EDDC’s Plan Unravels?

20 Aug

The inspector who told EDDC to consult again on their Local Plan mentioned two key aspects of the Leadership’s “ambitions” for the Sid Valley.

Namely, Knowle (to be flogged off to pay for Cllr Diviani’s dream of moving to new offices in Honiton) and Sidford (where a 12-acre  business park in the AONB will “compensate” for the resultant loss of employment land .)

Alexandria Road Industrial Estate, which according to the Leader has insoluble problems of accessibility for industrial activities, will then become very accessible indeed  for a supermarket and/or housing.  It will be just like “winning the lottery” for certain lucky landowners.

Except now the usual hounds will have another opportunity to poke their noses into these secretive projects.

Who knows what fresh truffles they may unearth?

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2 Responses to “EDDC’s Plan Unravels?”

  1. Sandra Semple August 20, 2013 at 10:05 am #

    You need to actually HAVE a plan for it to unravel. What has happened here is that EDDC did a lousy job putting together its Local Plan and they have only themselves (and not us) to blame.

    First, it allowed the original LDF panel to waste more than two years whilst it did nothing much more than visit sites of EDBF members and say how great they were and how they must be included in the Local Plan.

    Then in 2009 a report was published at EDDC that predicted TOTALLY what would happen if EDDC continued to deal with the Local Plan in the way they were doing:

    http://www.eastdevon.gov.uk/land_taff_010709.pdf

    This was totally ignored.

    The East Devon Business Forum muddied the waters with its insistence on spending months and months finding ways to increase the amount of employment land in the Plan whilst EDDC sat on the sidelines and waited for them to produce the report that THEY wanted rather than take the advice of two other independent reports they had themselves commissioned which, in one case (Atkins), EDBF disagreed with and, in the other (Tym) refused to discuss.

    It then rushed through, under Councillor Mike Allen, a second LDF Task and Finish Group that had minimal discussion and refused to deal with any criticisms about consultation or methodology – even Councillor Allen suggested that EDDC should examine the metholology of his LDF Panel but this has so far not happened. Sidford Fields was slipped in AFTER consultations had finished and then EDDC made more changes to the plan without any consultation whatsoever. It is these changes that the Inspector has picked up on.

    EDDC tried to say that they were “minor” changes but others (particularly the Independent councillors) argued that in fact they were major changes that needed further consideration and consultation. The majority party disagreed, rushed through the plan as fast as they could and dumped it on the desk of the Inspector. Not surprisingly, being an experienced Inspector, he saw the problem straight away and lobbed it back to EDDC immediately.

    I find Mrs Parr’s comments frankly unbelievable. First, they do not make much sense at all: “This development comes as no surprise to me or to our planning team.” Why not? They and you made a major basic error. If you knew this might happen, why submit? She then goes on to say: ” It is common for Inspectors to call for further consultation on Local Plans submitted to them and this is only to be expected when you consider how much interest there is in the planning agenda both nationally and locally.” I confess I am at a loss to understand exactly what this means. Does she mean that it is only interest in the planning process that has led to the Inspector dumping the Plan back with them? No, it is because EDDC did something wrong, something it should have anticipated, something it was warned about and something it chose to ignore.

    Heads should roll – but of course, they won’t. There will be a hurried patch-up job, another swift resubmisssion and then we wait to see what else might be wrong. meanwhile, developers continue their free-for-all. Is this what EDDC wanted? I do hope not.

    And all of this could have been avoided – had EDDC had the right people on the job at the right time and if the Leader and the CEO and the Chair of the Development Management Committee had stopped being blinkered and started being pragmatic and sensible. Politics and self-interest were allowed to intrude and we are all paying the price.

  2. Not a Developer August 20, 2013 at 7:23 pm #

    EDDC employs many people whose job it is to ensure that the Local Plan is as it should be. It has councillors to check that what those employees do is what needs to be done. What exactly do these officers do to earn their high salaries and what do these councillors do allowing it to go forward knowing it was a risk?

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