Agenda item

Public speaking

Information on public speaking is available online



Four public speakers and two District Councillors spoke on the working draft of the proposed East Devon Local Plan 2020 – 2040.


Committee Member, Councillor Mike Howe raised concerns on behalf of the residents and the parish councils of Bishops Clyst about the new town proposed and addressed issues including highway and infrastructure implications and requested that surface water and sewage be considered as part of the infrastructure.


Mr Andrew Preston raised a question on behalf of Mr Peter Stodgell on why the village of Upottery had not been included in Tier 4.  He advised that out of the 23 settlements listed in Tier 4, 13 had a smaller working age population and 18 had fewer jobs than Upottery.  Upottery also had a primary school and community sports field and was in a sustainable location with a range of local services and good employment provision.


Mr Andrew Preston, also asked a question on behalf of Morrish Homes on why land on Oak Road on the southern side of West Hill (site reference West_05) was identified as Rank 1 given the similarities between its neighbours that were identified as Rank 3.  He advised that Morrish Homes had already undertaken a considerable amount of work to address the suitability of the site for housing which included to retain trees, appropriate open space between dwellings, appropriate means of access and foul and surface water drainage.  He referred to the distance of local facilities and local roads in West_13 & 14 that were Rank 3 advising West_05 was the same distance and was in walking distance and asked Members to consider West Hill as Rank 3 to maintain consistency with neighbouring sites.  In response to all the questions raised the Chair advised that a written response would be provided by the Service Lead, Planning Strategy and Development Management due to the anticipated length of the meeting.


Councillor Kelvin Dent, Chair of Planning, Sidmouth Town Council congratulated the officers on a tremendous job of preparing an extremely thorough detailed piece of work.  He acknowledged the difficulty of land allocation in Sidmouth and advised that Sidmouth Town Council supported Option C of less development as detailed on page 113.  He referred to three favourable sites, Sidmouth Sid_01 and Sid_19 in Sidmouth and Sid_10 in Sidbury.  He raised concerns about Sid_06 at Sidford which had been recommended for 30 dwellings with a potential for 300 dwellings and addressed the need to maintain a green separation between Sidford and Sidbury.


Councillor David Valentine representing Gittisham Parish Council sought reassurance that parish councils would be consulted with at all stages of the local plan process including the next stage with the forthcoming sustainability appraisal.  He raised concerns that site reference Gitti_01 and 05 on pages 188 and 189 would encroach within 400 metres of the village and that it was identified as Rank 2 whereas on page 22 it was identified at Rank 3.  He sought clarification on the caveat that should numbers not be met other land may need to be brought forward and suggested a clear distinction be made between land north and south of the railway line and that land to the south should be given Rank 1. 


In response to speakers the Chair advised that there would be no definitive allocations made at this meeting today and that the reason for viewing the working draft of the Local Plan was for openness and transparency to give towns and parish councils and their constituents’ time to consider the document.


Councillor Alasdair Bruce raised concerns of established principles for future documents and advised, in his opinion, there were too many contradictory statements within the report and referred to Feniton’s proposed expansion even though an inquiry in 2014 reported a lack of sustainability and rejected claims that it was suitable for new development and referred to the Acland Park development that had gone so badly wrong.


The following statement was read out on behalf of Mr Paul Smith, resident of Cranbrook:


I commend Council officers for the accomplished production of this first draught of the East Devon Local Plan, and welcome their transparency and candid acknowledgement that the draught is presented with a ’cautionary warning  that it represents officers‘ preliminary assessment only’, and sets out their preferred options for development sites across District, each subject to change.


East Devon’s new Local Plan must confront the growing crisis presented by the shortage of supply and affordability of localised housing, particularly in relation to its existing indigenous populous who are predominantly the District’s younger generation.


The challenge is heightened by an increasing migration to East Devon for retirement, 2nd homes, holiday lets, and a limited supply of private rental properties.


 Further complexity will undoubtedly be added to this situation by additional housing demands precipitated by an influx of home seekers drawn to Exeter and surrounding areas by its vision to be the regional powerhouse in the South West and the most  ‘Attractive and Accessible City in England’.


Confronted with the complexity of issues I feel it pertinent to highlight to Committee the imminent completion in early 2022 of the HELAA Panel of experts report, which will provide a complete detailed assessment of each of the 359  ‘ Call for Sites’ submitted for consideration of development across the District, and availability of Brownfield development sites.

Access to comprehensive information which will enable Councillors with officer assistance to make totally informed judgements re Spatial Strategy, Settlement Hierarchy and Overarching strategy for distribution of development within District, over the next decade.


I would hesitate to suggest that the existing  timetable for production of this complex draught plan is too rushed, and proposals for a series of Committee meetings in January 2022 to facilitate presentations by a limited number of developers and agents, before you have access to the HELAA report is somewhat premature.


Officers have indicated options for flexibility of time scales, and if appropriate I would commend you to consider amending schedule.