Saturday, 14 December 2013

Devon County and national planning policy: "The NPPF has been sufficiently poisonous a development that 38 Conservative MPs expressed their misgivings about it as long ago as March last year in a letter to the Telegraph."

Following on from the motion put to the Devon County Cabinet on 13 November
Futures Forum: Housing: "it would be impossible to build to meet demand because there is a never-ending queue of people who want to move to Devon."
Cabinet (Minutes) - Wed Nov 13 2013
the same motion was put to the full Council:
Full County Council (Minutes) - Thu Dec 12 2013

Devon Tories vote down planning motion

The conservatives at Devon County Council today voted down a motion calling for a protest to be made to central government against the loose planning rules. The motion was proposed by libdem, Cllr Julian Brazil and seconded by me.
Cllr Brazil spoke on the motion, which as procedure dictates, had already arrived at full council with a recommendation from cabinet, not to support it. He said that the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) was a tool used by government to boost economic growth, which was inappropriate and any boost to the economy was short-term only. He said that communities were really concerned about the numbers of houses being built and councillors should act on their behalf and make a strong protest to central government.
I outlined the problems experienced by Feniton, the fact that highways officers are operating with one hand tied behind their backs because the NPPF stated that a planning application could only be rejected on highways grounds if the impact was “severe,” without giving a definition of “severe.” I went onto read out a statement by The King’s School headteacher, Faith Jarrett, who is extremely worried that the catchment area of the school will gradually reduce, as a result of all the housing being built locally, over and above allocations in EDDC’s local plan.
Here’s Faith’s statement:
“For me the problem will be that housing without proper investment in the education infrastructure will mean that the concept of local schools for local children will simply be eroded. We are full and over planned admission number (PAN). Any children generated in year from additional homes will end up being bussed around the county to any school that has places.
“This is educationally, socially, economically and environmentally a nonsense. For new year 7 groups it will mean a gradual shrinking of our catchment area with families who had bought homes further out but who were still in our catchment not gaining places for their children – some of which may well be siblings making home life very difficult for families. We need planned school place development if we are to have the volume of housing proposed.”
Several libdem councillors spoke in favour of the motion, including Cllrs Connett and Dewhirst. One of the independents - Cllr Mike Edmunds opposed it because of new planning announcements in the autumn statement about affordable housing. 
The labour group housing spokesperson, Cllr Rob Hannaford, said that he supported new housing in his area of Exeter and it was needed.  He agreed with Cllr Edmunds about the need for affordable housing.
Conservative, Chris Clarence said he wouldn’t support the motion but was unhappy about the fact that planning inspectors were allowing developments he thought the NPPF stated should not be allowed.
Green councillor, Robert Vint, said that this wasn’t about local need and residents voices were being ignored. He added that it was not sustainable development.
Leader, Cllr John Hart, after a relatively long speech, where he referred to the letters that had been published in the local press about the motion. He said that few councillors had been contacted by residents as a result of this letter. Cllr Hart asked his conservative group to oppose the motion and instead, support the cabinet recommendation, which said that Devon County Council would work with district councils to ensure the correct infrastructure was in place…. it is so not that simple!!
Before the vote on the motion, Cllr Brazil asked for a recorded vote - so how each councillor voted would be on file.  But the conservatives voted against a recorded vote!
And so we lost.  But I think the NPPF will really make its presence felt in the next six months….
This week a major appeal inquiry gets underway for around 160 houses on the green wedge between Seaton and Colyford.. and then the Feniton triple inquiry appeal kicks off right after Christmas. The outcome of many future applications and appeals in East Devon will hinge on these.
The webcast will be available in the next day or two here - http://www.devoncc.public-i.tv/core/


1. At 09:14 am on 13th Dec Susie Bond wrote:
Now let’s wait just a minute here and reflect …
If the Conservative County Councillors who represent East Devon didn’t support this motion, then they are tacitly agreeing with the atrocious Government policy which is the NPPF.
The NPPF has utterly emasculated East Devon District Council when it comes to all matters to do with planning … only the AONBs are being protected, but even that protection is starting to see some serious erosion.
The same County Councillors are agreeing that it is acceptable for the democratic process to be placed firmly in the hands of the landowners, who are treating some of our most precious landscapes as a source of income, and developers, whose motives are pure profit. Neither of these cares less about how East Devon will look in 10 years’ time, as long as the loot keeps rolling in.
I’m boring myself with the number of times I’ve exercised these arguments, but the people of East Devon voted for their East Devon District Councillors (some of whom are dual-hatted and also sit as Devon County Councillors and who voted against Cllr Brazil’s Motion) to decide the shape of the District.
Did anyone vote in a landowner or a developer to decide where development should take place?
Shame on the County Councillors who represent those of us in East Devon! There will be some very serious questions at election time.
2. At 09:15 am on 13th Dec Sandra Semple wrote:
Is it constitutionally allowed to refuse a named vote?
3. At 10:04 am on 13th Dec Claire wrote:
Yes, oddly enough, the rule is that a request for a recorded vote must be voted on, which of course, the majority party simply votes against if it doesn’t want it!
4. At 11:20 am on 13th Dec Claire wrote:
The webcast of the meeting is now available for viewing ...

5. At 02:13 pm on 13th Dec John Withrington wrote:
So we have the bizarre position of Conservative councillors on EDDC effectively endorsing government legislation which is destroying the countryside in the district, and blighting the lives of the people they have been elected to represent.
The NPPF has been sufficiently poisonous a development [sic] that 38 Conservative MPs expressed their misgivings about it as long ago as March last year in a letter to the Telegraph. And yet Conservative Councillors on EDDC seemingly have neither the wit nor the courage to murmur a word against the NPPF, and stand up for the people they are supposed to represent. For shame.

Causing mayhem - Letters - Sidmouth Herald

The debate can be seen from 1:29:41
Full Council - 12th Dec 2013 - Thu, 12th Dec 2013 - 2:15 pm - Devon County Council Webcasting

No comments: