‘windfalls’ - usually in the form of sub-divisions of gardens have taken place over the past few [...]

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    The application, which would have grown the village by one quarter, was sited on land between Otter Close and Mallocks Close. It was refused by East Devon District Council last spring, largely for sustainability reasons and because the field is outside the village’s built up area boundary. The appeal took the form of a public inquiry, held last month and was attended by more than a dozen residents, as well as the council’s legal team, strategic planning team and officers. Many of the residents spoke at the hearing.  I gave evidence against the appeal and was cross questioned [...]

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    The firm yesterday announced its first profit warning in two decades, leading to almost £5 billion being wiped off the company’s stock market value. Announcing a major change to what has so far been a hugely successful business model, chief executive Philip Clarke said in future it would open fewer big Tesco Extra stores. The hypermarkets, which stock clothes and other household goods alongside food, spread rapidly across the country in the past decade and now number over 200. Instead, Clarke, who took over the business about a year ago, said the company would shift its focus to online [...]

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    Around a dozen residents expressed a range of concerns from traffic and infrastructure to a loss of Ottery’s distinctive character. There was anger at EDDC’s justification for the houses, which largely relates to Ottery’s proximity to the west end of East Devon (this cannot be a reason for providing more houses, even if Ottery could be described as close to Cranbrook, which it is not).  Another justification for higher growth is a ‘high quality public transport link’ which was supposed to be a sort of tram service, promoted by Devon County Council.  [...]

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    Sir Christopher Kelly said the perceived influence of rich businessmen over politicians is undermining public trust in Westminster. He cited the Coalition’s planning reforms as an example of a policy that raised suspicions after The Daily Telegraph disclosed that property developers were paying thousands of pounds for access to senior Tories. Such preferential treatment leads to increasing concerns that there is “no smoke without fire”, the chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life said in an interview with The Daily Telegraph. “There is no doubt that significant donors do [...]

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    The application behind Barton Orchard, has caused some controversy in the village as the development would take place on a steep hill, visible from many parts of the village.  It is on land designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty - which has strict national and local protections. The applicant now wants to reduce the numbers of houses from 19 to 15 and has submitted revised plans, which aim to meet East Devon District Council’s Exceptions Policy.  10 of the 15 houses are classified as affordable. The application will be considered by Ottery Town Council on Monday 16 [...]

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    No date has yet been set for the appeal, but it will take the form of an informal hearing.  This is not quite as formal as a public inquiry and there will be opportunities for submissions from residents.  It is likely to be held at EDDC’s offices, the Knowle, Sidmouth. The main grounds for the appeal seem to be the last minute withdrawal from the November planning committee meeting’s agenda, where it was recommended for approval.  The application was then relisted on the December agenda, recommended for refusal, following the Blue Cedar Homes appeal being dismissed, largely[...]

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    I was delighted to see over 100 people packing the hall and many participated in a lively and at times, heated, debate.  Aylesbeare Parish Council has submitted a figure of 50 houses to East Devon District Council as part of the Local Plan consultation process. East Devon District Council has allocated around five houses to Aylesbeare, based on a five per cent increase of the numbers of houses that fall within the built up area boundary. Some residents queried the way previous public opinion surveys carried out by the parish council, had been interpreted.  Other residents expressed[...]

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    “I have found it a very rare occurrence that somebody speaks straightforward, incontrovertible truth – states a fundamental that underpins what we do, why we do it and where. There are layers of truth – poetic, economic, emotional, mathematical – and there are, of course, the facts of life. Back in the 1980s I once attended a compulsory “training” day, provided by the Government to assist young people to find their way into work. The speaker began the day by asking: “What are the three things you need for survival?” There was one of those slightly sulky, [...]

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