Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Sustainable Development: and 300 houses for Gittisham

Looking back at an earlier posting on this blog
Futures Forum: Sustainable Development: and East Devon
... according to the District Council's own definition of 'sustainable development', it should include "social, environmental and economic aspects":

In the 15th February report to the District Council's DMC (or planning committee), which considered its Five Year Land Supply, 'sustainable' was mentioned a dozen times.

Recommendation 5. “Notes the need to grant planning approval for high quality development proposals in appropriate locations, compatible with Council objectives and strategy, to help address land supply shortfall and address the objectives of securing sustainable development.

Future Action
7.1 But ensuring adequate and appropriate land supply will be a positive reason to use to support good development schemes that will help contribute to the social, environmental and economic aspects of sustainable development (in some cases even where development lies outside of but typically abutting or very close to Built-up Area Boundaries). Sustainable development runs to the core of the NPPF and Government planning policy.
7.2 There are a number of larger planning applications with the Council, or expected soon, that should (in principle) be compatible with the current and emerging objectives of the Council and also the Government sustainable development agenda as set out in the NPPF.

However, to cite one example, the Planning Champion at Lympstone Parish Council expressed grave doubts about this in the context of planning applications in his parish: www.lympstone.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/EDDC-5YLS-Summary.pdf
[And yet, the notion of 'sustainability' is clearly central to EDDC policy considerations in the area of planning: in the full agenda of the 15th February planning meeting, it was cited 78 times: www.eastdevon.gov.uk/combined_dmc_agenda_050213.pdf]

'Sustainability' is also central to longer-term planning at East Devon. 

In the Council Plan 2012-16, the forward states that: 
We will deliver a sustainable working legacy to our future generations. In the introduction it is declared that: we must look after our residents’ need for jobs and homes and will continue to plan for a sustainable future. 

In the section 'living in an outstanding place', it states that:
Balanced communities are key to a sustainable future, which is why we are investing in this area. We recognise that to meet the needs of young people in the district, we need to provide sites for affordable housing and improve job opportunities

EDDC has a Sustainable Community Strategy (Plan). The Plan’s objectives include the creation of ‘a vibrant working environment where community and economic activity improve and sustain our distinctive communities' environment and cultural heritage.’
[with regard to Seaton]

Most importantly to date, the proposed Local Plan 2012-26 deals at length with 'sustainable development':

East Devon Sustainable Community Plan and Sustainable Communities ® 6.21
3.14 The East Devon Sustainable Community Plan 5 has help inform the Local Plan and we have taken it into account in helping to think about sustainable development but we have based our holistic approach to sustainable development on the Egan report and the report of the World Commission on Environment and Development 1987 (Brundtland report). In 
addition to consideration of housing, jobs and environment, this includes social inclusion, accessibility, health, culture, leisure and community safety in planning policies so that no resident is disadvantaged relative to another. The Brundtland report advised that “Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own need”. Sustainable development can be diagrammatically presented as three interlocking circles.


Sustainable Development, Balanced Communities and Securing Employment, Social and Community Facilities ® 6.44
6.18 As overarching guidance we have set out below what we mean by sustainable development and balanced communities and how these terms relate to housing, employment, demographic considerations and social, educational, commercial and community facilities. As a starting point for thinking about sustainable development we consider that the report of the World Commission on Environment and Development of 1987 (often referred to as the Brundtland report) provides the best starting definition:
“Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”.
Strategy 3 - Sustainable Development: ® 6.45
The objective of ensuring sustainable development is central to our thinking. We interpret sustainable development in East Devon to mean that the following issues and their interrelationships are taken fully into account when considering development:
a) Conserving and Enhancing the Environment - which includes ensuring development is undertaken in a way that minimises harm and enhances biodiversity and the quality and character of the landscape. This includes reducing the risk of flooding by incorporating measures such as sustainable drainage systems. Developers should maximise the proportion of their developments that take place on previously developed land
b) Prudent natural resource use - which includes minimising fossil fuel use therefore reducing carbon dioxide emissions. It also includes minimising resource consumption, reusing materials and recycling. Renewable energy development will be encouraged
c) Promoting social wellbeing - which includes providing facilities to meet people's needs such as health care, affordable housing, recreation space and village halls.
d) Encouraging sustainable economic development - which includes securing jobs.
e) Taking a long term view of our actions - Ensuring that future generations live in a high quality environment where jobs, facilities, education and training are readily available.

In light of this, the deferral of the decision to build 300 houses at Gittisham near Honiton
Decision deferred on land west of Hayne Lane, Gittisham | Susie Bond
Further delay in determining application for 300 homes on edge of Honiton | Susie Bond
Last-minute comments mean plan for 300 homes is deferred (From Mid Devon Star)
HONITON:Homes plan could still be scrapped - View from Sidmouth

... has raised serious questions about the 'sustainability' of the project, as highlighted by the East Devon Alliance today:


15 July 2014
Developers want to build more than 300 houses on the outskirts of Honiton along the country lanes between Honiton and Gittisham. This planning application has gone like a ping-pong ball at DMC meetings.
So many, many questions!
Why was the warning of Councillor Claire Wright (which predicted exactly these problems in November 2013) not heeded? Surely not because she does not belong to the majority party because, of course, as we all know, planning is not a party issue:
Why was this originally recommended for approval when even the Secretary of State at the Department for Communities and Local Government has said it is so controversial it will need to go to him for determination?
Why, given that so many of our councillors have “two hats” and serve on local AONBs (and boast about it) did they not object earlier?
Why did officers not take into account the effect of this development on health service education and local infrastructure?
The Chief Executive NOW says:
“Further consideration and discussion needs to take place. As a result I would like to recommend that Members defer this application to enable this further work to be carried out. The matter to then be reported back to the committee at a future date when all of the necessary information and professional advice can be made available to Members in the officer’s report so that a fully informed decision can be made.”
So what has changed since this development was recommended for approval?
Who ARE Welbeck Strategic Land LLP – they seem to have appeared all over the country with their reductive compass and square logo, shoving in similar speculative applications just about everywhere? Why is its original planning application form so devoid of information (no information about the types of houses, parking, no waste storage or collection information, etc.? If people can put a planning application in with so little information how can a DMC make a decision about it?
Development at Gittisham: some strange goings-on | East Devon Alliance

The point being that comments expressing grave concern about the proposed development from the likes of Natural England, the Blackdown Hills and East Devon AONB partnerships, the NHS and Devon County Council as Education authority all amount to substantial questions about the balance of the "social, environmental and economic aspects" of 'sustainable development'.

For details, see the District Council's press release:

Last-minute comments mean plan for 300 homes is deferred

Friday 11 July
An East Devon District Council committee today (Friday) unanimously voted to defer a decision on a proposal for up to 300 new homes off Hayne Lane, Honiton, in the parish of Gittisham.
The decision came after late submissions from official bodies asked to comment on the possible impact of the new homes.
EDDC’s Development Management Committee (DMC) had referred the application to the Site Inspections Committee on 3 April and later that month the latter committee resolved to approve the proposal.
Since then, concerns have been raised by the EDDC ward member, Councillor Susie Bond, and by Gittisham Parish Council about the degree of consideration given to the possible impact on Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. EDDC’s Chief Executive ruled that the resolution should not be acted upon and that the Site Inspections Committee should meet again on 11 July to address the particular concerns.
East Devon District Council - News

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