In one of the most cynical moves you could imagine, the developers, Welbeck Strategic Land, submitted the application to EDDC earlier this week, in what appears to be a suspiciously cunning attempt to sneak it in while everyone is in the throes of last minute Christmas preparations.

Cllr Susie Bond, the EDDC ward member, has, quite rightly, asked EDDC for a two week extension for public comments, which is usually just 21 days, from the day the application goes live.

The land in question is to the west of Hayne Lane and developers say that there would be around 40 per cent affordable housing. The access is proposed to be onto Hayne Lane.

Gittisham doesn’t have an allocation for housing as it doesn’t have a built up area boundary. The application, therefore, although it falls into my Devon County Council ward and Cllr Susie Bond’s EDDC ward, would actually count towards Honiton’s housing, if it was approved, or allowed on appeal.

It is a “reserve site” in EDDC’s local plan, which was supposed to be there in case no housing came forward. The very concept of “reserve sites” seem to me to be rather pointless at best and dangerous at worst, because why would any developer sit on their laurels and wait for the other applications on allocated sites come in first?

Especially dangerous in a climate where there is no five year housing supply, an out of date local plan and a set of national planning policies that are aggressively pro-growth.

Another major housing proposal for 147 houses on land designated an area of outstanding natural beauty at Honiton is already awaiting a decision.  This isn’t even a reserve site. Developers just took a fancy to those particular fields, despite their special protective designation.

No doubt both developers think that having live housing applications on the go while the EDDC local plan is being examined by the planning inspector (February), will give them an advantage.

We will see.

To comment on the application from Welbeck Strategic Land and view the documents, here is the code – 13/2744/OUT – which you will need to type into the planning section of EDDC’s website.

More at Cllr Susie Bond’s blog here – http://susiebond.wordpress.com/