• Councillors refuse to object over fallout of Feniton appeal

    11th October 2012 | News | Claire
  • 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 consultation last year, which asked for a ‘suitable caveat to be inserted’ relating to the proposals on housing land supply taking precedence over all other planning considerations.

    The next bit of the answer to my question was a paragraph which can be summed up as saying that the leader of the council had no intention of lobbying the government on this issue because there was a ‘housing crisis’ and the council needed to respond to this.

    The chairman asked me whether I had a supplementary question and I made a short speech about the Feniton appeal decision and how many important issues that were ignored by the inspector.  I said that the entire district was now at risk from speculative planning applications.  I said that we were representatives of the people and they were asking for our help.  I repeated my question. 

    The leader at this point, seemed to answer an entirely different question as he claimed it was not possible to overturn the decision at Feniton.  The chief executive was brought into the discussion and he agreed that this would not be possible.  I quickly re-read my question in case it was ambiguous.  It was not. 

    I started to wave my hand in the air to clarify my question but the chairman moved the meeting swiftly on.  I decided that if my question had not been answered properly, it was not because I had not expressed myself clearly.  I lowered my hand.

    A group of Feniton Action Group residents were present to hear this very disappointing and rather inexplicable answer to my question. Earlier in the meeting, Jayne Blackmore, their spokesperson, addressed councillors, expressing anger over the appeal decision at Louvigny Close, which had ignored a large number of very important issues. 

    Mrs Blackmore also said that she was ‘appalled’ at Cllr Andrew Moulding’s comments in EDDC’s press release relating to the appeal decision.  In the press release Cllr Moulding had criticised objectors to development and indicated that the council would now review its planning policy, hinting that it would be relaxed.

    More information from Feniton Action Group here – Feniton Action Group

    Photograph:  Land next to Louvigny Close, Feniton, which is designated among highest agricultural quality in the country.