The housing numbers appear to have been moved around – away from the most vociferous communities to areas where there has been less objection, such as Ottery St Mary – and Cranbrook, which is as yet, still a building site.
And despite being advised by both Roger Tym consultants and Devon County Council, to slash industrial and commercial land by around half, the panel nevertheless voted through only a tiny reduction in the proposals – of around six or seven hectares.
The total amount of industrial/commercial land, including both developments at the ‘west end’ and across the rest of the district totals 224 hectares. EDDC is allocating 169 hectares to the’west end’ and 55 hectares for the rest of East Devon.
To allow for fewer houses elsewhere, Cranbrook is now scheduled to receive 6000 houses, with a very wrong proposal, in my view, to include in the strategic plan, an extension south of the A30 next to Rockbeare after 2026. I argued that this was scheduled for after the plan period ended so therefore, should not be included, particularly as Rockbeare could be affected.
An early planning application could well come forward as a result of this addition to the plan. The move also goes against previous assurances to Rockbeare Parish Council.
I argued strongly for an approach in line with the all the advice we have received from two sets of independent consultants, as well as Devon County Council, but was outvoted.
The approach relating to the large amount of industrial and commercial land was heavily influenced by landowners on the East Devon Business Forum. This issue was the focus of considerable disagreement at a previous panel meeting.
Devon County Council has warned EDDC, during its last Local Development Framework consultation, that its proposals for the large amount of industrial land could cause an inspector to find the document ‘unsound.’
If this happens, EDDC could find it hard to refuse any planning application it receives, as it will be without a strategic plan.
The revised Local Plan will be debated by the Development Management Committee on Friday 18 November, starting at 9am. Members of the public are welcome to attend – unfortunately, only 15 minutes speaking time total has been set aside for members of the public at this meeting.
The revised Local Plan will be available for public consultation at the beginning of December for eight weeks. Parish and town councils, will be key consultees. All comments from this next consultation will go forward to the planning inspector, who will review the document later in 2012.