SIN commenter, Mark Eppels, seems to be wrong on a number of levels..

8 Apr

There are so many points, that SIN thinks they merit a post to themselves. We’d be happy to have Mr Eppels’  response, of course.

Let’s look at some facts. The RSS numbers were not reduced to accommodate the objections of those who wanted less housing. The RSS numbers were discarded because they were revoked by central government. Had Mark attended the Local Plan Inquiry he would know that the Inspector made it quite clear that the RSS numbers could not be used under any circumstances.

Actually,  the RSS numbers were generated in 2008 at the height of the economic boom. Those councils in 2009 and 2010 who were allowed to still use the RSS numbers, normally adjusted them to reflect the economic downturn. EDDC, unusually, refused to adjust their RSS figures before they were revoked anyway.

The allocation of 15000 that went before the Inspector therefore had nothing to do with the RSS, so Mark is wholly mistaken about the origin of the number. In fact, EDDC relied upon the Housing Study commissioned from Roger Tyms in 2011, which in turn relied in part upon ONS projections for East Devon. Tyms’ figures involved quite wide parameters, but their ‘headline’ projection for housing for the period 2011 to 2026 was 12,700. This did not take account of houses built in the period 2006-2011. EDDC, broadly speaking, followed the Tyms report, and did not appear to be influenced by ‘protestors’. Tyms was not precise, but their median recommendation for housing for the Plan period was below the 15,000 that was eventually submitted to the Inquiry.

As it happens, the Tyms figures were probably a little higher than the RSS numbers would have been if the RSS had emerged in 2011. The RSS had assumed economic growth of around 3% over the Plan period, whereas we actually saw a big drop in economic activity between 2008 and 2011. Adjusting the RSS figures to take account of that economic slowdown would have produced a housing allocation in the region of 14,000.

The Inspector rejected the housing allocation because by 2014 the Tyms report was already out of date, and because EDDC had almost randomly distributed the allocation around the District without conducting a sufficiently robust sustainability assessment to establish the most appropriate sites.

Mark is not correct in saying that the Inspector rejected the housing numbers because they were too low. Mr Thickett said no such thing. He rejected them because the evidence supplied by EDDC was out of date and poor in quality.

So it would seem that Mark didn’t attend any of the Local Plan Panel hearings, hasn’t read any of the reports, did not attend the Inquiry, and has not properly read the Inspector’s findings. He’s not a councillor, is he?

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