Waldron’s Farm Application stirs Bitter Memories

14 May

  Just one week ago, possibly the most controversial planning application of all  (and there have been quite a few in East Devon!) was turned down by the Development Management Committee at Knowle.   SIN has been sent this report:

On 7th May 2013 the Development Management Committee rejected proposals to develop the Waldron’s Farm site (13/0357/MRES) at Farringdon  which received outline planning permission in 2010.
The meeting raised troubled memories of one of the most controversial planning decisions in recent years.
The original application (09/2193/MOUT) proposed large-scale employment land, with polluting and noisy activities (B2), on a greenfield site in a rural location adjacent to a collection of residential properties. It was a clear departure from the Local Plan. Unsurprisingly, it was opposed by local residents, the Parish Council, the Environment Agency, County Highways, Environmental Health and the Planning Officer’s Report.
Astonishingly, it was approved by a Development Management Committee chaired by Cllr Diviani on 9 March 2010. The decision triggered an outcry of protest.
Three Lib Dem members resigned from the DMC claiming that Tory members had been phoned the night before and ordered to vote for approval. Farringdon Residents’ Association claimed that there  were irregularities  in the way that the meeting was conducted. Allegations were made that the applicant had links with the East Devon Business Forum.
An Ombudsman’s Enquiry found no evidence of wrongdoing.
It was clear last Tuesday, however, that wounds were not healed.  Tony Sayers of the Farringdon Residents’ Association reminded the DMC of the circumstances in which planning permission had been granted. He  named the councillors alleged to have done the “phoning round” the night before, and pointing out that ex-councillor Graham Brown made an impassioned speech to the committee in favour of the application.
Cllr Geoff Chamberlain, one of the councillors who resigned, commented that in over 20 years in public service it was the decision that gave him most misgivings.
DMC Chair Mark Williamson reminded members that there was no point discussing the past. A decision had to be made on the detailed proposal before the committee.
Clyst Valley councillor Mike Howe then proceeded to demolish the application, pointing out that it was a gross overdevelopment of the site, far in excess of the outline planning permission, and that the proposed screening was inadequate which would make it an eyesore from the A3052.
The committee were persuaded  and refused the application, with the Chairman alone supporting it.

One Response to “Waldron’s Farm Application stirs Bitter Memories”


  1. Tribute to Broadclyst Councillor who fought for years against inappropriate development | East Devon Watch - February 27, 2015

    […] The Full Council meeting at Knowle this week, opened with a warm tribute to District and County Councillor Derek Button, who died last month. Representing the people of Broadclyst, he was strongly opposed to the massive development nearby at Cranbrook. And many Councillors listening to the acknowledgements of Derek Button’s dedication to his electors’ concerns, will have recalled his courage in standing up against what he saw as irregular planning matters. He was one of the three Liberal Democrat members of Development Management Committee (DMC) who temporarily resigned in protest over alleged procedural irregularities in the Waldron’s Farm case. The Ombudsman found no evidence of anything untoward, however, and the controversy lingers on. More info here: https://sidmouthindependentnews.wordpress.com/2013/05/14/waldrons-farm-application-stirs-bitter-memo… […]

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