“If Feniton fails…..nowhere in England is safe”

8 Jan

Some vigorous interviews were heard on Radio Devon’s Good Morning show yesterday (7th Jan), about the future of Feniton, on the first day of the Super Inquiry into  an appeal by 3 developers for permission to build nearly 300 new houses in the village.

A trio of contributors from Fight for Feniton’s Future attacked the scale of the plans which would almost double the size of the village.

John Withrington accused the developers of “opportunism” and trying to “make concrete while the sun shines”. He added: “If Feniton fails; if we grow by over 40%, nowhere in England is safe”.

Independent Cllr Susie Bond said Feniton versus the developers was a “David against Goliath situation.” The companies had “almost unlimited funds to throw” at the Inquiry. But the people of Feniton had “moral right on their side and would fight.”

Jayne Blackmore, whose own house has been flooded, is convinced the flooding would be made worse by more building. She added, “We are not against development, but want (just) our fair share.”

Later Ian McKintosh, Chair of the East Devon Alliance, commented on the national implications. He quoted Max Hastings’ message of support to  Feniton “which represents the struggle of all local communities to decide their own future.” If the developers get their way it would prove, said Ian,  that the Government’s localism agenda “is a sham”.

In sometimes lively exchanges with Matt Woodley, Ian described how the character of Feniton would be destroyed by overdevelopment as was happening in many other East Devon communities such as West Clyst and Ottery St. Mary.  He defined  “appropriate development” , as being “on a scale that communities could absorb”. He cited The National Trust’s warning about the devastating changes to Britain’s landscape, if the  government’s present planning policy continues.  He also agreed with The Campaign to Protect Rural England who have found that well in excess of a million brownfield sites are not being used, while prime agricultural land is being lost to development.

When Matt read out the promises by the developers to fund flood protection, school expansion and affordable houses in Feniton, Ian cautioned: “Developers make promises that they don’t keep.”

P.S. As SIN-ners well know, the East Devon Alliance keeps an eye on such things!

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