• After four years of battling Sidford industrial estate is struck from Local Plan

    26th March 2015 | News | Claire
  • The move took place at today’s extraordinary full council meeting to discuss revisions to the local plan.

    I blasted the council for opting YET AGAIN for unevidenced and huge levels of growth that are contrary to consultants recommendations.

    How many consultants have to tell EDDC that the right way forward is low growth before they actually listen?  The answer is they never will listen. They (who I am not entirely sure) wants big big levels of development in East Devon – and so shall it be.

    That is, until the planning inspector takes a look at it and wonders what on earth is going on.

    A press release was issued by EDDC earlier this month which contained a grossly untrue statement about the planning inspector recommending the levels of growth that EDDC have opted for.

    The planning inspector made no such recommendation.  This was a disgraceful attempt to try and fool the public into believing that EDDC is doing the will of the planning inspector, who threw out the draft local plan last year.

    See here for my blog earlier this week on what EDDC has done …. http://www.claire-wright.org/index.php/post/eddc_proposes_highest_housing_levels_possible_for_district 

    Frankly, the council has sold the western end of the district off to the highest bidder. Villages like Clyst Honiton, Rockbeare and Blackhorse are set to be absolutely swamped in urban sprawl.

    The council promised Rockbeare that it would be protected by a green wedge. If you saw the area that Cranbrook is set to expand now, massively south of the old A30, you would be shocked. Rockbeare is set to be lost amid bricks and concrete.

    Whimple was supposed to have a green wedge to protect it from Cranbrook.

    Not any more.

    Whimple’s green wedge is proposed to have a great chunk eaten out of it as Cranbrook also sprawls to the east.

    Given that councillors have never had the chance to question the consultants I moved an amendment that both sets of consultants are invited to the next overview and scrutiny committee meeting.

    This amendment was argued against by the chief executive, who for some reason decided to mention my “parliamentary ambitions.” 

    It was voted down mainly by the conservative group.

    My second amendment proposed an extension of the consultation period by two weeks, making a total of an eight week consultation period. This proposal was carried, despite some senior conservatives arguing against it.

    Interestingly, I informed the council that Mid Devon District Council (which has been working with EDDC on this) has opted for a low growth scenario for its district. This is because Mid Devon councillors did not wish to concrete over any more of the countryside than they had to.

    So why has EDDC opted for such a high growth level?(it is impossible to even match the levels to any figures in the reports!)

    The chief executive said it was because East Devon is a “growth area.”

    But I replied, the consultants knew this before they drafted their report didn’t they.

    Yet they still recommended a preferred approach of significantly lower development, that is also in line with government growth projections.

    Why oh why is EDDC doing this?

    The Local Plan, with some minor amendments, was voted through by the majority of councillors.

    Consultation for eight weeks will start next month.