• Feniton does NOT need development to pay for flood defence

    13th February 2013 | News | Claire
  • Cllr Giles made the statement verbally and as part of his written report, at Feniton Parish Council’s meeting, which took place on Monday (11 February) evening.

    In the past month, it has been confirmed that virtually two thirds of the funding for the village’s flood defence scheme has been allocated, subject to match-funding.

    Cllr Giles comments come following many months of Feniton’s EDDC councillor, Graham Brown claiming that the only way Feniton can achieve a flood defence scheme is by building hundreds of extra houses to pay for it.

    Cllr Brown, a planning consultant and builder, was absent from Monday evening’s meeting and came in for some criticism from residents.  They were unhappy that he had not provided a report to the parish council after last week’s controversial development management committee meeting, where councillors agreed to take a more permissive approach towards development.

    Residents suggested that Feniton Parish Council minute that Cllr Brown be asked to attend the development management committee meeting where the Feniton applications would be determined, to fight Feniton’s corner against almost 200 extra houses in the village.

    Meanwhile pro-development resident, Francis Pyle, got into hot water claiming that the landowners who have put land for development for 120 houses next to Ottery Road, had changed .  This untrue claim prompted Christine and Colin Gibbins to get in touch to ask me if I would put the record straight on my blog.  This part of the field will not be developed, they wanted to make clear to residents.

    Residents living at houses on the edge of Feniton which frequently flood, were disappointed to hear from chairman, Martyn Smith, that there had been a “lack of co-operation” from the owners of the Escot Estate over a desperately needed piece of work, which will hopefully stop future flooding to their houses.  A straightforward piece of work needs to be carried out which involves moving a ditch.  To do this work a small piece of land is required behind the cottages. 

    One landowner has agreed for the work to be done and the funding for it is in place. The only obstacle is a simple agreement in principle for the work to be done, from the Escot Estate, which owns the remainder of the land in question.

    Feniton Parish Council Chairman, Martyn Smith reported on a tour of the village undertaken by Neil Parish MP on Friday (8 February), along with Cllr Brown and representatives from EDDC and the Environment Agency. 

    Cllr Smith said that Neil Parish was interested to see for himself the problems – it was noted that current farming practices were not to blame for flooding caused by run off – and it was reiterated that NO development should take place in Feniton until required infrastructure was put in place first.

    Roger Giles and I had been invited to attend this meeting by Feniton Parish Council (or at least the previously postponed one from January) but we were subsequently asked not to attend by Neil Parish’s office, on the basis that it would inappropriate for so many people to be there!

    Cllr Smith reported that EDDC engineer, Keith Steel, was taking forward plans for the flood defence scheme as quickly as possible.

    However, Cllr Smith also confirmed that Cllr Brown had claimed at Friday’s meeting that development was needed to pay for flood defence scheme funding!

    The Feniton Action Group, particularly Jayne Blackmore and Susie Bond, were singled out for praise by Cllr Smith.  He said they were “absolutely amazing” for their work on the flood warden scheme.

    See more about Feniton’s battle against over-development here – http://theffff.wordpress.com/

    Photograph:  The (very wet) field that Wainhomes has expressed an interest in building a further 100 homes in.  No planning application has been submitted yet, however.  Thanks to a Feniton resident for the picture, which illustrate the problems well.