Colyton/ Seaton ‘Green Wedge’ to stay, says Inspector.

20 Jan

The  Community Action Group fighting  plans to build on the highly prized and environmentally sensitive land between Colyton and Seaton, have today learned that the developer’s appeal has been rejected.

A SIN correspondent from the area sums up :

“All this was caused by the Planning Officer approving in the first place, and we were only saved by the speeches  from the public at the DMC (June 2013) , which forced the refusal, and so EDDC had to defend at appeal. Then a fundraising campaign by local people ( donations totalled tens of thousands of pounds),  put pressure on EDDC to make sure Mr Gordon Lennox did his job for once.”

More details on the East Devon Alliance new website :  http://eastdevonalliance.org/2014/01/20/inspector-dismisses-developers-appeal-good-news-for-colyfordseaton

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One Response to “Colyton/ Seaton ‘Green Wedge’ to stay, says Inspector.”

  1. Axegrinder January 20, 2014 at 10:07 pm #

    This is a welcome decision by the Planning Inspector, but it must go down in the area’s history as a horrible near-miss.

    This development, in about as beautiful and prominent a location over the Axe Valley as could be imagined, was mystifyingly marked for approval by the East Devon Planning Officers. Worryingly at the time, some of the district councillors were also distancing themselves from explicit electoral pledges not to allow just such massive schemes in the Green Wedge.

    It was only because of a massive local protest that Helen Parr’s Development Committee were forced to recognise how politically suicidal this would be. Two coachloads of protesters and many excellent speeches won the day at the DMC (where Mrs Parr abstained). Former Colyton councillor, Paul Arnott, had rediscovered the number one written mainifesto pledge from the Tories in 2011 not to allow development in the Green Wedge, and had copied this to all committee members before the hearing. He held up the leaflet at the committee, which took him off Mrs Parr’s Christmas card list, and soon afterwards, of course, the Cabinet began its backwards-looking efforts to restrict just such public speaking in future, failing to recognise that the public had saved it from itself.

    With an appeal inevitable from the developer, a group from Colyford and Seaton gathered around the outstanding leadership of Howard and Anne West, and Robin and Bonte Pocock. It won the right to be represented as a third party at the appeal, raising thousands of pounds to hire its own professional representation. One of the strongest reasons for rejection – Bats – was bravely represented by Dr Fiona Mathews, who was fighting from the outset on ground weakened by East Devon’s failure to commission the comprehensive reports required before the first determination.

    Ultimately, though, it was the Green Wedge argument which won the Inspector over. He judged that the applicants games with the maths about the local housing supply numbers – an argument given to them on a plate by the failure to have a Local Plan in place (Exeter had their’s submitted in 2010 and approved in 2012 – why not EDDC?!) – was outweighed by the highly detrimental effect on the landscape.

    And that is what makes this a potentially historic judgement. In essence he has said, never mind all the fiddling about with housing supply data, I’m not going to let you ruin the lower Axe Valley. Let’s hope his wisdom is heard in other parts of the district too.

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