East Devon AONB: Gamekeepers? Poachers?

18 Jul

Poor East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty beleaguered by developers desperate to cover it in concrete!

Witness Monday’s EDDC decision to allow more building in the AONB near Sidmouth Garden Centre.

No wonder John Wilding MBE, East Devon AONB Chairman, has called for a public discussion of the issues facing the AONB.

Err….This couldn’t be the same John Wilding who is Head of Forestry and Environment at Clinton Devon Estates which is currently applying for planning permission to build 40+ houses in the AONB at Newton Poppleford, could it?

If it is, let’s start the public discussion by asking: are there any unacceptable conflicts of interest at the head of East Devon AONB?

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8 Responses to “East Devon AONB: Gamekeepers? Poachers?”

  1. Not A Developer July 18, 2013 at 5:08 pm #

    The AONB partnership is banned from discussing planning applications. Just like the Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

    This not a legal requirement – it is a local decision by the EDDC Chief Executive, probably with other officers and the Cabinet. Time to ask questions.

  2. Caty B July 18, 2013 at 8:52 pm #

    So it appears that here is no conflict of interest. Why can’t SIN just wind in and stop finding fault in people who are just trying to do good public service. This is the same John Wilding who was a member of the forestry regulation task force last year, is trying to bring more wood fuel opportunities to the area to help smaller woodland managers improve access and biodiversity and oh yes works with the OVA and others in supporting removal of Himalyan Balsam, re connecting the river Otter with its flood plain and influencing government to put more resources into tackling tree disease in the SW. SIN you are just looking for the black cloud everywhere. You are pretty sad my dear.

  3. Not A Developer July 18, 2013 at 9:50 pm #

    My point is that the AONB partnership is BANNED from discussing planning applications when it should be able to do so as these are highly pertinent. Ask members if they wish to debate about whether they would wish to include this topic – it could prove interesting! But they will not be allowed even to discuss the possibility. Why?

  4. Caty B July 18, 2013 at 10:18 pm #

    Maybe it is not permitted to formally comment on planning applications, but what has that got to do with Jon Wilding? This policy has been in place for years… Leave the poor bugger alone and pick a fight with those who really are mischievous – there are plenty at EDDC and the old EDBF…. Jon is one of the good guys.

  5. Axegrinder July 19, 2013 at 7:27 am #

    I wouldn’t consider that either SIN or Not A Developer have targetted Mr Wilding personally in the least.

    To Caty B, the point is that most reasonable East Devonians love the AONB but also expect that it should have a voice worth hearing when its boundaries or even its core area are threatened by development.

    These people naturally believe that the AONB is allowed to play a role here, and are always astonished to hear that it has been neutered when it comes to this very threat.

    It is also worth saying, as a general point, that just because an individual is associated with good works in some areas, there should still be a right to comment when this might not seem wholly consistent with association with other organisations whose agenda can be perceived as rather less benevolent.

  6. Shelly July 19, 2013 at 7:20 pm #

    Clinton Devon Estates do a huge amount of good work locally – charitable, environmental, conservation, economically and socially…. It is called sustainable development – a topic Cllr Mike Allen runs master classes in every time he opens his mouth at EDDC meetings!!!

  7. Axegrinder July 20, 2013 at 8:01 am #

    Any large, private landowning entity with intelligence ensures that it is in a position to claim the moral high ground in environmental, conservation, economic and social terms. And there are good people working at and for Clinton Devon Estates.

    Actions speak louder than words though. Have a good look at how much land they have built on in the district. While they might argue that revenues from this subsidise other work, be in no doubt that at the beginning and end of their motivation for every building development application is private profit.

    Which is okay – private profit makes many cogs in an economy spin. But when this profit is being extracted in or near AONB, they must expect scrutiny and, where warranted, scepticism and criticism.

    They are professional enough to have been appalled by the boasts of the likes of ex-Cllr Brown – they worry it reflects on them. All the more reason for people such as Clinton Devon to voice concerns, if they do care about community and local democracy, at the current horror show unfolding in Newton Poppleford.

    Let’s hope they are using their very considerable influence to be saying “not in my name” over the treatment of one of the local councillors. One fears, though, that their silence will be deafening.

  8. Shelly July 20, 2013 at 9:43 pm #

    Errrr – “how much land they have built on…” They probably built your house! What a strange thing to say. They have developed Exmouth in Victorian times (see all street names), most of Budleigh. Schools, hospitals, model farmsteads, churches… So surely they shouldn’t stop just because you want the clock to freeze to preserve your piece of England…?

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