• EDDC may have five year housing supply after all

    12th November 2012 | News | Claire
  • Rewind to the last week of September and the news that the planning inspectorate had allowed an appeal for 50 dwellings at Feniton on high quality agricultural land, despite the village putting forward a favoured site as part of the Local Plan process.

    And despite a whole host of infrastructure problems such as sewage, flooding and local schools being full to bursting.

    Shortly after the decision, EDDC issued a press release, quoting portfolio-holder for strategic development, Cllr Andrew Moulding, who said the council would have to review planning policy, hinting that many more applications would be approved and warning residents that they mustn’t continue to object to large-scale applications.

    See previous blog HERE

    It was a national policy called the ‘five year housing land supply’ that was at fault.  All councils are required to demonstrate that they have a five year supply of land for housing and at the time of the Louvigny Close appeal, at Feniton, EDDC could not do this.

    But according to a report scheduled to be debated at next week’s Development Management Committee meeting – see page 102 HERE, EDDC has updated its land supply figures and is now in a position to demonstrate that a five year supply of housing land does exist in East Devon.

    Ironically, it is another large-scale application in Feniton that is the subject of the report.  An application for 32 dwellings at Acland Park – a stone’s throw from where 50 dwellings have been allowed on appeal at Louvigny Close. 

    The Acland Park application, in Cllr Graham Brown’s ward, is recommended by officers, for refusal, partly because of the new position relating to the five year land supply.

    Page 102 of the report states that Feniton is ‘almost unique within East Devon for the pressure that it has come under over the last 12-18 months from housing developers,’ which have all come in well in advance of the new Local Plan being finalised.

    Officers have been working to try and reduce the likelihood of Feniton receiving significant levels of development, due to the interest from developers.

    Feniton is allocated 35 dwellings in EDDC’s Local Plan to 2026.

    It has emerged that EDDC used figures from March 2011 to fight the Louvigny Close (Wainhomes) appeal decision in August.

    But after updating its figures EDDC can now demonstrate that it has a five year supply across the district, plus the required ‘20 per cent buffer’ penalty, as required by the pro-growth National Planning Policy Framework.

    Although could be very good news for Ottery residents who are about to do battle with Redrow Homes for an appeal against a refusal of 130 homes on land next to Butts Road (inquiry to start on 27 November), it is likely to be a bitter pill to swallow for residents of Feniton who will no doubt wonder whether the Wainhomes appeal decision may have turned out differently, if the five year supply figures were updated in time for the August appeal at Louvigny Close.

    Some residents may also wonder whether Cllr Moulding, who has responsibility for strategic planning, quick to imply criticism of residents, might have asked more questions of officers, especially in relation to EDDC’s preparedness for major appeal decisions, with significant potential implications.

    Attempts by Feniton residents – and by me – to encourage EDDC to write to central Govt requesting that the balance in planning policy be restored, fell on deaf ears at last month’s full council meeting, as leader, Cllr Diviani, insisted that there was a ‘housing crisis’ which EDDC must respond to.

    For more information about Feniton’s campaign to avoid being swamped by development view the community’s website HERE

    Photograph: Feniton in flood last year.