• East Devon villages under threat

    28th December 2011 | News | Claire
  • Four new policies in East Devon District Council’s Local Plan (currently out for consultation) are promoting the building of industrial units or workshops in, or next to, villages and smaller towns in the district.

    There are currently around 400 empty commercial units in the district.

    And two sets of consultants (Atkins and Roger Tym) hired by East Devon District Council have advised that existing plans for this kind of development, known as ‘employment land’ should be significantly reduced, as there is a large over-supply proposed. 

    Four new policies found their way into the Local Plan at the 11 October meeting of the Local Development Framework Panel. 

    It is understood that they were proposed by EDDC’s Economy Think Tank. 

    But no minutes of the meetings or agendas for the Economy Think Tank appear to have been produced, despite requests for discussions to be recorded to ensure transparency in policy making.

    I am pleased that some of the Local Plan has improved but there is still far too much development planned.

    This set of ‘employment’ policies could be very damaging to the character and unique nature of our rural settlements.  And I am uncomfortable with the idea of policy-making in private un-minuted meetings.

    Any industrial development is likely to grow over time, or possibly be converted into housing.

    Arguing against these policies at LDF Panel did not get me very far so I attempted to mitigate one or two of the most damaging aspects with mixed success.

    Now is the time for everyone who lives in a village to speak up.  This is vital if residents are concerned.  EDDC will only consider scrapping the policies if they hear a loud outcry.

    I have been told by planning experts that these proposals for villages are ‘unusual.’

    The policies of concern are E3, E6 and E7, on pages 204-206 of the Local Plan. 

    Policy E7 on P206 states that for every 10 dwellings to be built in or next to rural settlements, there should be employment space provided of not less than 10 percent of the net developable area.’

    Policy E8 allows for extension of an industrial estate once 80 per cent of it is occupied, which could be open to abuse – and be damaging to residents living in communities nearby.

    Cllr Wright added: “I really hope that people will take a look at the plan and give their view.” (link below).

    Local Plan

    Comments can be made at each section of the Local Plan or people can email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) 

    The deadline for comments is 31 January. 

    I will publish a full response to the Local Plan in the next week or so.