Sunday, 9 March 2014

Public Examination of the New East Devon Local Plan ..... ..... OPEN SPACE

There has been a lot of work done in trying to convince the District Council that figures showing that Sidmouth has 'too much' open space need to be amended:
Futures Forum: Knowle: the Byes and when a 'meadow' is a 'park'...
Futures Forum: Knowle: the Byes and when a 'meadow' is a 'park': part two

At the meeting of the Development Management (or planning) Committee on 1st March which rejected the application at Knowle, this issue was brought up:

Peter Whitfield spoke about the open space report and his concerns that it had included the Byes in the open space calculations.  This was entirely inappropriate Mr Whitfield said, as it did not meet the specification for the standard open space criteria.  Including the Byes in the figures had skewed the sums considerably, which meant it looked as though Sidmouth had more recreation land than it did.


An oversupply of parkland in Sidmouth?

March 5, 2013 by sidmouthsid Leave a comment

Not true, as this speech from local resident Peter Whitfield points out. It was delivered at the Development Management Committee Meeting which rejected the Outline Planning Application for Knowle last Friday, 1st March.

Ladies & Gentlemen,

One of my many objections to this application is that you have been seriously misled by the Officer’s report. He claims that Sidmouth has more Parks & Recreation Grounds than it needs according to standards but admits there is some dispute about this without saying what this is.

The Planning Support Statement which the Report quotes says that there is a Standard of provision of 1ha/1000 of population of Parks & Recreation Grounds for urban areas. This is wrong. The Open Space Study which this document purports to be quoting says no such thing. You will recall that at your June meeting last year this committee voted to adopt that Study (commissioned from Bennet Leisure & Planning) as evidence in future applications and as policy in the emergent local plan. You adopted the whole document, not just selected portions of it. It suggests a minimum standard of 1ha/1000 for urban areas as minutes of your meeting record, but then goes on to qualify this by a whole series of caveats which insist that it should not be a one-size-fits-all standard. (The economies of Sidmouth, Honiton & Axminster vary widely and the need for both quantity and variety of open space varies accordingly as the OSS acknowledges.) (My 3 minutes do not allow me quote them all here but can give examples if questioned.)

The Report ignores these important qualifications and therefore draws the wrong conclusion that Sidmouth has more Parks and Recreation grounds than it “needs” so losing a bit of the Knowle parkland won’t matter! Never mind that it would also change the whole character of the area.

Parks & Recreation grounds ( one of fourteen types of open space identified in the OSS!) are carefully specified as “defined areas of green open space that have been formally laid out for public enjoyment. Typically they will include lawns, flower beds, paths, and occasionally facilities such as toilets or a food stand. (This includes public parks and gardens such as Connaught Gardens or The Knowle in Sidmouth, (as well as privately owned formal gardens that are open to the public such as Killerton Gardens in Broadclyst.”)

The officer’s claim that all 13+ha of the Byes fit this definition is wrong – (despite it being endorsed as he says by “professionals”.) He claims that, because they are “managed” they must fit. The specification does not mention “managed”: it specifies being “formally laid out” and “will include lawns & flower beds”, characteristics notable by their absence throughout the area generically referred to locally as The Byes.

More than half of the area shown on the Council’s own map as The Byes is in fact owned and managed by the SVA as a wild flower area with woodland & pond and 2.25ha of Sid Meadow within the Byes are owned by the National Trust who have said that they are managed as natural grassland and are in fact recorded on your Asset Database as Open Space. The OSS has separate standards of provision for areas such as these.

Putting these sections of The Byes into their correct designation as natural & semi-natural green space means that there is no surplus of P & R in Sidmouth – in fact there is less than even the minimum suggested standard..

An oversupply of parkland in Sidmouth? | Save Our Sidmouth

It was brought up again at the local plan session with the Inspector on 28th February:

Examination in Public of EDDC’s Local Plan.. some highlights from this week’s hearings

February 28, 2014 by sidmouthsid 1 Comment

The Climate Change hearing yesterday (Thursday 27th Feb) is summarised here:http://eastdevonalliance.org/2014/02/28/an-inspector-calls-on-climate-change-policy-at-eddc/

Today’s session was on Open Space, Leisure and Community Facilities. Interestingly, of the seven developer or development-related organisations that had registered to speak only one turned up! So we were all done by 11.0am and Mr Thickett,the Inspector, wished us all a good weekend.

The main reason for going for some members of the public, was to ensure that it is the revised version of the Open Space Study that will be the reference, and not the OSS 2012 version. This seemed to have been taken on board, although some observers were not much impressed by Graeme Thompson’s performance. Readers of this blog will recall that Peter Whitfield of Save our Sidmouth was originally promised that the wrong Byes classification would be corrected at the October Development Management Committee (DMC). But it then became part of a much larger revision process which has yet to be completed and put to DMC for ratification. Mr Whitfield says, “We shall need to be wary in the meantime of any attempts to encroach on Parks and Recreation Grounds, or any of the five other classifications of open space in which Sidmouth has a deficiency against standards, by any planning applications.”

Examination in Public of EDDC’s Local Plan.. some highlights from this week’s hearings | Save Our Sidmouth

For an overview of the state of natural places in Devon:

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