• Dorset County Council: ‘Serious concerns’ over industrial land

    16th August 2012 | News | Claire
  • In a response to EDDC’s Local Plan consultation in January this year, Dorset County Council welcomes EDDC’s enthusiasm for economic growth but says it has ‘serious concerns’ about the sustainability of employment proposals in the Local Plan.

    Gill Smith, senior planning officer, says:  “East Devon District Council’s positive response to the need for economic development is to be welcomed, but we have some serious concerns regarding the sustainability of the employment proposals in the draft plan.

    Ms Smith adds:  “We have a particular concern that employment land provision at 180 hectares, so far exceeds the level indicated by the former strategic policy (about 100 ha for East Devon
    as a whole) and the recommendations of the recent study by Roger Tym and Partners.

    Quoting directly from Roger Tym and Partners Housing and Employment Study 2011 (a quote I have used myself recently) Ms Smith says:  “The Housing and Employment Study goes on to state that although the recommended total (32Ha) may be significantly less than previous allocations, there will also be churn in the existing space which is not included in this figure.

    “Also that adding further supply by allocating too much land may only depress values further and undermine market confidence.”

    The revelations of Gill Smith of Dorset County Council will cast further doubt on EDDC’s proposals for so-called ‘employment land’ in its draft Local Plan, which appear to be based solely on a report undertaken by a group of landowner/developers on East Devon Business Forum (EDBF).  The EDBF report recommended significantly higher levels of development than two independent reports, commissioned by EDDC.

    Further comments by Ms Smith are below:

    The proposals appear to disregard the evidence provided in the “Housing and Employment Study” by R Tym and Partners regarding the need for employment land (B use space) in East Devon District.

    • The heavy concentration of employment related development (around 85ha) in the “West End” of East Devon seems to be largely unrelated to the needs of the existing population, or of the proposed new town of Cranbrook.

    • The reliance placed on inward investment requires more substantial justification.  Reference is made to mobile projects of a science based or “high tech” nature; such projects are always few in number, much sought after by local communities throughout the UK and abroad, and never more so than during a recession

    • There must be doubt as to the adequacy of existing or proposed infrastructure to support such a scale of development, particularly transport links between East Devon and West Dorset. The A35 between Bridport and Lyme Regis is already subject to significant summertime delays and the addition of more traffic demand will only serve to exacerbate
    these issues.