Agenda and minutes

virtual consultative meeting, Strategic Planning Committee - Tuesday, 12th July, 2022 10.00 am

Venue: Online via the zoom app

Contact: Wendy Harris  01395 517542; email


No. Item


Public speaking

Information on public speaking is available online



Mr Andrew Roberts spoke on behalf of the North East Exmouth Residents Group about the HELAA assessments made to the six sites in North East Exmouth (Exmo 04 & 12 and Lymp 09, 10, 14 & 15), which had been presented to Strategic Planning Committee on 3 May 2022. 


He drew Members attention that several of the sites failed to meet one of the suitability tests needed to move to stage B, namely “is the site an unacceptable distance from a reasonable range of services and facilities”.  He advised that sites should be within 1,600 metres (one mile) from four services or more and although the HELAA assessments concluded that all six sites met the criteria he believed that four of the sites had less than four or more services and the other two only just met the criteria.  He asked for evidence in respect of the distances of the sites to services and facilities and suggested that if these distances were incorrect they should be amended on the site assessment documentation. 


In response Mr Freeman, Service Lead – Planning Strategy and Development Management advised that the work undertaken on the HELAA assessments was based on computer generated distances from the edges of the sites rather than the centre as referred to.  He gave reassurance that more detailed site assessments work was ongoing and would be brought back to Committee at a future meeting.  He also advised that the HELAA report was only a draft and that too was undergoing further work in relation to the additional sites that had come forward in the call for sites which would be brought back to Committee in October 2022.


Councillor Geoff Jung, Ward Member for Lympstone and Woodbury agreed with most of the points raised by Mr Roberts and supported the resident’s concerns.


Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 201 KB


Members accepted the minutes of the consultative Strategic Planning Committee on 7 June 2022.


Declarations of interest

Guidance is available online to Councillors and co-opted members on making declarations of interest


There were no declarations of interests.


Matters of urgency

Information on matters of urgency is available online



There were no matters of urgency.


Confidential/exempt item(s)

To agree any items to be dealt with after the public (including the Press) have been excluded. Thereare no itemswhich officersrecommendshould be dealtwithin thisway.



There were no confidential/exempt items.


East Devon Local Plan - Update on timetable for production pdf icon PDF 319 KB

Additional documents:


The Committee considered a report from the Service Lead – Planning Strategy and Development Management that updated Members on the proposed timetable for the production of the local plan to bring forward site assessment work for the six main town’s sites to Committee on 9 August, followed by the smaller towns and villages in tiers 3 and 4 on 6 September 2022, with the remainder of the tiers alongside the approval for public consultation of the Local Plan on 4 October 2022.   He advised that taking this approach would avoid a heavy workload for Members and would see the work spread over a number of meetings rather than a single one.


He referred to Section 3 of the report that detailed key aspects from the assessment of development sites and how sites would be assessed.  He also drew Members’ attention to a number of challenges raised from the revised timetable including the workload of Committee Members over the coming months and whether to fit in an opportunity for further presentations from site promoters and developers that Committee agreed on 3 May 2022.


The Service Lead – Planning Strategy and Development Management sought endorsement of the proposed timetable and asked Members’ to consider the following questions detailed in Section 6:


a)    Does Committee want to extend the invitation to make presentations to all agents and land owners as assessed by officers and in consultation with the Chair and Vice Chair of Strategic Planning Committee that are promoting land for development at the towns?

b)    Do Committee wish to hear presentations at the same Committee meeting at which officer site assessments are heard?

c)    Are Committee happy to have town based presentations at extra Committee meetings in August?

d)    Would Committee wish to have a series of meetings where they consider officer assessment on one or two towns only and then agents/landowners presentation for sites at those towns at the same meeting?


Members’ comments included:

·         Lympstone residents did not favour any further development;

·         Woodbury residents did accept the need to contribute to development but recognised a balance between development and protecting the countryside;

·         Reference was made to the favoured approach in Section 4 and the need to allow adequate time to go through each town in detail  to ensure the public were aware that detailed consideration had been given;

·         Support expressed for the landowners/agents to present their sites as this would help understand what is being proposed which would allow Members to give guidance to officers;

·         Clarification was sought on potential dates in August/September especially as this was a difficult time for Members going on holiday.  The Service Lead – Planning Strategy and Development Management advised that some of the sites could be presented at the meeting on 9 August which Members should already have diarised and then a number of further meetings could be set up in September.

·         The developer presentations are not fundamental to getting our Local Plan ready to go out to consultation especially as the timetable is tight  ...  view the full minutes text for item 14.


Beer Quarry and Caves Special Area of Conservation (SAC) Guidance Document pdf icon PDF 310 KB

Additional documents:


The Committee considered the guidance document produced by Natural England, East Devon AONB Team and Devon County Council which sought to provide Members with a detailed understanding of how Habitats Regulations Assessments (HRA) should be carried out for the Beer Quarry and Caves Special Area of Conservation (BQCSAC) which were home to a number of important rare species of bats.


The Service Lead – Planning Strategy and Development Management took the opportunity of introducing Rory Chanter, District Ecologist, who would be happy to answer questions.


The Committee were supportive of the document and understood the importance that work should be done correctly and in accordance with the legislation under the Habitat Regulations Assessments.


Members’ comments included:

·         This is a wonderful document and good to see forward thinking and forward planning;

·         This document highlights the importance of Tree Preservation Orders and protecting the ancient oak and ash tree woodland areas that the Bechstien Bats and Barberstien Bats prefer;  In response the District Ecologist advised that the Woodland Trust were trying to lobby for better policy protection of trees and woodland outside of the planning process;

·         Would like to see clear guidance for all applicants so that everyone is clear on what surveys need to be done to help protect the rare species of bats across the district;

·         Reference was made to the map that detailed the Bechstein’s Bats Consultation Zones and the identified pinch points.  It is important to raise awareness that any sort of development  may be enough to make those habitats inaccessible;  In response the District Ecologist agreed the pinch points were important and would be taken into consideration during the allocation process of the new Local Plan;

·         In response to Members comments the Service Lead – Planning Strategy and Development Management advised that a specific policy could be added to the new Local Plan to protect the Beer Quarry and Caves.



That Beer Quarry and Caves Special Area of Conservation Bat Consultation Zone Guidance be endorsed and used to inform decision making within planning proposals and Habitat Regulations Assessments and that the guidance be published on the Council’s website.



The recommendation was approved by a Senior Officer.  The Senior Officer Decision Notice is listed above under Additional Documents.