Monday, 31 March 2014

Planning and sustainability at East Devon ........................ "No joking matter as DMC decides tomorrow, April 1st."

The latest controversial application for housing in East Devon 
13/1833/MOUT | Construction of 25 dwellings and 20-space car park for village hall (outline application discharging means of access only). | Land At Weeks Farm Talaton Exeter EX5 2RG

Planning Application 13/1833/MOUT, Land At Weeks Farm Talaton Exet... :: East Devon :: Openly Local

... has been recommended for refusal by planning officers - on the grounds that such a development would not be 'sustainable':



The application is in outline seeking approval for the construction of 10 dwellings. The application is seeking to discharge means of access only. This application is being presented to the committee because it needs to be considered along side a further application for 25 dwellings on this site and some adjoining land which also appears on the agenda by virtue of officers taking a contrary view on that application to the ward member. 

The site is slightly divorced from the southern settlement boundary for Talaton and is within the countryside on agricultural land. 

Talaton is a village at the bottom of the hierarchy of where development should go for reasons of sustainability. The emerging New Local Plan allocates Talaton 5 dwellings for the plan period until 2026 and this allocation is met through the resolution to grant planning permission for 6 dwellings at The Firs, Blackdown View. 

The provision of 10 additional dwellings is contrary to the strategy and policies of the adopted Local Plan and the NPPF as it provides for more than local needs in an unsustainable location. Talaton is considered to represent an unsustainable location to provide for more than local needs housing due to its lack of services and facilities. 

Talaton, whilst benefiting from a small shop, church, village hall and public house, does not benefit from any substantial employment provision, recreational facilities, shopping facilities, train station or reasonable public transport. Residents would therefore be reliant upon the use of the car for most of their everyday activities. As such the location for 10 dwellings is considered to be unsustainable. 

There are no concerns regarding flood risk, highways, ecology or impact upon the amenity of surrounding residents and whilst the Parish Council are supportive of the proposal, subject to inclusion of a car park for the nearby village hall, this is not necessary to mitigate any impact from the development and is not offered as part of this application. 


And in further comments, it is clear that, whatever the negative publicity given to the NPPF, it does have at its core the principle of 'sustainable development' - and planning officers at East Devon spell this out:

Although the built-up area boundary policies of the adopted Local Plan do not carry any significant weight in the absence of a 5-year housing land supply, as is currently the case in East Devon, an assessment still needs to be made to establish whether proposals near to the edge of settlements are in a sustainable location given the objectives of the Local Plan and NPPF that seek to locate new development close to facilities and public transport to reduce the need to travel by car and maximise the potential of other modes of transport. 

Moreover, there are three aspects to sustainable development as far as the NPPF is concerned:

The NPPF states that there are three dimensions to sustainable development: economic, social and environmental. The proposal would provide some benefit in terms of jobs and sales from the construction of the houses but there are three dimensions to sustainability. The limited range of facilities in the settlement, very limited employment opportunities and infrequent bus service means that the site is not in the right place to meet the economic role. The restricted services would not reflect the needs of the new occupiers or adequately support its health and social well-being such that the social role would not be suitably addressed. As such, the proposal would not constitute sustainable development and the presumption in favour of sustainable development within the NPPF is not met. 


There is some local political baggage:  

Local District Councillor and member of the planning committee (the DMC) Martin Gammell has declared his support for the application - as have the Parish Council.
Consultee Comments - 13/1833/MOUT

However, the results of the public consultation show the majority of  constituents do not support this application:

17th September 2013
Parish Survey Results relating to development of a 10 /25 house development at Weeks Farm

460 questionnaires were delivered: 228 were returned.
> 108 said No to 10 houses: 81 said Yes to 10 houses
> 113 said No to 25 houses: 104 said yes to 25 houses

Consultee Comments - 13/1833/MOUT

Will the DMC/planning committee follow the officers' recommendation, based on the NPPF's principles of 'sustainable development'...?

The East Devon Alliance has asked for members of the public to attend tomorrow morning's meeting at the District Council:


Please note that the Weeks Farm application is up before EDDC’s Development Management Committee tomorrow morning ,Tuesday 1st April, from 9.30 am, at Knowle.
EDDC officers have recommended this application be refused on the grounds that the development will not be sustainable, given the lack of employment opportunities, access to schools, lack of adequate sewerage capacity, etc. But one local Councillor and DMC member has already declared his support for the application, despite a public consultation which shows the majority of his constituents do not.
The Talaton group would be most grateful if you can spare the time to attend in support of their objections, in their efforts to prevent yet another bad planning decision going ahead in the face of local opposition.
More East Devon farmland to be lost to development? No joking matter, as DMC decides tomorrow, April 1st. | East Devon Alliance

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