Councillors on the EDDC planning committee (development management committee) will make a decision on Tuesday (17 July) on whether they allocate a piece of land in the centre of Feniton, to include in the Local Plan. 

If the recommendation is approved Feniton will be the first village in East Devon go through the formal built-up area boundary review process, as part of the Local Plan.  Other villages (with built-up area boundaries) will have their boundaries reviewed (and amended if necessary) in the autumn.

Feniton, part of which I represent, has been under enormous pressure from major applications in the past year or so, with applications submitted for 120 houses, around 200 houses, 50 houses and 35 dwellings.

So far, all applications outside the built-up area boundary have been rejected.  However, an appeal against a refusal for 50 houses has been lodged by Wainhomes and will be defended by EDDC, starting on 7 August. 

The village is allocated 35 dwellings in the Local Plan. 

Planning officers hope that if they allocate land at Acland Park for 35 dwellings and a further piece of land between Fircroft and the railway, for three dwellings – it will give EDDC more ammunition to fight both the Wainhomes appeal and also fend off future speculative applications from developers.

Allocating the land for development in the Local Plan is not the same as granting permission for the planning application.  That will be brought forward for determination after the appeal decision is known.

At Feniton’s parish council meeting on Monday (9 July) chairman, Martyn Smith read out a letter from Simon Steele-Perkins of Strategic Land Partnerships (SLP) which has an interest in land opposite The Signals. 

Their application for 120 houses was refused by EDDC last December.

Cllr Graham Brown is the ward member for Feniton, but around half of this land falls into my ward and I made written and verbal representations against the application last year.

In an unexpected move Mr Steele-Perkins has declared that SLP will not appeal EDDC’s refusal but instead will join forces with EDDC and Feniton in fighting the Wainhomes appeal for 50 houses.

Feniton suffers from a long-standing flooding problem that saw people rescued from their lofts, and many others move out of their homes for months, in the devastating floods of 2008.  In the most recent bout of torrential rain last weekend, there were more flooding problems, although not as significant as in 2008.

In his letter Mr Steele-Perkins offers to contribute to a flood defence scheme. 

He also hints that SLP would assist with expanding sewage capacity, as well as being in a position to help the school expand, as SLP owns this land.

In addition, Mr Steele-Perkins states that SLP owns the sports and social club and would ensure that its facilities would be improved – should they be allowed to develop the land opposite The Signals.

Finally, Mr Steele-Perkins informs the parish council that SLP has also acquired the cricket pitch and there are ‘a number of different options’ for this land.

It was surprising to hear how much land SLP has managed to acquire in Feniton and one can’t help wondering what their long-term plans (or at least hopes) might be.

Chairman, Cllr Smith described the letter as ‘outrageous.’ 

Cllr Brown was also present and commented that it was ‘quite strange’ that a developer should be opposing another developer in this way.  He advised that the parish council should not respond to the letter. 

Cllr Smith confirmed that the parish council would not be replying to the letter.

The development management committee meeting where Feniton’s housing allocation will be debated is on Tuesday, 17 July, starting at 2pm.  It will be held in the council chamber at the Knowle.

Members of the public are welcome to attend and speak.