• Another Knowle planning application error means further delay

    13th December 2012 | News | Claire
  • The move follows a number of amendments on the planning application to develop the Knowle and its gardens. 

    Last month the council announced that the application would be withdrawn from the December Development Management Committee, also due to an error on the economic impact assessment and its calculations on job losses from Sidmouth.

    According to the Save Our Sidmouth campaign group, whose member uncovered the errors, the correct figures reveal that the move will cause around 75 job losses – a significant change from the original claim of three job gains.

    EDDC’s press statement of today, is below:………………………..

    “A further inconsistency in the employment statistics relating to the potential move of EDDC from Sidmouth to Honiton has been found.

    This follows a further query from a local person who questioned the reliability of the data.

    The figure quoted in an Economic Impact Assessment report for the number of current employees of the Council who live in Honiton was calculated using different parameters. This skewed the number of potential job losses downwards by a small margin. This appears to have happened because the raw data for Sidmouth was based on Local Plan boundaries and the Honiton data on postcode areas, which did not map exactly onto the Local Plan boundary areas.

    The figure quoted for Honiton employees was 32, whereas the comparative number using the same parameters as for Sidmouth is in fact 21.

    The report is currently being amended and the further delay in producing the report is being used as an opportunity to double check the accuracy of all other data and assumptions made in the consultants’ report.

    There will now be another postponement of consideration of this outline planning application by the Development Management Committee (DMC), which had been moved from 4 December to 8 January. There will also be a new two-week consultation period on the revised Economic Impact report.

    It is now proposed to hold a special meeting of the DMC, probably in early February, at which the Knowle proposals will be the sole matter for discussion. The date of this meeting has not yet been set, but all interested parties will be notified of the new meeting in good time.

    Commenting on the latest delay, EDDC Deputy Chief Executive Richard Cohen said: “Whilst it is certainly embarrassing that our figures have again been subject to an error, the latest delay demonstates the council’s willingness to listen to those who are scrutinising our processes from outside, and the robustness of our Planning Service in insisting that the reports are completely accurate before taking them forward for determination”.

    The Save Our Sidmouth campaign group is now calling for an end to the plans to move offices from Sidmouth to Honiton, saying the project has descended into farce – link to the site here – http://www.saveoursidmouth.com