Agenda item

Public speaking

Information on public speaking is available online



Councillor Jerry Bird on behalf of Farringdon Parish Council and Farringdon Residents Association spoke on item 7 expressing his concerns about the impact the new community would have on the village of Farringdon which has centuries of history, rich arable farmland, diverse fauna and flora, small lanes and character properties. He stated that the consultation process was flawed and clunky and had used the phrase ‘option 1 our preferred option’ throughout the consultation process which was telling people what the council wants.  There were three choices in the consultation, but Mr Bird suggested there should have been a fourth choice ‘none of the above’.


Farringdon which is protected by its neighbourhood plan is only suitable for low scale development but now due to landowner developer led development Farringdon will be tipped into the melting pot of mass development losing hundreds of acres of arable land and Mr Bird invited Strategic Planning Committee Members to a site visit before making key decisions. 


65% of residents in East Devon do not want a new town – this is a clear message and must be respected.


In relation to the development Mr Bird raises a concern that in reality the developers will promise the earth and deliver pluto, something cold and less inspiring which will probably be too expensive for local people who will be forced to move away – where is the logic in that.  He also raises concerns about the infrastructure that is stretched beyond capacity and suggests that options 2 and 3 will come into reality in decades to come which is a catastrophe for East Devon.


He urged Members to think before voting and to not vote in favour if Members had any doubt.


The following statement on item 7 was read out on behalf of Nigel Dutt.


Independent of the choice of options to be discussed in item 7, my issue for this relatively new Strategic Planning Committee is this: From the strategic planning point of view are you as a committee happy that a second new town will be placed just a few hundred metres from a similar sized new town, and between it and Exeter, meaning that neither will establish its own identity, but both will inevitably form part of an extended Greater Exeter conurbation? Remember that we are talking here about two new towns each with eventual populations around the size of present day Tiverton and together a population in excess of 35% of Exeter's population today. This seems to be much too significant a decision to simply be driven by a call for sites rather than first taking a strategic view of East Devon and asking where it would be sensible to place a new community of that size, and whether that is still considered by you to be the solution to the housing problem, especially in the light of the ongoing debates at government level.


A further major issue with the site selection process that has resulted in the three options under discussion is that site ownership has been conflated with site development. This removes the opportunity to separate out the choice of developers from the choice of site and, for example, the ability to require the very highest quality eco building standards and to have an open developer selection process where such an approach is mandated. This in turn leads to what many people, including myself, believe is a developer led plan where you are not able to push back on the developers. For example, they have resisted a requirement for high quality building standards by asserting that this will impact the delivery of affordable housing and so far EDDC appears to be simply parroting that particular line. Apart from anything else, it completely undermines your assertion that EDDC is taking the climate emergency seriously. You can require the highest building standards and choose developers who will meet them as Exeter have proved, otherwise you are simply green-washing.


In summary then, my issue is whether as a relatively newly formed committee you have your own strategic view on these issues, or you are simply going with the flow and doing what you're told to do.


In response the Chair advised if Members felt they had insufficient information to let Mr Dutt know.