Information on public speaking is available online
Councillor Alasdair Bruce spoke on behalf of Feniton Parish Council referring the Committee to the sites proposed for Feniton and the comments from the Planning Inquiry of 2014 where the Inspector had only passed one small site concluding that Feniton was not a sustainable location for new large scale housing developments.
He advised the Parish Council believed the description of ‘modest’ for the services and infrastructure was grossly misleading and suggested with only one pub, one small shop, a school at maximum capacity and no medical services was best described as ‘low’ given the large size of the current population. The road infrastructure in and around Feniton was inadequate for the level of traffic use and the number of potential jobs within easy access of the village was tiny with most employment opportunities requiring a car journey, contrary to EDDC policy to encourage less car usage. With the exception of site Feni_05 which could enhance Feniton the Parish Council believed that the categorisation of the majority of sites as 3 and 4 was not supported by the facts. He referred to the recent spate of sewage discharges into our bathing waters which only highlighted the glaring obvious inadequacy of our current overloaded system and any additional large scale development will not only serve to further overload the system but with its proximity to the River Otter would further endanger the water quality and environment.
Councillor Graham Long spoke on behalf of Upottery Parish Council asking for Members to consider to include the 2.3 acre housing site identified in Upottery village during the 2017 Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment which had been removed following advice from officers. He outlined four reasons why the site should be included:
1. The community supports additional housing similar in number to the growth the parish has seen over the previous 15 years. Upottery has a much cherished primary school and young families in the village are needed for the school to survive;
2. The role and functions of settlements report considered at Committee July 2021 showed Upottery to be a very slightly larger and more active parish than Broadhembury which is included in the Local Plan;
3. The fact that Upottery has a peripatetic post office whilst Broadhembury has a shop/post office seems to be the only reason the site was removed. The report did not take into account the neighbouring village of Churchinford, which is in Somerset and has a very active community shop, coffee shop and post office supported by Upottery residents;
4. Whilst residents of Broadhembury remain dependent on broadband delivered over copper wires, all three Upottery villages have access to full fibre gigabit broadband since 2019 which has been extensively used during the pandemic but also enables residents to shop online at all the major supermarkets.
The following statement was read out on behalf of Councillor Colin Brown, Ward Member:
Upottery has a field in the middle of the village opposite the village hall, which is just over 2 acres. The parish council would like to see development for the benefit of the village and its residents. We all know the planning system is against the creation of new homes in the countryside, especially where it is classed as unstainable. Upottery is not that type of village!
In a recent appeal decision, the Inspector stated ‘in allowing development one mile outside the village’ paragraph 78 of the National Planning Policy Framework saying that rural housing should be located where it will enhance or maintain the vitality of rural communities, in this regard, a small range of facilities and services, including a primary school, exists in the village, it is reasonable to consider that these facilities and services would see use by future occupants of the proposed development, this could help to sustain these facilities and services, benefiting the broader rural community.
Villages have only survived through organic growth. This village should be allowed organic growth in its centre to retain the lifeblood it needs to flourish and prosper, it has the facilities, the school and a good regular bus service.
Councillor David Key, Ward Member endorsed everything the two previous speakers had said about Upottery. He advised he had lived in the village for over 46 years which had grown into a thriving village with a thriving school, church and a brand new playing field and would like Upottery included in the Local Plan to help keep the school going and the village thriving.
The following statement was read out on behalf of Anthony Bragg, a resident of West Hill:
I object to any further development in West Hill specifically site West_01 as follows:
Although “Amenity benefit” does not have a definition in the Town and Country Act legislation, case law suggests: "Pleasant circumstances or features, advantages.”1 As with many other residents the appeal to me of this area is the beauty and density of trees and woodland proximal to where I live. Development on this site would be a detriment to that amenity.
Site West 01 is in an elevated position and any housing development would overlook neighbours’ houses and gardens situated on a lower level, compromising their privacy.
The area is home to many species of wildlife – in fact Mr Robin Offer, the Arboricultural Officer noted, on site visit, the presence of fallow dear grazing. Owls are heard, and buzzards and bats are seen in this environment. See attached photo taken from our garden
West 01 describes trees, groups and woodlands that are not only visible from the B3180 road but from the adjoining footpath (No.5) used by many residents, particularly from Eastfield and Hayes End. The trees not only contribute and have a relationship with the local landscape, but they also contribute to the special character and appearance of West Hill.
Although all the trees are protected by TPO some of them could be under threat. The attached PowerPoints demonstrate this and relate to the area that could be affected by development.
The same trees not only provide a visual break from the B3180, but also an effective noise barrier from this busy road to local residents.
There has been some minor flooding in lower neighbouring gardens in vicinity of West 01. It is understood there is an attenuation tank in the tree area T1 / T2. Any removal of said tank or surrounding trees, which are helping to control water runoff, may predicate increased risk of flooding to lower-level housing.
Councillor Robert Hatton, addressed the Committee on behalf of Bishops Clyst Parish Council about proposals for Clyst St Mary. He advised local facilities in Clyst St Mary were limited with only a half hourly bus service to Exeter or Sidmouth/Honiton, no doctor’s surgery, with residents having to use surgeries at Pinhoe, Topsham and Woodbury, none of which are easily reachable by public transport. In 2018 the Greenspire development added 80 houses to the existing 350 in the BUAB, a 23% increase. Plans had been approved for a further 38 houses and 40 apartments, another 18% increase. In the draft Local Plan it was proposed to take a further increase of 17.7 -25.1%, one of the largest allocations. 25% increase is not a fair proportion of the overall target for our community. Because of the traffic congestion at peak times the village has to suffer from the rat run through the village to avoid queues at the A376 roundabout and also from traffic using the back lanes from the A30 and Exeter Airport which exits through the village. This causes delays, congestion and safety issues in the village centre around the shop, school and pub. Many of the listed sites, including Sowt_09, would gain access through this area, making the current situation far worse. There are major recurring problems with sewage flooding, involving raw sewage running through the streets in the lower part of the village and also surcharging toilets of low lying houses. South West Water has so far been unable to resolve this problem and we are concerned that a solution must be found before there is any further development in the River Clyst catchment.
As noted in the report, we are in the process of reviewing our Neighbourhood Plan. We have had helpful and constructive discussion with EDDC officers and are consulting residents on the site options. We hope that the Local Plan consultation process will retain the flexibility to reflect our findings in the final site allocations.
The following statement was read out on behalf of West Hill Parish Council:
West Hill Parish Council will comment in detail on the draft Local Plan when it is published and we have had the chance to listen to our residents’ views. However, we would like to make some preliminary comments on the proposed site allocations for West Hill.
There were very many sites around West Hill put forward through the HELAA process, and we are pleased that Officers have excluded the majority as possible site allocations. The preferred site allocations are WH04, WH06, and a 2nd best site, WH01.
There are problems with all of these sites.
WH04 – highways access to this site would presumably be from Windmill Lane. This is narrow and unlit, and totally unsuitable for the volume of traffic that would come from the development. The walking route to the village centre and facilities is about 1km, and along mostly unlit roads with no footway. The site is on some of the highest ground in West Hill, and development is likely to breach the skyline and therefore have significant landscape impact.
WH04 and WH06 – both these sites are on land that has many springs and natural aquifers. There are problems with surface water runoff and flooding, which has already caused problems to residents in surrounding streets.
WH01 – proposed 2nd best allocation. This is a site with high landscape value, and many TPO’d trees. The current woodland acts as a buffer between the recent development at Hayes End and the busy B3180, and is a haven for wildlife.
The Parish Council also have concerns about the lack of infrastructure. We share many facilities with Ottery St Mary, and the proposed development there, which is excessive, will place even more strain on services. There are particular problems with primary and secondary school capacities, medical services at the Coleridge Medical Centre, and inadequate bus services. For West Hill itself, we have a severe lack of public open space and community facilities, and a single shop. Two thirds of workers commute out to work. These factors make West Hill less sustainable than many other communities, and yet we are proposed to have 9.1% growth – far more than many major towns such as Exmouth, Honiton and Sidmouth, and far more than many other Tier 4 villages, a significant number of which have 0 preferred sites for allocation.
The following statement was read out on behalf of Mike Drewe on behalf of the Trustees of Broadhembury Estate:
In response to your draft report concerning Broadhembury village and considering the site opposite the Memorial Hall, I would like to comment as to why it is not appropriate for development.
The infrastructure supporting Broadhembury village is at a capacity where it should not be subjected to the extra burden of increased traffic and human waste disposal. The roads supporting the village are inadequate, persistently damaged by flooding, the increased volume of traffic and size of agricultural vehicles. They are becoming more dangerous for pedestrians. The sewerage pumping station is now running beyond full capacity with frequent overflows of sewerage and would certainly not benefit from the additional waste from another 10 dwellings.
Flooding in the village is on the increase due to the speed and volume of the water that passes through the valley catchment area. Poor soil percolation properties and the speed of run off from this site already contribute to flooding and this would be exacerbated by any hard landscaping consistent with development. The river Tale at the lower end of the village struggles to cope with the volume of water that passes through when there is wet weather. Last year, flooding here rendered several properties uninhabitable, one of which took seven months to repair.
The site is not well screened and is elevated from the road. This in turn makes it visible along the main entrance to the village, from the village hall and from the northwest and west of the village. Development would compromise the vista towards the Grade I Listed church along the entrance to the village.
As has rightly been acknowledged, Broadhembury village is a Heritage Asset, a concentration of over twenty medieval/late medieval dwellings and a designated Conservation Area in the AONB. The site would compromise the setting of this Heritage Asset as it overlooks two Grade II* Listed Buildings and their curtilage, one of these being the pub and its public garden. Transversely, an important vista from the Conservation Area out into open countryside would be lost if there were to be any development there. The village and its vibrant surrounding wildlife benefit greatly from dark skies and the land adjoining the site is host to amongst others, rare Barbastelle bats which are sensitive to light pollution, to lose this special benefit would be a tragedy.
The following statement was read out on behalf of Ruth Irish a resident of Bishops Clyst:
I would like to highlight the potential perception of what is currently happening regarding Bishop’s Clyst proposals and within surrounding parishes. As a resident, it feels as though there is building on every available space, all at the same time. It would be interesting to know what percentage of all of these sites truly offer affordable homes and is there a coherent overall plan.
As you are fully aware, there is a huge site in Topsham (which is creeping along in the direction of The Blue Ball). Cranbrook is about to double in size. Pinhoe developments are also extensive and on-going. Hotel built at Sandy Park and IKEA.
As for Clyst St Mary specifically, Greenspire has been established, properties squeezed in behind the Old Maltsters Arms and the Burrington Estates development of Winslade House, Defra building and surrounding grounds is incomplete.
Existing services such as health care and schooling will surely be put further under pressure. During evenings, a bus service is available only every 1.5 hours. Traffic and parking is a real issue. I have noticed that the residents of the recently renovated cottages opposite the shop have put up signs requesting consideration for the residential area in terms of noise and disturbance. Delivery vans visiting the village and shop are continuous throughout the day. Exiting the roundabout in the mornings can be very tricky due to the volume of traffic to and from Sidmouth, Exmouth and Exeter. Let alone, the short-cutting from the airport direction along Bishop’s Court Lane and into the village along Frog Lane.