• Proposals for industrial units in East Devon villages

    2nd November 2011 | News | Claire
  • The reason I am concerned is that the new policies are loosely defined and are likely to erode village built up area boundaries as they allow for commercial units to be built outside boundaries.  The plan also proposes a flexible approach for development outside built-up area boundaries.

    There need be no justification given for such planning applications and my proposal at the final Local Development Framework Panel meeting on 1 November, for policies to state that such planning applications should require community support, was rejected.

    The reason given for this move is to allow people to ‘work where they live’ but it goes against the advice of EDDC’s own consultants, Roger Tym, drafted in to examine the strategic plan after it was widely rejected last year. 

    It is also contrary to advice from Devon County Council which has advised there is an over-provision of ‘employment’ land – already almost double what is recommended for the district. 

    One of the highly dubious policies REQUIRES units to be built for every 10 homes in villages.  I am incredulous that anyone should think that this is a good idea! At Tuesday’s meeting I described this policy as ‘crazy overprovision.’ And ‘totally inappropriate.’

    The new policies do not take into account empty commercial units.  Across East Devon there are over 400.

    This cohort of around five ‘employment’ policies appear to have originated from EDDC’s Economy ‘think tank.’  This think tank does not keep agendas or record notes of its meetings, which I believe is wrong, particularly in view of the highly questionable proposals it has put forward and which have now been voted through by the majority of the LDF Panel.

    I had hoped that the practice of secret policy making had been scrapped with the publication of the previously secret LDF Panel minutes and the new commitment by EDDC to hold LDF Panel meetings with the press and public present.

    I was surprised that the panel voted through the deletion of the ‘bad neighbour uses’ policy – which protects residents from noisy, smelly or dirty businesses from starting up near them.  It was argued that this was covered elsewhere in guidance.  I am investigating exactly how other policies may protect residents. 

    The revised Local Plan will be available for public consultation at the beginning of December for eight weeks.  Disappointingly close to Christmas, which is likely to give a poor response rate.

    All comments from this consultation will go forward to the planning inspector, who will review the document later in 2012.

    I urge you to read it and comment, if you are concerned about these proposals.

    The planning inspector will examine the Local Plan with the press and public present and residents will be able to speak at the proceedings.