Friday, 4 April 2014

East Devon draft Local Plan is rejected ..... but the Leader is "relaxed about the extra work" that will have to be done ..... or: "operating in purely imaginary worlds" .....

Following on from the news that the Inspector has in fact asked the District Council to rewrite its draft Local Plan
Futures Forum: Public Examination of the New East Devon Local Plan ... report published today Thurs 3rd April ...

... the District Council has issued a press release:

Local Plan: EDDC given more time to confirm housing volume need

EDDC is to be given more time to provide additional evidence as to the volume of housing that is right for the district looking ahead over the next two decades. That’s the key message from a preliminary letter to the council from a planning inspector examining East Devon’s draft Local Plan.

In a letter to the council’s planning policy team, to be released at 5pm on Thursday 3 April, Inspector Anthony Thickett explains that the information he collected in a three-week enquiry at the beginning of the year did not fully cover all the bases.

He cannot therefore find the current version of the Local Plan to be ‘sound’.

East Devon District Council - News

The District Council has to work within the national framework - in which case, Independent Cllr Claire Wright has urged central government to look again at the whole NPPF:
Our MPs must act urgently over developer friendly national planning policy framework

And yet there are serious questions as to how the District Council itself is responsible for this sorry state of affairs:

Diviani local plan verdict “pretty much what we expected.” “I am relaxed about the extra work.”

Thursday, 03 April 2014 2 Comments by Claire

I was a bit surprised to read Cllr Diviani’s comments in the EDDC press release, link and text below ..... if he expected the result why did the conservative leadership endorse the local plan for submission?


1. At 10:45 am on 04th Apr Damien Mills wrote:

Back in October, Cllr Helen Parr, chair of the Development Management Committee, said: ‘We want to follow – and be seen to follow – due process, but we also want to finalise our new planning policy document just as soon as we can.’

That being the case, it seems foolhardy in the extreme to have submitted such a fundamentally flawed document and, moreover, makes Cllr Diviani’s assertion that this was only to be expected and is not something with which we should, apparently, be unduly concerned all the more risible.

Neighbouring councils may well have experienced delays but, to the best of my knowledge, none of them have failed as miserably in this task as East Devon. The reality, lest we forget amidst all the spin, is that three years after the 2006-11 Local Plan elapsed, the council has yet to get past first base.

Mr Thickett hasn’t, as we’re being encouraged to believe, said the Local Plan needs a bit of tweaking, he’s said the lack of evidence for the housing figure on which it is predicated – a basic prerequisite of the National Planning Policy Framework – means, until such time as this is delivered, he can’t even contemplate commenting on the detail.

In the meantime, the absence of a Local Plan means there’s a presumption in favour of sustainable development and the East Devon we all know and love is under threat like never before.

It would be nice to think someone might hold their hand up and take responsibility for this abject failure to deliver a Local Plan, to the detriment of the East Devon countryside and everyone who lives there. There are plenty of people at the Knowle earning serious sums of money. Surely to God, the buck has to stop with one of them?!

As an aside, take a look at the press release out out by the council yesterday:

The headline [EDDC given more time to confirm housing volume need] takes us all for fools. Mr Thickett hasn’t given the council more time; rather he’s ruled the foundations on which its Local Plan was built are so shaky that he cannot contemplate giving it the green light. Hardly the same thing.

2. At 03:08 pm on 04th Apr Robert Crick wrote:

The admirable Inspector’s brief summary of his perception picks out as highlights: that EDDC planning data is fatally flawed and not evidence-based; that their policies are worthless; that the persistent demands of the citizens that they take note of the findings of the consultants they employed at our expense are totally vindicated; and that adjoining Districts have been sucked into the black hole of East Devon’s vacuous vacuum.

The beloved Leader claims that the problems of adjoining planning Districts, created by EDDC’s failure to cooperate with them are evidence that there is nothing to worry about in this scathing condemnation of EDDC incompetence and waste.

Our neighbours are already celebrating this vindication as a victory for common sense but, as we know, thanks to the NPPF this is really a disaster for East Devon communities. The day of reckoning must come in due course but will it be too late?

Diviani local plan verdict “pretty much what we expected.” “I am relaxed about the extra work.”

The comments by the Leader of the District Council
“In the circumstances I am relaxed about the extra work we have to do."
seem to indicate a mismatch between vision and reality.

Or, in the words of systems theorist Kenneth Boulding:
“the larger and more authoritarian the organization, the better the chance that its top decision-makers will be operating in purely imaginary worlds.” 
P2P Foundation's blog » Blog Archive » Authority Creates Stupidity

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