• Clyst St Mary residents queue out of door at meeting to discuss threat to double the size of village

    7th January 2015 | News | Claire
  • Including planning applications on their way in, the village is facing a development onslaught of well over 400 houses, which would swamp the primary school and local health services, say local people.

    93 houses have already been approved on land adjacent to the village, which was the allocation for Clyst St Mary in East Devon District Council’s draft local plan.

    Sound familiar?

    Yes, like many other places Clyst St Mary is the latest community that seems to be attracting developers like moths to a candle flame.  Although it does seem to be under more pressure than any other community currently in East Devon that I am aware of, except perhaps Gittisham, which has unfortunately had 300 houses foisted on their parish. This development West of Hayne Lane will be as close to Honiton as Gittisham.

    The hamlet of Westclyst has probably grown by more than 800 per cent since 2010, when hundreds of houses were approved. More recently, hundreds more houses have been approved – on grade 1 agricultural land.

    Arriving late from Aylesbeare Parish Council, I was one of those unable to get into the school hall. But it was clear from hearing the discussions that residents, EDDC councillor Mike Howe, and the parish council are fighting back.  And at this evening’s meeting already a significant sum of money had been pledged by people who wanted to help with funding a planning consultant to object to the proposals.

    Cllr Howe informed people that EDDC’s pre-application advice to developers had been that the housing proposed adjacent to grade II listed mansion, Winslade House, would harm its setting.

    He also gave people the news that English Heritage had objected on that basis.

    A campaign group has been set up by concerned residents, with an excellent website here – http://saveclyststmary.org.uk/

    It was an odd feeling for me this evening – at Clyst St Mary Primary School and discussing the village that I grew up in.

    My parents moved from Exeter to Clyst St Mary when I was six and I attended the school until I was nine, but carried on living at Winslade Park until I was about 21.  It was a great place to grow up and play. I remember disappearing for hours on my bike with friends around the area and paddling in the stream near Winslade House.  I was even in the church choir for a while!

    I recognised a few familiar faces and it was good to go back, even if it was for a not very pleasant reason!

    As with Woodbury, and any other village facing major over-development, I am happy to help or share my experiences of fighting similar issues in my own ward, if that helps.

    Photograph:  Winslade House, grade II listed, which is under threat from development that English Heritage has objected to.