• Residents, most expected to be equipped with placards bearing suitable slogans, will meet at the eastern end of the seafront, near the lifeboat station. I will see you there rain or shine!

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    East Devon District Council has registered an application by Prockter Land LLP. The developer has applied to build 185 dwellings, on land between The King’s School and Strawberry Lane.  Unusually, the developer has also submitted an application for a second option of 165 dwellings plus a residential care home.  Residents have 21 days to lodge their comments. They can do this by following THIS LINK and submitting a comment online or by writing to East Devon District Council planning department. Ottery St Mary Town Council will consider the application first, at a date and [...]

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    From: Peter Crawford Sent: 31 October 2012 12:28 Subject: RE: Feniton development - Station Rd No, Mr xxx, what is unfortunate is that you and the other objectors chose to spend 9 months fighting a perfectly valid application rather than engaging with us at the appropriate time to fully understand the application and what was on offer. May I respectfully suggest that this is a lesson learned for the future, that its better to engage and negotiate rather than just object. For the record, this is not as you suggest me being unhelpful,  but as a matter of company policy we do not send out[...]

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    Nine councillors from East Devon District Council and Ottery St Mary Town Council, signed up for the event, which involved students firing questions at us.  It was a fast and furious event, which allowed just three minutes spent at each table, before councillors moved on to the next group for the next grilling, as a claxon sounded. Councillors David Cox, Christine Drew, Martin Gammell, Roger Giles, Andrew Moulding, Pauline Stott and Elli Pang and Mayor Glyn Dobson, also took part in the event, which was held on Monday 22 October. The top four questions that I was asked were: - what did I[...]

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    Residents of Alfington, Tipton St John and West Hill are expected to fill Ottery Football Club, to hear councillors debate where housing should be built, based on the results of a questionnaire-based consultation. Survey forms from Alfington and Tipton St John are all now with Ottery Town Council and are being assessed by a statistician, with the deadline for West Hill’s questionnaires to be either returned to West Hill’s post office or Ottery Town Council, by Wednesday (31 October). Councillors recognise the responsibility placed on their shoulders, and how sensitive and important[...]

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    Cllr Ian Thomas has circulated a message to all councillors this evening, confirming that speakers could be heard clearly, with the only ambiguity being identifying precisely who was speaking. But Cllr Thomas proposes that this could be overcome by the committee chairman first stating the name of the person that they have called to speak. In his message he confirms:  “I envisage that the solution will obviate the need for members of the public to complete their own recordings, through the publication of a full record online soon after the meeting (minor editing only to be required [...]

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    Although the Home Builder’s Federation is welcoming the move, two major construction firms are already sounding baffled about why the government would think this was a good idea, when the reason they were established in the first place, was to ensure people’s safety and good design.  The fact that this government is happy to put this at risk is a damning indictment of its careless attitude for the welfare of the people of this country. The full article, which is the lead story in today’s Guardian, can be found HERE

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    - the council leader was stumped by unexpected questions from the committee chairman - tempers flared over a report on car parking - an embarrassing trouserless moment occurred - a fit of uncontrollable giggles took place. as a result - another unnecessary declaration of interest was made … all to a very hissy recording of the meeting.  And there was a peaceful resolution to a row building over the inaccurate minutes of last month. Inaccurate minutes When we arrived at the meeting there was a printed amendment to last month’s highly controversial inaccurate minutes, involving East [...]

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    The programme carried interviews with a distraught Kelly herself, who now faces the possibility of prosecution, me, mayor of Ottery, Cllr Glyn Dobson and her agent, John Watts. We all spoke in support of Kelly.  East Devon District Council issued a statement but declined to put anyone up for interview. You can listen to the programme HERE, for the next seven days. East Devon District Council’s full statement, which was submitted to BBC Radio Devon is below: “Whilst we have every sympathy for Ms Lynch’s feelings after this unfortunate set of circumstances, this is a classic [...]

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    The Aylesbeare Inn, is to be auctioned off in London next week and a member of staff from the company dealing with its sale, The Auction House, told me this morning that it ‘would be delivered empty’ and not sold as a going concern. However, giving residents a glimmer of hope, he added that interest was a ‘mixed bag’, with enquiries from both developers AND from people interested in running a pub. The advertisement on Right Move states: FOR AUCTION Wednesday 31st October The Auction House London. A large site comprising a Vacant Public House Associated Garden & Car[...]

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    Over the last few months East Devon District Council has become aware of a rumour that a large percentage of affordable homes at Cranbrook have been allocated to councils in other areas of the country, so they can move their undesirable tenants to Devon. We totally appreciate that this rumour could cause concern but we can categorically say that this rumour is untrue and unfounded. Indeed we believe this rumour is part of a malicious and vindictive campaign against the development at Cranbrook. Whilst there is no evidence to support this rumour, here is the evidence that conclusively proves [...]

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    Residents signed up for the committee at a public meeting held at The Kings School, on 18 October, chaired by teacher, Jo Elliott.  The meeting, to talk through what needed to take place to construct the cycleway, was attended by around 70 residents, keen to find out what was involved. Prior to the meeting, myself and Cllr Roger Giles were inundated with messages of support from residents, as well as from: - Neil Parish MP -  Hugo Swire MP - Local primary schools, including West Hill, Feniton, Tipton and Payhembury - Local councils, including Ottery St Mary and Feniton - [...]

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    Kelly, a Tipton resident, had her planning approval for a tiny log cabin snatched away from her last week, by EDDC’s planning committee. The bizarre decision ran directly contrary to a decision made by the same planning committee in August.  Reporter, Sophie Pierce, came out to visit Kelly this morning and interviewed both of us.  Sophie also took some photos, which will be uploaded to BBC Good Morning Devon’s Facebook page HERE The BBC Good Morning Devon programme starts at 6.30am and runs until 9am. Read more HEREabout Kelly’s case.

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    A Westcountry council has submitted fresh plans to its own planning committee to move away from its former headquarters and sell off the surrounding parkland for housing and a care home. East Devon District Council (EDDC) wants to relocate from the Knowle in Sidmouth to Honiton, shedding 33 jobs in the process and forcing around 80 workers into a 20-mile round trip to new purpose-built offices. The proposal is one of a number of development issues which have angered residents and led to the formation of the campaign group Save Our Sidmouth (SOS) which is set to stage a mass protest rally on [...]

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    At the town council’s planning committee meeting this evening, councillors were informed of the decision by EDDC to reject Kelly Lynch’s application, at last week’s East Devon District Council planning committee meeting. Councillors were updated by Cllr Roger Giles on what had happened and viewed the decision as unfair and wrong.  A decision to write a letter of complaint followed.

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    More information can be found HERE Over 100 people turned up to hear information on land submitted and to ask questions, at West Hill village hall on Friday evening.  They left clutching questionnaires. The deadline for questionnaires to reach West Hill’s shop, McColls, is Wednesday 31 October. Photograph: Ash Hill wood on the edge of West Hill.

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    Or click on this link - here It is well worth a read… Pic:  Pasted page two of the article.

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    Bizarrely, the same planning application was given the green light by the same committee, just two months ago. Kelly Lynch, who has gypsy roots, has lived quietly in a caravan on a small piece of land east of Tipton St John since she was a little girl.  She has been fighting for the right to stay there, since her grandmother died several years ago.  Planning officers say that Kelly’s grandmother, Violet Small’s permission to live there was for her alone – a term known as ‘personal use’ and cannot be transferred to anyone else, even though Kelly has inherited the land and [...]

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    At the meeting, which will take place on Thursday 22 November, an issue pursued by myself and Roger Giles, will be debated, following a report by an EDDC officer. A discussion and vote on audio recording meetings will be aired, just one month after doubt was cast on the accuracy of the minutes at a previous overview and scrutiny meeting, relating to East Devon Business Forum. At a scrutiny meeting earlier this year, a debate took place over the webcasting of meetings, following a motion by Cllr Roger Giles. The concept of webcasting was widely derided by the conservative group as being too [...]

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    In a previous blog - link here - I outlined how the minuted resolution of the debate on East Devon Business Forum (EDBF) bore no relation to the actual decision made.  And also why part of Cllr Troman’s speech where he stated what he wished the EDBF task and finish forum to focus on, was missing. The overview and scrutiny committee meeting starts at 6.30pm on Thursday 25 October, in the council chamber, Knowle, Sidmouth.  Members of the public are welcome to speak at the beginning of the meeting. You may feel strongly enough about the inaccuracy of the minutes, to come along [...]

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    Provisions in the government’s new planning bill that reduce people’s rights to register and use local land as a village green are an ‘outrageous’ attack on local people’s rights, according to campaigners. It would also end people’s rights to apply to register land in England as a village green, if the application seemed to come in response to a “trigger event” such as a planning application in relation to the land or a development plan identifying the land for possible development. The government said the measure was intended to stop the [...]

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    The all-conservative cabinet took over in 2011 as the key decision-making group, from the previous politically balanced executive committee. Sidmouth Independent News has looked into the geographical make-up of the cabinet and has found that most of the councillors come from the east of the district. This is very interesting to me because when I was a member of the local development framework panel last year, the conservative group almost doubled the panel in size, following my appointment.  Membership mushroomed from from six members to 11.  All new members of the panel were [...]

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    The full story is published in today’s Telegraph - link here:  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/greenpolitics/9617217/George-Osborne-describes-green-lobby-as-environmental-Taliban.html I don’t think I can ever recall another senior minister consistently showing such flagrant disrepect for the people of this country.  Mr Osborne and new planning minister, Mr Boles are clearly kindred spirits.

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    The all conservative cabinet agreed that Elizabeth Hall on the seafront would be sold off to national chain, Premier Inn, earlier this month. But it has now emerged that the agent acting for EDDC, was also the agent acting for Premier Inn. Commercial property agents, Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL), contracted by EDDC during the tendering process, is also Premier Inn’s retained agents. Since 2008 JLL’s project and development services arm has completed several refurbishments on behalf of Premier Inn, delivering 1.245 new bedrooms, the Journal reports. Exmouth LibDem councillor, Eileen [...]

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    Worryingly, the decision, which was published about two weeks ago, could destabilise East Devon District Council’s planning policy across the district. Myself and Roger Giles have written to both local MPs - Neil Parish and Hugo Swire - about the decision and its fallout, which is caused by new and aggressive development policies in the Government’s controversial national planning document, the National Planning Policy Framework, which was published earlier this year.  Many Feniton residents also wrote to Mr Parish. Feniton’s MP, Neil Parish, has now written to planning[...]

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    At tomorrow night’s (Thursday 18 October) meeting, which is held at The Kings School canteen and starts at 7pm, there will be a range of presentations including from: - Peter Grainger from Sustrans, a cycling charity - Richard Foord, currently working on delivering the Culm Valley Trail - Jason Wood, sports teacher at Kings School - Roger Giles, county councillor for Ottery St Mary Rural ward Kings School students will also present their own ideas about why the creation of the cycleway is important to them. In Devon County Council’s cycling strategy update, published earlier this [...]

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    A DISTRICT councillor has issued a full apology after failing to treat two fellow councillors with respect. As previously reported, an East Devon District Council (EDDC) standards committee found that Councillor Mike Allen (Cons, Honiton St Michael’s) had brought his office into disrepute. The complaints were filed in November last year and refer to meetings of EDDC’s Local Development Framework (LDF) Panel, chaired by councillor Allen. The EDDC standards committee met in May and found that Councillor Allen had failed to treat fellow councillors Roger Giles (Ind, Ottery Town) and Claire[...]

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    Campaign group, Save Our Sidmouth will host the rally and is inviting people from all over the district to join in. Anger at the influence East Devon Business Forum has wielded over planning decisions, including the local plan, is one of the reasons behind the march. Many residents are furious at plans for a 12 acre industrial estate at Sidford.  Plans to sell-off EDDC’s offices at Knowle and build over its parkland (planning application to be determined next month) is also creating a furore in the town. Exmouth residents feel very let down over EDDC councillors pushing the selling [...]

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    The motion, which was debated at last week’s full council meeting on 10 October, called on the government to provide early improvements to the railway line, including a passing loop near Broadclyst which would allow a half hourly service to Exeter for East Devon residents. Cllr Giles gave a colourful speech where he paid tribute to local councils efforts to get the work agreed.  He outlined how important the improvements were for the economy and for the convenience of local people.  Cllr Giles added that there were also significant environmental benefits. Following a short [...]

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    Prockter Land LLP is intending to submit a planning application on a large area of land between Strawberry Lane and Kings School. The public exhibition will be held from noon to 8pm at 10 Mill Street, on Friday (19 October). A public exhibition was held last week to display plans for 90 plus dwellings at the old factory site in Ottery St Mary. A public inquiry appeal for 130 dwellings next to Butts Road, on the eastern side of Ottery, will be heard next month, starting Tuesday 27 November, at Ottery’s Football Club.  Members of the public are welcome to attend and speak at the [...]

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    At last night’s full council meeting I had lodged a written question asking whether the council now intends to write to central government calling to redress the balance in national planning policy, so that the housing land supply consideration does not continue to eclipse virtually all other very valid planning considerations. The new emphasis on economic growth and housing land supply, has come as a result of the highly contested National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), published in March this year. The written answer to my question quoted from EDDC’s response to the NPPF [...]

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    During an item on awards for best kept villages, one councillor declared an interest in the Upottery award because he lived there, he said.  A valid declaration of interest?  I don’t think so. Another conservative councillor, however, took it a stage further.  He announced a declaration of interest in the Upottery best kept village award because he said he could see the village from his kitchen window. There was some laughter at this, but others may have seen the remarks as a lack of respect for accountability and transparency.

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    The minutes of the last overview and scrutiny meeting on 27 September, which were published on EDDC’s website yesterday lunchtime, contain a resolution that appears to bear no relation to what was actually agreed at the meeting. At last night’s full council meeting, several members of the public demanded that the inaccuracy was investigated and put right as a matter of urgency.  Barry Curwen of Sidmouth Chamber of Commerce, said that the chamber wished to put on record a formal objection to the accuracy of the minutes. Two further speakers - Tony Green (co-author of a paper [...]

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    It will be held on Tuesday 11 December, starting at 6pm, at EDDC’s offices, Knowle, Sidmouth. I am unclear why it is taking so long to start the series of meetings, but at least we have a date for our diaries. The press and public are welcome to attend and members of the public will be permitted to address the committee.

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    Sidmouth Independent News has pointed out that East Devon Business Forum’s (EDBF) meetings are listed on EDDC’s circular, The Knowledge, along with other council meetings. The bi-monthly forum meetings are shaded pink to denote that they are closed to the press and public.  The forum’s chairman, Cllr Graham Brown, has claimed that EDBF is transparent and independent. The information set out in the Knowledge would appear to contradict those claims. Link to Sidmouth Independent News is hereSidmouth Independent News

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    Around 50 Tipton residents turned up to a meeting on Monday evening, and left with questionnaires to complete, following viewing maps and hearing a presentation from planning policy manager, Matt Dickins. For more information click on the link below.  Questionnaires will be published AFTER the relevant public meetings, to ensure people have the information they need to make a decision. http://www.otterystmary-tc.gov.uk/Core/Ottery-St-Mary-Town-Council/Pages/Public_Consultations_1.aspx

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    It is a really important issue because it is the Government’s new planning policies and focus on economic growth in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), that has led to this unfortunate position. I will receive a written answer when I arrive at the meeting and then I have the opportunity of a supplementary question. My question is: “In the light of the recent Wainhomes planning appeal decision on land at Feniton, will EDDC now be calling on the Govt urging it to redress the balance in national planning policy, so that the five year housing land supply issue does not override [...]

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    Economy portfolio holder, Cllr Graham Godbeer will also say sorry to the council. The reason for the triple apology is for omitting to declare an interest in the East Devon Business Forum item at the last full council meeting in July, where I lodged a motion to withdraw its funding. Item 2 of the agenda, for Wednesday 10 October, states: “On behalf of himself, the Leader of the Council and the Portfolio Holder - Economy, the Chairman to state their retrospective Personal Interests in the East Devon Business Forum motion (minute 28 of Council meeting of 25 July 2012) under the new Code of[...]

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    Residents are invited to a meeting on Tuesday (16 October), which will include a display of sites, as well as a formal discussion with presentations about each piece of land and how they measure in terms of planning policy. Alfington is allocated five houses in EDDC’s Local Plan until 2026. The land submitted is: - to the west of Devon Mushroom Farm - to the north of Pattison Close - to the south west of the village (off Alfington Road) The meeting will be held at Alfington Village Hall. It will start at 6.30pm and finish at approximately 9pm. Photograph: The main route through [...]

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    The event, which will be held on Friday 19 October, will be the final chance for residents to have their say. East Devon District Council has requested that all feedback about preferred sites, must be with them by 30 November. Under East Devon District Council’s Local Plan, West Hill is allocated 35 dwellings until 2026 - a calculation based on a five per cent growth of dwellings inside its built-up area boundary. The meeting, which will be held in West Hill village hall starting at 6.30pm and continuing until approximately 9pm, will be run by Ottery St Mary Town Council.  The [...]

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    On Wednesday (3 October) residents turned up in force to view sites that have been put forward for development and invited to ask questions of councillors about the process. Last week I leafleted the village, to let them know of the event. I was planning to go but unfortunately caught a lurgy, so had to stay away. Aylesbeare is allocated five dwellings by East Devon District Council. Sites submitted include: - to the north of Oak Road, opposite the village hall - to the south of Oak Road and to the west of Barton Farm - to the west of the Aylesbeare Inn - south west of Bramblemead - next to [...]

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    At a meeting organised by Ottery St Mary Town Council, held at Tipton St John Community Hall, residents will view sites put forward by landowners, before completing questionnaires on which piece of land they would prefer to have Tipton’s allocation of 10 houses. The event is part of a district wide review of village built-up area boundaries, which is being carried out by parish and town councils. During the summer 15 dwellings on a hill designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, were approved. There will be plenty of information available to help residents select a site, including[...]

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    To Neil Parish, MP and Hugo Swire, MP             Dear Hugo and Neil WAINHOMES PLANNING APPEAL LAND AT FENITON We write to you with deep concern following the Planning Inspector’s decision of 25 September in which he allowed an appeal for 50 homes in Feniton. We will forward you the report separately. This decision, which was based on a new way of calculating housing land supply, as set out in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), is likely to have significant and worrying consequences for the East Devon countryside. You will probably be aware[...]

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    Some people claim that Exmouth is old fashioned and tired and needs ‘regeneration’. My view is that its 1950s feel is kitsch and part of its charm.  But now councillors on the all-conservative East Devon District cabinet have lobbed an extra large breezeblock into that charm. They have selected national chain hotel, Premier Inn as a preferred bidder, to build a cafe and four storey hotel, demolishing a Victorian hall that is cherished by Exmouth residents.  You only have to read the letters pages of the Exmouth Journal to get a feel for public opinion, which has been [...]

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    A task force is to investigate a controversial Westcountry business group, branded “a lobby for developers”. Critics of the East Devon Business Forum claim it has influenced council policy in order to secure planning permission to build in protected countryside. In a dossier handed to officials, they allege 16 of the most active members are involved in large-scale planning and development and point to “a rash” of planning applications approved since 2007. Conservative-run East Devon District Council has now agreed to set up a special committee to scrutinise the workings[...]

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