This blog has already pointed out the links between the positioning of the Sidford employment land provision in the Local Plan and the influence of the now-defunct East Devon Business Forum:
To quote from the VGS submission to the Local Plan:
EMPLOYMENT LAND: 5 HECTARES: EAST DEVON BUSINESS FORUM
(submitted 8th June 2012)
The influence of the East Devon Business Forum on proposals for employment land and housing in the draft Local Plan should be considered. In January 2007, a Sub-Committee was established by the Forum to consider ‘amending the Atkins report’; this included the Sidmouth business now seeking to develop the proposed 5-hectare site at Sidford.
EAST DEVON DISTRICT COUNCIL
Minutes of the Annual General Meeting of the East Devon Business Forum held at East Devon Business Centre, Honiton on Thursday 25 January 2007
3 Matters Arising
Graham Brown reported that he had attended a meeting with the Corporate Director – Environment to discuss the preliminary findings of the Atkins Report.
The findings included the conclusion that East Devon did not need as much employment land as East Devon Business Forum had recommended.
Forum members discussed how the findings of the Atkins Report would be amended as they were not in step with East Devon’s needs.
The issue of the employment land availability and the Atkins Report would be considered at the meeting of the Business Forum on 19 April 2007.
A Sub Committee of the Business Forum would need to investigate employment land availability, where there was potential for growth and where the business community would like to see development take place.
There was also debate around whether the employment land identified in the Atkins Report was ‘fit for purpose’.
The first redrafted report would shortly be available for members to see.
RESOLVED that a Sub Committee consisting Graham Brown, Donovan Galling, Nigel Harrison, Tim Ford, Roy Stuart and Claire James or Louise Mayor be established to discuss the issue of availability of employment land in East Devon.
It appears that a group of business people comprising this Forum reviewed the publicly-funded Atkins Report and then determined that the employment land provisions were insufficient; they subsequently proceeded to derive their own projections, which the District Council then adopted as "evidence" for the increased employment land figure which ensued:
EAST DEVON DISTRICT COUNCIL
Minutes of the Annual General Meeting of the East Devon “Business Forum held at East Devon Business Centre, Honiton on Thursday 31 January 2008
3 Matters Arising
Update on Employment Land Issues (Min no 36 refers)
2 Members noted that the work the Business Forum had done on the Atkins Report had made an enormous difference to the final report prepared by the Employment Land Issues Task and Finish Forum.
This had been accepted by the Executive Board.
The report was now being used by the Development Control Committee as a base when considering planning applications for employment land.
The report had highlighted key issues and themes that had been addressed and examined.
It was noted that the report would help set an agenda to inform future employment land provision in respect to future planning policy and development decisions (particularly in relation to land supply shortfalls).
Futures Forum: Sidford business park > Fords planning application >>> 16/0669/MOUT >>> the applicant, the East Devon Business Forum and lobbying for more employment land
Meanwhile, the more recent comments on the Streetlife thread on the planning application at Sidford explore the possible business connections:
Streetlife | Can they really get away with it?
And here is pertinent comment from the East Devon Watch blog:
LETTER TO SIDMOUTH HERALD EDITED – DO YOU AGREE?
18 SEP 2016
The writer of this letter had one crucial sentence (the last one, in bold) taken out by Sidmouth Herald where it was recently published:
“In last Friday’s Sidmouth Herald a short letter I had submitted for the Opinion page was printed – but minus its final sentence, thus taking away its punch line.
The letter submitted said:- ”
The Chairman of the Sidmouth Town Council Planning Committee is reported as telling the Planning meeting considering the Sidford Business Park that “It’s in the Local Plan. We have to fight the details”.
It only remains in the Local Plan because the EDDC voted, on 26 March 2015, to remove it – but in apparent ignorance of the fact that, the plan having already been submitted to the Inspector, they needed to send him evidence to support their decision. None was sent!
It is now up to us to overcome this incompetence. We have to challenge not just the details but the whole principle of building a Business Park ( a fancy name for an Industrial Estate!) on this site and on this scale.”
THIS IS THE MISSING SENTENCE CUT BY SIDMOUTH HERALD:
The proposal is yet another toxic legacy of the late, but unlamented, East Devon Business Forum.
Do you agree with this censorship?
Letter to Sidmouth Herald edited – do you agree? | East Devon Watch