• The application, which is on grade 2 agricultural land, next to Butts Road and Higher Ridgeway, has been submitted by Redrow Homes, the developer and landowner. Around a dozen residents spoke out against the application citing traffic concerns, the grade of agricultural land and it being outside the built-up area boundary, among other issues.  Many residents commented how much they loved Ottery St Mary and were worried that the application would ruin the town. Ottery St Mary Town Council has already said in its submission to East Devon District Council’s Local Plan process, that [...]

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    It was confirmed at the meeting by Planning Policy Manager, Matt Dickins, that there were around 1300 comments on the Local Plan during its consultation. Further consultation with town councils Before we started to dissect the comments Matt Dickins gave an update on the next steps of the process. Meetings are now being sought urgently with town councils to debate any outstanding issues, such as disagreements over housing numbers, employment land and any other outstanding disagreements over strategic development. Also, during the same meeting EDDC strategic planners wish to have a debate with[...]

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    A “relentless focus” on implementing measures to help the economy must accompany cuts to public spending to reduce the deficit, the Prime Minister’s spokesman said. With three weeks left before the Budget, the Cabinet met specifically to discuss growth. Unusually, implementing growth plans was the only item on the agenda. Speaking at a regular Westminster briefing, the Prime Minister’s spokesman said Mr Cameron and Mr Osborne had “exhorted” their colleagues to focus on injecting energy into the economy. “The economic situation and the economic challenges facing the UK are the top[...]

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    Following the online publication of the register of interests, I tabled a written question (as is the protocol) at the EDDC Full Council meeting on Wednesday (22 February), asking when the register of gifts and hospitality would also be published online. Cllr Ian Thomas, portfolio holder for Corporate Services’ answer stated:  “Effective April 2012” My verbal supplementary question was:  “How will this be made public?”  Eventually, after talking for a little while about search engines, Cllr Thomas gave me the answer I was waiting for:  [...]

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    The application, on land between Otter Close and Mallocks Close, was submitted by Devonshire Homes, who lost an appeal for 56 homes on the same piece of land last month. The reasons for refusing the application include: - the application is outside Tipton St John’s built-up area boundary - it conflicts with the policies of the adopted Local Plan - it does not reflect the need and demand for housing in Tipton St John - the ‘extremely limited weight’ that can be attributed to the emerging Local Development framework which is currently in its infancy - the proposed development [...]

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    A large crowd gathered at a parish council meeting on Monday (20 February), many to make a final attempt to persuade the parish council to request no more than five houses in the village over the next 15-20 years A public opinion survey published earlier this month, revealed that this is what the majority of residents wanted. I was unable to attend the meeting on Monday due to a family emergency (my daughter was taken into hospital with a suspected appendicitis – it wasn’t and she is fine now fortunately). Following around a dozen representations from residents, I understand that [...]

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    The agenda can be viewed here:  ED Local Plan Panel agenda - 28 February 2012 The meeting starts at 9am on Tuesday 28 February and will be held in the Council Chamber, EDDC offices, Sidmouth. The comments on the East Devon Local Plan consultation are also poised to be uploaded:  They can be viewed here East Devon Local Plan consultation comments The meeting is open to the press and public as usual.  I hope to see many residents there.

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    The application at Westhayes, on land next to Eastfield, was rejected by EDDC’s planning committee in December, following a last minute withdrawal from the committee agenda the previous month. The application was withdrawn as the planning inspector’s decision over 50 houses at West Hill was published about an hour before the committee meeting was due to start.  The Westhayes application was recommended for approval at that time. As the planning inspector’s report had dismissed the appeal at Eastfield for 50 houses largely for countryside protection reasons the [...]

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    The aim is to have increased speed of two megabits per second to every community across Devon and Somerset by 2015. And to bring superfast speeds of 24 megabits per second to at least 85 per cent of the area by 2015, with 100 per cent coverage by 2020. Broadband speeds in the Ottery Rural ward area are patchy and many are grappling with speeds of less than one megabit, with some disconnections.  BT Openreach did some work repairing old cabling in West Hill last year, which did have the effect of securing faster and more reliable speeds for some people.  However, I am still contacted [...]

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    The two meetings are likely to be the last time the panel meets prior to the legal pre-submission stage, where the plan starts its progress towards the inspector,who will examine it and decide whether it is ‘sound’ or ‘unsound’. The strategic planning officers have now managed to look through the comments and have confirmed that there are probably over 2000. The Local Plan Panel meetings will be held as usual at EDDC’s offices, Knowle, in the Council Chamber.  The two dates (which may change) are: - Tuesday 28 February - 9am - Tuesday 20 March - 9am The [...]

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    The survey was undertaken following a parish council meeting on 4 January, where Aylesbeare Parish Council asked over 100 residents present, what they thought of a proposal for 50 houses for the village. Parish councillors will make a final decision about housing numbers at the parish council meeting on Monday evening (20 February). The proposal for 50 houses had been submitted to East Devon District Council’s Local Plan process last year, based on a previous survey undertaken around five years ago. But residents at the parish council meeting on 4 January, which became heated at times, cast [...]

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    The move, which took place from 6 February, also means that over-filled wheelie bins will not be emptied either. The change in rules is to try and encourage people to recycle more of their waste and cut the amount of rubbish sent to landfill. Recycling in East Devon is now over 50% and landfill has been cut by 33%. The council is asking residents to limit the waste they send to landfill by making sure the items fit into the grey EDDC wheelie bins or gull-proof sacks, which are emptied every two weeks. EDDC says side waste cannot continue to be collected for the following reasons: • Litter [...]

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    But the move, which is very welcome in the name of transparency, appears to have been carried out somewhat quietly last summer. All councillors were asked last May, whether they would support their declarations of interest being available online. I stated that I would be very happy for my declaration to be listed on the website.  However, we had no feedback following this survey and it was only last week that I thought I had better follow it up.  This evening I drafted a question to ask at full council next week, only for someone completely coincidentally (not a councillor) to email[...]

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    I sought the assurance at Monday’s (6 February) Full Council meeting, following a planning meeting the previous Monday (30 January), where I inadvertently discovered that the external door had been locked when the meeting started at 7.30pm. During the first few minutes of the meeting I unlocked the door and checked outside in case anyone was trying to get in. When I returned to the council chamber I enquired whether the decision to lock the door had been lawful.  After a brief exchange of views, planning chairman, Paul Carter asked deputy mayor, Ian Holmes, to unlock the door as it had [...]

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    Along with around a dozen other councillors we were given three minutes at each table, where sixth form students asked us about a range of issues that were important to them. Several questions were a common theme, such as the cost of public transport - an understandable annoyance, as it adds to the costs of continuing in education, lowering the voting age to 16, (which I wholeheartedly support) and why should they vote for me. Other questions that came up included how should we deal with anti-social behaviour, and what did I think about the riots last year.  I was also asked about fish [...]

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    The application is submitted by developers, Redrow Homes and is on land next to Butts Road and Higher Ridgeway.  Town councillors have submitted a response to the East Devon Local Plan process, asking that any future development is on the west side of the town, where the transport links to the A30 are better. Once Ottery St Mary Town Council has given its view, East Devon District Council will determine the application, which is likely to be decided by councillors on the planning committee, following a recommendation from planning officers. Previous applications on the land have been [...]

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    Twenty years ago free-range eggs were rarely sold.  I remember walking to the shops with my nan when I was about eight.  I was telling her about the awful life that battery hens lived.  She replied.  “Well that’s life dear.”  I remember saying:  “But nan it doesn’t have to be!”  I should add that my nan was really a very nice lady and I know she was not alone in accepting that this was just the way things were.  But when I read the story yesterday about free-range eggs finally outselling battery eggs, it gave me a [...]

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    Mr Neill said: “The Government is determined to deliver a simpler planning system which makes absolutely clear the Government’s intention to provide the homes and jobs that the next generation needs while protecting our priceless countryside. “The planning system has always enshrined the principle that the economic, environmental and social dimensions of sustainable development should be considered in a balanced way - and it will continue to do so. The framework also aims to strengthen local decision-making and reinforce the importance of local plans. It was always our [...]

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    Over half (55 per cent) of England’s countryside could be at increased risk as a consequence of the Government’s reforms of the planning system. Two thirds of East Devon is designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which ministers claim will be unaffected by the new laws.  What they don’t admit however, is that protection for AONBs is being weakened All of the countryside in the ward that I represent- Ottery St Mary Rural - which includes West Hill, Aylesbeare, Tipton St John, Alfington, Fenny Bridges and Fairmile - is at risk from the aggressively pro-development [...]

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    If you want to see the future – and I wouldn’t really advise it if you want to retain your equanimity – go to ancient Rutland. For the historic market town of Oakham in the heart of England’s smallest county is already suffering the effects of the Government’s controversial planning “reforms”. And they are the exact opposite of what the Prime Minister says he wants to achieve. Just half a mile south of the centre of the town – complete with castle, butter cross, stocks and a mention in the Domesday Book – planning permission has been given to build a big estate of around 100 [...]

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    The deadline for comments ended on Tuesday (31 January), following an eight week consultation. It is likely to take several weeks to analyse the comments before the Local Plan Panel meetings start again, firstly to assess comments and then to agree recommendations.  The meetings will probably start again sometime during March or April.

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    My eight year old was three steps ahead of me all the way she was so keen to get there!  And when we arrived there were around a dozen children deposited at various tables all busy making things. There were word searches, arts and crafts and colouring and my daughter flew to the nearest table and picked up a crayon.  My two year old nephew also opted for colouring before he spotted the box of dinosaurs which he made a beeline for and spent the next half an hour swooping pteradactyls and roaring the tyrannasauros rexes.  I then helped him make a VERY glittery (at least an inch of[...]

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