This report specificially concentrates on assessment of potential sites to allocate for development at Tier 3 and Tier 4 settlements.
Before inviting the Service Lead – Planning Strategy and Development Management to present his report the Chair addressed Committee Members and proposed to amend the recommendations in line with the tier 1 and tier 2 recommendations to read as follows:
‘Recommend endorsement of the preferred sites and 2nd choice sites as suitable for public consultation.’
The Committee considered the Service Lead – Planning Strategy and Development Management’s report that specifically concentrated on the assessment of potential sites to allocate for development in tier 3, Budleigh Salterton and Colyton and tier 4, selected villages that had a good range of services and facilities. The sites in each of the tiers listed in the report were shown as preferred sites for allocations for development and 2nd best choices for allocation to ensure that sufficient housing was met to ensure the plan could be found sound by the Planning Inspector at examination.
The Service Lead – Planning Strategy and Development Management referred Members to the Chair’s proposed recommendation addressing a caveat to give consideration to the scale of growth in Feniton and Whimple and how to frame the level of growth for those two settlements in the consultation.
The Chair suggested the Committee go through the settlements alphabetically.
Councillor Ingham sought clarification on whether there was a percentage chart for tier 3 as detailed in paragraph 4.6 for tier 4. In response the Service Lead – Planning Strategy and Development Management apologised advising it could be produced in due course if necessary emphasising the general point was to discuss the scale of growth for Feniton and Whimple indicating the number of sites proposed for both these settlements as preferred and 2nd choice sites would be strategically significant for our strategy. He also referred to other settlements that had in excess of 10% growth that Members may want to discuss and suggested that Members could still consult on all of the preferred sites and 2nd choice sites in those locations with a frame for the consultation about how much growth would be considered in those two settlements as well as other settlements if Members had concerns about the volume of growth.
A discussion took place on a suitable way forward for the meeting where it was addressed there was a very real risk that the plan would fail at examination as it was placing larger levels of housing in tier 3 and 4 settlements. In response the Service Lead – Planning Strategy and Development Management suggested the consultation could be framed in a way to suggest it was looking at ranges of level of growth in locations and gave Exmouth as an example, as tier one, which could be argued that the scale of growth proposed was an acceptable level but if you include all the preferred sites and 2nd choice sites in some of the villages it would not be an acceptable level. This could be done in terms of developing the Spatial Strategy for the Local Plan which was another key part of the consultation that was needed to be undertaken.
The Chair sought clarification on the consequences if Feniton and Whimple were not ready at this stage to go out to consultation. The Service Lead – Planning Strategy Development Management advised that they could not be excluded at this stage as this would only lead to further consultation at a later stage.
Further discussion took place where Members addressed their concerns about development in a number of villages in tier 4. A suggestion was made to put all the sites out for consultation with an explanation about why they are there emphasising the council did not want settlements to double in size. In response the Service Lead – Planning Strategy and Development Management advised this could be done by asking the public to rank sites in an order of preference which would hopefully address Members concerns and avoid the need for further consultation.
The Service Lead – Planning Strategy and Development Management acknowledged Members concerns about the scale of growth and reminded Members that the shortfall in housing numbers was reported to them back in August 2021 where they were given a number of options which were not debated on. He advised in order to avoid further consultation it was important that the consultation identified all the options that Members wish to consider and take forward and to keep options open at this stage so that it can be done later on.
Clarification sought about Upottery wanting more development but was not in a tier 4 settlement. In response the Service Lead – Planning Strategy and Development Management advised if it was for Members to decide the threshold in terms of what constitutes a sustainable community and reminded Members the hierarchy of settlements had been debated on four separate occasions. He further advised the way to accommodate growth should villages want it would be through community led developments and through neighbourhood plans.
The Chair invited Members to comment on the sites proposed in the settlements:
Clarification was sought on whether there was an opportunity to look at strategically planning sites for development including those that had not been put forward in the call for sites. The Service Lead – Planning Strategy and Development Management acknowledged there was an opportunity to do this as we are required to look at all supply sources. It could be worth exploring sites on the edge of settlements suitable for growth that had not been put forward and also when considering the new community options but we would need a willing land owner in order to allocate them. A further option would be to upgrade some of the 2nd best sites in locations such as Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
· The report suggests it can accommodate up to 300 homes but officers have only recommended 50 2nd best choices; This is an opportunity for substantial additional development in a town with a good range of services and facilities;
· Far less houses compared to Feniton and Whimple. There is a need to look at towns that are more sustainable;
· There is a need to see the Housing Needs Assessment for Budleigh Salterton to deliver its need;
· Support for growth in the AONB. The Service Lead – Planning Strategy and Development Management advised that the whole of the town was in the AONB;
· Need to consider architecture in AONBs. Tighter controls are needed.
· The site assessment says the site has High/Medium landscape sensitivity- a prominent position & there are views into the site from the AONB.
· It would also have a significant moderate adverse ecological effect- within the Beer Quarry Caves SAC
· There are significant infrastructure implications- Colyton and Seaton primary schools have some capacity but not to total levels- the committee should know that Colyton Primary School was landlocked, with inadequate open space/ play area.
· Axe Valley, our nearest Secondary School could not take all the children.
· Colyton Parish Neighbourhood Plan had recently been made. At para 8.21 the NP states that development above the 200’ contour has long been resisted by Colyton PC for protection of landscape reasons. This site would be completely contrary to policies in the NP and the parish will not understand why people did all this work on producing a plan, at great cost, which EDDC accepted, only to railroad through it. This will be seriously controversial. A Planning Application for land at this site was refused in 2016 because of detrimental impact to the landscape setting of the town. It forms a key undeveloped skyline.
· Cannot agree with the assessment of the potential accesses. Clay Lane and Old Sidmouth Road are single track, very narrow country lanes quite unsuitable for access for around 50 more dwellings, 25 on the preferred area of the site and 24 on the 2nd best land.
· Where are the Employment opportunities mentioned? Colyton lost 70 jobs when the CeramTec Factory shut. Employment opportunities are sadly lacking. Development at this land would increase car use with all its associated harm to the environment.
· Across the road from this land is Seaway Head. This development was an Exception Site- all the houses are affordable, for locals in perpetuity.
· What Colyton wants is Affordable Housing, not housing which is damaging to the landscape, located miles away from employment and unaffordable to locals.
· Coly_02 – it was suggested that an appropriate scale of houses could be built on a section to the right hand side of the site similar to the existing affordable housing site south of the Old Sidmouth Road. Ideally it should be affordable. It is outside the built up area boundary and the natural suggestion might be that the landowners could look at this as an exception site.
· Lymp_01, GH/ED/73 and GH/ED/75 supported for consideration;
· GH/ED/72 not for consideration at this stage;
· GH/ED/72 not within the parish boundary of Lympstone but in the parish of Woodbury. Support this allocation going forward for inclusion if the benefits through CIL and 106 payments were somehow only the benefit of this site or Lympstone Parish.
· Wood_24 – residents have supported this site;
· Wood_10 - supported;
· Wood_09 – should be included in the consultation as it is within the heart of the village and would be suitable for low density housing.
· Wood_12 - which is adjacent to Wood_10 and to the preferred site of Wood_14 - would be supported for inclusion for consultation;
· Wood_20 – cannot support as it is on a lane without a footpath and large section of the site is the community orchard and community dog walking field area. Losing these facilities would be detrimental to the community;
· Wood_23 – cannot support as it is some distance from the village centre with no public footpath along a very busy road.
· Brhe_04 & Brhe_06 – supported;
· Brhe_07 – supported as sits just outside the village;
· Need to be mindful to protect the character of the village.
Clyst St Mary
· Sowt_09 – not suitable for a preferred choice as it’s on a busy road with no street path. It has extremely congested heavy vehicles using the road;
· Sowt_11 & Sowt_03 should be put together to allow a link road from the A3052 to stop the rat run;
· Dunkeswell in the past has been classed by the Inspectorate as unsustainable because it does not have a school. It only has one shop, no public house and limited regular bus service and the main transport is by private motor car. There is opportunity for development at Hornbeam which has holiday restrictions. It would give the opportunity to buy at affordable end of the market and would help East Devon increase its housing availability to local first time buyers;
· If Wood_01, Wood_27 and Wood_28 were all put forward it would represent growth of 15% which is excessive for the village
· Wood_28 - could only be supported for a maximum of 20 dwellings (which was the original suggestion) and if the flooding issue is resolved;
· Wood_01 – support
· Feni_01 – support with a well-designed drainage system to help reduce flood risk to Feniton and Gosford;
· Feni_04 and Feni_05 – There would be a great benefit to open this culvert up to become an open watercourse and potentially slow flood flows down;
· Feni_07 – development here with additional storage would reduce risk for everyone
· Feni-08 – similar to Feni_07 but to a lesser extent;
· Feni_09 – this is a large site with the east field which is the main cause of the level crossing flooding and properties to the south;
· Feni_10 – is a tree heavy large garden, so from flood risk perspective it would be difficult to improve;
· Payh_01 – clarification sought about whether this came in as a planning application. It was suggested the southern part of the site had planning permission although it was not a preferred allocation or 2nd choice site;
· Plym_03 – more than enough with 30 houses!
· Sidm_25 – reservations about this site – access and connectivity issues and no funding earmarked for phase 1 cycle scheme.
Tipton St John
· Otry_04 – history of previous planning application being refused on the basis the village was unsustainable. Any significant development should consider the requirement for a new primary school
· West_01, West_06 and West_04 – do not support as one greenfield sites, no jobs, no school places and no playing fields;
· Do not support any of the sites for West Hill;
· Whimple is a small village with three main routes via a single lane which causes a build-up of traffic;
· Whim_03 – no footpaths;
· Whim_07 – flooding issues;
· Whim_08 – poor pedestrian and cycle links to the village centre;
· Whim_11 – flooding issues;
· Whim_13 – too remote from the village centre
The Chair invited Members to vote on the recommendation proposed from the Chair.
Recommend endorsement of the preferred sites and 2nd choice sites as suitable for public consultation.