• When planning minister Mr Boles has been asked about this, he claims the answer is to build more! The story from the BBC is below and here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-21979039 The tax system should put countryside second homes beyond the reach of more people, according to the head of the Campaign to Protect Rural England. Ex-poet laureate Sir Andrew Motion said “townies in the countryside” were “gutting” rural communities. The CPRE president did not call for a ban on second home ownership, but told the Times he would make them “very expensive” through [...]

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    It’s called Knowing East Devon and is full of statistical information relating to East Devon and its population. One of the statistics relates to East Devon being the second highest district in Devon for the number of holiday homes. Page 171 has some really interesting information about rates of employment and our young people.  The report states:  “The proportion of the working age population who are in long-term unemployment in East Devon is very low, with the district ranking in the bottom 20% of districts nationally. In East Devon, 18.96% of people who are unemployed [...]

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    Proposed by Cllr Roger Giles and seconded by me, the overview and scrutiny committee agreed to: 1. Make representations to the Local Government Association relating to concerns of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) timetable being too fast for plans needing to be compliant with the NPPF 2. Endorsing in policy, the disaggregation approach (splitting the district in half), which was a policy that previously protected the majority of East Devon from urban sprawl.  This had been an approach used by the council to separate the Cranbrook/principal urban area, from the rest of the [...]

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    After a very long and protracted debate, EDDC’s overview and scrutiny committee agreed by a narrow margin, that its sub-committee should be allowed to look into EDBF’s influence on planning. An amendment by Cllr Tony Howard to suspend the committee until the police investigation was over, was voted down. It follows months of wrangling and rows over whether or not it was appropriate for the EDBF scrutiny committee to look at the influence of EDBF on the planning function at EDDC. The chief executive, Mark Williams, had previously maintained that it may be unlawful for the committee [...]

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    This is significant because although the south west regional spatial strategy (RSS) was never adopted, it proposed 17,100 houses for East Devon, a massive hike from the 11,400 RSS housing target for the district, that was published just two years previously in 2006. There has been continuing rows about using this evidence base with which to pin our new housing levels in the new draft EDDC Local Plan.  Planning inspectors have said that in the absence of new data, the RSS data is the most up-to-date. But this negates the 2011 census data, which appears show evidence of a growth more in [...]

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    At 2pm, at Knowle, Sidmouth, EDDC offices, members of EDDC’s development management committee will sit down and determine the two of the three major Feniton applications, currently on the table. These are for 32 houses on land next to Acland Park and secondly, for 59 houses (reduced from 120 houses) on land west of Ottery Road.  Please make every effort to be there, if you are a Feniton resident.

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    “Scaring the Living Daylights out of People” covers three main subject areas, including exploring the tactics of companies who want to demolish people’s homes to build lucrative new developments, conflicts of interest in East Devon and the lobbying practices used by supermarkets that want planning permission to build new stores. The East Devon chapter is entitled “the local mafia” and outlines a series of controversial planning decisions.  It quotes environmental lawyer, Charlie Hopkins extensively, who refers to “the wild west” and says that if [...]

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    This time the field in question is adjacent to the Wainhomes appeal site, where 50 houses were allowed by a planning inspector last September. Wainhomes have now applied to build 83 houses, which, if approved, would link up with Green Lane. It would appear to me that the more applications that are approved, the more applications will be submitted. I hope next week’s development management committee listen carefully to what Feniton residents have to say, prior to the their deliberations over applications for 59 houses on Camp Field and 32 houses at Acland Park. The planning code for this [...]

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    It’s not often you stumble across a 20,000-year-old mammoth tooth while carrying out a routine task at work, but that’s exactly what happened to Environment Agency officer Simon McHugh. Simon was checking riverbank erosion near Newton Poppleford in East Devon when he noticed the massive molar sitting on the bed of the River Otter. Experts at London’s Natural History Museum have confirmed the unusual find as a mammoth tooth dating from the last Ice Age. The owner of the land where it was found has agreed to donate the tooth to the Royal Albert Memorial Museum in Exeter. But before it can[...]

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    Hundreds of people took to the streets in a “save our countryside” protest against controversial government plans to relax planning laws. More than 250 people gathered in the East Devon village of Feniton on Saturday to express their fears over the impact on rural areas of the new national planning policy framework coming into force this week. Campaigners say the thousands of new homes planned in the district would destroy vast swathes of the countryside and overwhelm numerous local communities. “Feniton epitomises all that is wrong with government rules on planning,” said Claire [...]

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    http://www.midweekherald.co.uk/news/feniton_march_1_1990908?id=14&storyId=1.1990909.1364219361

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    Fewer than seven per cent of councils have adopted plans that have been judged by inspectors to fully comply with the government’s National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) ahead of the deadline to get plans up to date this week. The government gave local authorities 12 months to bring adopted local plans in line with the NPPF when it published the framework last March. Under the transitional arrangements, councils with local plans adopted since 2004 were told that they could continue to give full weight to relevant policies “even if there is a limited degree of conflict” [...]

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    Members of the East Devon Business Forum have decided not to disband the group. Roy Stuart, vice chairman of the forum called for members to decide at its meeting, held on Wednesday, March 20, whether to disband the group or continue with an amended constitution after the chief executive of East Devon District Council, Mark Williams ruled that the Local Authority would no longer provide financial or officer support to the group. The forum was set up to “improve communication” between businesses and the district council, to meet and agree, “so far as possible”, a common [...]

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    Reforms that come into force this week have already led to 25,000 extra homes being given planning permission in the past year. Since the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) was first published last March, the number of homes granted approval in England has risen by a quarter on the previous year, figures show. Experts warned communities that the number would rise even more once the NPPF comes into force tomorrow. Figures obtained by The Telegraph show that since the changes were published, the number of homes being granted planning permission has jumped by a quarter in England on the [...]

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    Great poem at the end! Here’s the link - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xyqPynEpDgI

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    Judging from the very informative campaign website, it appears to aim to bring together campaign groups from across the country, who are battling against inappropriate developments in their area.  Save Our Sidmouth features on their list of action groups! I have a feeling that Nick Boles, George Osborne et al, are about to get very bad headaches .... To sign the No.10 e petition, click here - http://www.whosehomeisit.co.uk

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    David Cameron and George Osborne face a divisive battle with Conservative town halls over their £15bn plan to fuel a housebuilding boom after a new “nimby index” revealed that eight out of 10 Tory councillors believe their areas are already overdeveloped or fine the way they are. In the wake of the chancellor’s budget announcements aimed at boosting housebuilding, a poll by ComRes revealed that only a quarter of councillors from all parties believe their local areas are underdeveloped, while 87% of the public can be classed as nimbys. The extent of “not in my back [...]

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    http://www.itv.com/news/westcountry/

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    Most wearing some form of funereal gear, they gave a clear message to the government that they had no intention of putting up with ministers plans to wreak havoc on the countryside, unnecessarily destroying vast swathes of beautiful green fields and wildlife. And amid much cheering and applauding, Fight for Feniton’s Future campaigner, Susie Bond, announced that she was going to stand for the Feniton and Buckerell seat in the forthcoming EDDC by-election, on 2 May. Campaigners chanted her name and shouted their support for Susie, as she gave her speech.  She finished by [...]

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    Dear Commissioner We have recently learned that the Devon and Cornwall force has decided not to enforce 20 mph limits across the two counties and that Community Speed Watch teams are not permitted to operate in these zones. The West Hill Residents Association campaigned to secure the 20 mph zone to protect our residents in an area where there are hardly any footways. The whole of the centre of the village is now within a 20 mph zone. The effect of the new policy is to remove speed enforcement in the most vulnerable part of the village which will now be less well policed than the remainder, a [...]

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    A by-election for EDDC’s vacant Feniton and Buckerell seat – if one is required – will be held on Thursday 2 May 2013, at the same time as Devon County Council’s elections. The only reason for an election not being held at Feniton would be if there was only one person nominated, in which case that person would be co-opted to the seat. The potential by-election follows the recent resignation of Graham Brown from East Devon District Council, and holding it at the same time as the County elections would mean taxpayers won’t bear the cost of a separate poll. A Notice of Election will [...]

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    DEVON & Cornwall Police is looking into the issue surrounding an East Devon District Councillor who was filmed by a national newspaper apparently suggesting he could influence the planning process. Former Councillor Graham Brown, who represented the Feniton and Buckerell Ward, has since resigned from the Council but denies any wrongdoing. The Council’s Monitoring Officer contacted Police Headquarters at Middlemoor shortly after the matter was reported in the Daily Telegraph and was advised that the issue should be reported direct to Action Fraud, an agency appointed by the Home Office to[...]

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    The Daily Telegraph story is below and here - http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/9947031/Wealthy-homeowners-could-use-state-backed-loans-to-buy-second-homes.html ............................................................................................................................. George Osborne’s plans to underwrite the mortgages of hundreds of thousands of home buyers are mired in confusion after it emerged the scheme could help well-off people to buy second homes. The multi-billion pound scheme to put what ministers have called “rocket boosters” under the housing market [...]

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    Councillors will be asking questions about the five year land supply issue and deciding on whether the East Devon Business Forum scrutiny committee should be able to discuss planning…... The meeting starts at 6.30pm and members of the public will be able to speak for the first 15 minutes of the meeting, although the chair can extend this time, if he feels it is appropriate. The link is below: http://www.eastdevon.gov.uk/os_agenda_280313_combined.pdf

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    Property developers have been privately promised that planning laws will be liberalised again within weeks to allow them to begin a house-building boom backed by this week’s Budget. Nick Boles, the planning minister, attended a meeting with some of the country’s biggest property developers hours after George Osborne’s speech on Wednesday in which he told them he was prepared for an acrimonious battle with countryside campaigners. The Telegraph has obtained a recording of the meeting in which Mr Boles discloses that he is poised to axe the planning permission requirement for many [...]

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    People are invited to meet at Louvigny Close, Feniton by 11am, before setting off towards Camp Field, where 59 houses (and possibly many more) houses are set for approval on Tuesday 2 April. Marchers will give a clear message to the government that it must restore the balance in national planning policy.  They will also call on the planning minister, Nick Boles, to defer the “Black Wednesday” (27 March) deadline, after which councils who have out-of-date Local Plans will find it hard to reject almost any planning application. Parking is limited at Feniton so car sharing will [...]

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    The forecast is that the weather will improve by late Friday… and in time for the Feniton protest march. Feniton residents should be on alert until late Friday, just in case…. The link to the Environment Agency website is here - http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/homeandleisure/floods/34681.aspx?area=113WABTW08&page=2&type=Region&term=Southwest

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    The agenda is published with the applications listed, despite repeated pleas from Feniton Parish Council, myself, Cllr Roger Giles and campaign group, Fight for Feniton’s Future. Feniton’s MP, Neil Parish, also wrote to EDDC’s chief executive, Mark Williams late yesterday, following a letter sent by the above people, to Eric Pickles, secretary of state for communities and local government (DCLG). Earlier, Mr Williams, indicated that EDDC was in discussions with the DCLG about the issue.  The publication of the agenda with the Feniton applications listed, would appear to [...]

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    The link is here and story below: - http://www.thisisexeter.co.uk/Q-Graham-Brown-pressure-great-felt-right-thing/story-18471645-detail/story.html#axzz2O9xelRGv Q How do you defend the comments you made to the undercover reporters? A The way they went about this wasn’t nice. They came to my farm, had a cup of tea and talked to me about rich European industrials who wanted to invest in East Devon. I was speaking to them as a planning consultant and was trying to beef-up my business, not as a councillor. They led me all the time asking why they should employ me, to which I answered, [...]

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    The Feniton by-election is to take place on Thursday 2 May - the same day as the Devon County Council elections. Here’s the timeline of the Cuckoo-in-the-Nest/Suspected-Tory-Charm-Offensive-Plot-Prior to Feniton-By-Election: - Thursday 14 March - Cllr Graham Brown, Feniton and Buckerell Ward member resigns from EDDC, following a Daily Telegraph undercover sting operation - Sunday 17 March - I email EDDC chief executive, Mark Williams, copying in Feniton Parish Council chairman, Martyn Smith, offering to stand in as Feniton ward member until a new councillor is elected on 2 May.  As [...]

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    The decisions are due to be determined on 2 April at EDDC’s development management committee. Mr Parish’s letter declares that any planning decision, taken in the current climate of uncertainty regarding the possible influences on development of Feniton’s former councillor, Graham Brown, could be “unsafe.” It comes hours after myself, Cllr Roger Giles, chair of Feniton Parish Council and chair of Fight for Feniton’s Future, sent a letter to Eric Pickles, asking him to intervene in the issue and urge EDDC to suspend the forthcoming planning decisions for [...]

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    In what sounded more like a threat than an announcement in today’s budget, he said:  “Shale gas is part of the future and we will make it happen!” Much of the UK, including parts of eastern Devon has been licensed by the government for the controversial practice of fracking to extract gas trapped inside underground rock. In America, campaigners have described the process as environmentally devastating, turning green fields into dirty noisy industrial plants, with reports of water contamination, as aquifers are damaged.  Many believe that the economics of shale gas[...]

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    Councillors will decide whether the East Devon Business Forum (EDBF) scrutiny committee should have planning within its remit, following ongoing anger about the group being advised by EDDC chief executive that it cannot discuss the subject because of the possibility of unlawfulness. At last week’s EDBF scrutiny committee, many members of the public challenged Mark Williams, chief executive on his advice, but he stuck to his guns. The other contentious subject up for discussion at the meeting is the five year housing land supply issue.  A three page report is published with the [...]

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    A Tory council branded a “banana republic” by critics has severed links with the controversial business group led by under-investigation “councillor for hire” Graham Brown. East Devon District Council has cut its £5,200 annual grant to the East Devon Business Forum, which is to consider whether to disband at a meeting tomorrow. Mr Brown has been referred by the council to a police fraud hotline over his claimed access to top officials and ability to win planning permission. The forum he once led remains the subject of a task force investigation after alleged links of [...]

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    Please visit the page and “like” it, and write a message if you have a moment, they will really appreciate it! The link is here - http://www.facebook.com/eastdevoncyclepath

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    Dear Mr Pickles (open letter, which will be sent to the media) I am sure that you will be aware of last Monday’s (11 March) Daily Telegraph story – ‘Councillors For Hire’, that involved undercover journalists exposing several councillors who are apparently using their positions to gain planning approvals for clients. One of the councillors was the ward member for Feniton and Buckerell, Graham Brown, who has since resigned and East Devon District Council (EDDC) has referred the matter to the police under the Bribery Act 2010. Mr Brown runs a planning consultancy and a building [...]

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    Police are continuing to warn residents in Ottery and West Hill about securing sheds and outbuildings after 16 burglaries in the area. Officers said offenders have forced locks and taken items including gardening and building tools, vehicle parts, bicycles and fuel. A spokesman for Devon and Cornwall Police said Ottery St Mary, Whimple, West Hill, Woodbury and Lympstone have been targeted in the recent spate of offences. PC Rob Poole said: “I would request members of the public who live in rural and semi-rural locations to check their sheds and outbuildings regularly for any sign of [...]

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    The hotel closed several years ago and in 2009 (I believe), there was an application approved to convert the buildings into a care home.  But this never came to fruition and now the owners are applying for residential use instead. While I think everyone in Ottery would like to see the old buildings rescued from dereliction there is a sting in the tail with this application. Some distance from the town’s built-up area boundary, any approved change of use to residential, could jeopardise the land between the built-up boundary and the old hotel itself, making it vulnerable to housing [...]

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    http://www.cpre.org.uk/media-centre/latest-news-releases/item/3264-nppf-verdict-less-local-control-more-greenfield-development

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    A prominent 75-year-old political activist has accused East Devon’s Conservative leadership of trying to stifle free speech after they suspended her membership. Janet T Sawyer, of Hamilton Lane, a former town council candidate and member of the Conservative party for 40 years, has been accused of making “derogatory” comments about the Conservative Party at a public meeting. Lucille Baker, the East Devon Conservatives’ agent, wrote to Miss Sawyer following “complaints” from party members after the January 9 meeting of the Exmouth Residents’ and Traders’ Association (ERATA). All [...]

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    http://sidmouthindependentnews.wordpress.com/2013/03/16/letter-to-east-devon-business-forum/

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    Conservative MP, George Eustice, insulted half the councils in the south west.  I think he said:  “We can’t keep treating them like children…” referring to them not having up-to-date Local Plans.  Of course around one half of councils in England will not have up-to-date Local Plans, but he didn’t mention that.  Surely, if one half of all councils in England don’t have up-to-date Local Plans, then something is wrong with the system?  Before the NPPF - and the 27 March deadline, councils saved their out-of-date policies in their [...]

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    I wanted to put on record my own thoughts about the planning department staff, as well as the planning policy team. Although we don’t always agree (and often completely disagree!) I have a lot of respect for the planning teams that I work with at EDDC.  It is a tough job, you please no one and when something like this blows up there are many who suspect you might be on the take. If you try and leave to make a new life, you might be seen as tainted goods, thanks to Mr Brown. I have found the planning officers and planning policy team, nothing but helpful and polite at EDDC, often [...]

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    You will be able to see a map of the proposed routes, complete with photographs. Our campaign group, chaired by King’s School teacher, Jo Elliott, met last night and heard from another cycleway campaign group in Dorset, who have managed to raise a considerable amount of money and create a significant part of their cycleway. Our project will be slightly different because it is in Devon County Council’s strategic plan, which is promising.  The trail is on the list for being achieved some time after 2015. Discussions have taken place between a member of the Otter Trail campaign [...]

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    Myself and Roger Giles have been interviewed, as well as John Withrington from Fight for Feniton’s Future.  I believe the BBC also interviewed representatives from the Campaign To Protect Rural England. I think the programme starts at around 11am.

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    AN East Devon Tory councillor who resigned his seat after he was secretly caught on camera boasting how he could secure planning permission, has now resigned as the chairman of the East Devon Business Forum. Former Conservative councillor for Feniton and Buckerell, Graham Brown, who owns planning consultancy firm Greygreen Planning, was secretly filmed by undercover reporters who were examining how councillors across the country are offering themselves for hire to property developers. Despite the potential for a conflict of interest, it is not illegal for councillors to work as paid [...]

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    On Saturday 23 March, starting at 11am, there will hopefully be hundreds of people ready to march through Feniton, starting at the appeal site at Louvigny Close, and ending up at Camp Field, where Strategic Land Partnerships wants to build 120 houses. Organised jointly by the Fight for Feniton’s Future group, and the newly formed East Devon Alliance, there are hopes that people will use the opportunity to dress up!  Ideas such as swag bags, eye masks, stripy clothing, painted brown noses or funereal gear to mark the countdown to Black Wednesday (27 March) when the National Planning[...]

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    The Black Book

    15 Mar 2013 | News

    See Sidmouth Independent News for more - http://sidmouthindependentnews.wordpress.com/2013/03/14/black-book-register/

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    See here - http://www.eastdevon.gov.uk/the_knowledge_150313_issue_42.pdf

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    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/greenpolitics/planning/9929092/Planning-investigation-councillor-faces-police-investigation.html

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