Thursday, 22 May 2014

East Devon Alliance: AGM: reports ..................................... and the case of 350 houses in AONB

Last week the EDA held its AGM:
Futures Forum: East Devon Alliance: AGM: Friday 16th May

The View from Sidmouth carries a report:

Pulmans View from Sidmouth - digital edition

And here is the orginal piece on the EDA website: 


EDA AGM – Chairman’s Report:
The East Devon Alliance held its Annual General Meeting in Colyford on Friday 16th May. The evening was opened by retiring chairman Ian McKintosh with an overview of the EDA’s activities in the last year. These have ranged from support for major planning appeals in the district to contributing verbally and in writing to key planning enquiries, both locally and nationally. Ian also reported on the ‘progress’ of the investigation into ex-Cllr Graham Brown.
Election of Officers for 2014/15 then took place. Committee member
Paul Arnott was elected to be Chairman.
John Withrington was elected to stay on as Vice Chairman.
Nicky King also stays on as Secretary.
Sheila Smith was elected as new Treasurer.
The new chairman thanked Ian McKintosh for his energetic and astute leadership in the foundation of the East Devon Alliance, and also thanked retiring Treasurer Ron Roberts for putting sound financial structures in place for the EDA to build on. The meeting was pleased to note that both will continue to work with the EDA.
In his opening comments, the chairman outlined the many problems in East Devon in the current planning context. It is widely understood now that democratic practices by the governing entity are gravely insufficient to meet the current crisis created by EDDC’s failure to satisfy the Inspector with its proposed Local Plan, a failure made more acute by the government’s National Planning Policy Framework.
However, he emphasised that in the coming period when a planning free-for-all might be feared, examples represented in the room from Feniton, Talaton and Colyford/Seaton showed that major applications could still be defeated on “sustainability” grounds.
The discussion was opened to the floor, and largely centred on a forthcoming application in the Uplyme parish, where an overspill development is mooted in the AONB near Rousdon. Those potentially worst affected live a few yards into West Dorset, where they worry that Lyme councillors and West Dorset councillors are all in favour. Their plight is worsened by findings in the recent Inspector’s response to EDDC’s Local Plan, where he criticised the failure of EDDC to work with West Dorset to identify and meet housing need. No sooner was this finding made, than this new proposed plan arose. It was felt that Uplyme Parish Council will need to help defend their area, as will EDDC Councillor Ian Thomas and MPs Oliver Letwin and Neil Parish, who may be mindful of this being an election year .It was generally considered that all EDA members and those attending benefitted from this exchange of views and experiences.
Concerns were also raised from the floor about the disproportionate number of complaints being processed by EDDC against Independent councillors at every level, while complaints against those connected to the ruling party seem rarely to be green lit for further investigation. A discussion was had on Thursday’s pushing through at the EDDC Overview and Scrutiny Committee of proposed speaking restrictions at EDDC Development Management Committee meetings, and on the new plans to restrict councillors’ freedom to table motions.
It was considered that there are two key actions for the way ahead. The first is to tackle unwelcome overdevelopment applications as they arise, and support each other across the district in a context where councillors may not always be relied upon to act in the public interest rather than in those of their own allies. The second is that for real, sustainable changes to be effected at EDDC, many Independent council candidates will need to come forward in May 2015.
Thanks are due to our hosts at Colyford Memorial Hall for an excellent facility, and apologies that we seem to have completely run down their wireless microphone batteries after two hours of enthusiastic debate.
EDA AGM – Chairman’s Report 2014 | East Devon Alliance

Subsequently, it seems that the issues of building at Uplyme and 'cooperation' are being addressed:


A welcome respose from East Devon District Councillor Ian Thomas inreaction to local and EDA concern about the proposals for 350 houses in the AONB near Uplyme. This would take overspill from West Dorset.
Some of what is included in Ian’s blog is about the grey areas of  Village Plans and the SHLAA (Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessments).  Some EDA members have direct experience of these processes being heavily and unduly influenced by councillors not declaring interests.
However, we are where we are. At least there is some evidence  emerging of timescales for presenting properly sourced evidence back to the Planning Inspector.
Uplyme, AONB, and the future of cross-district co-operation | East Devon Alliance
Trinitymatters.co.uk website of Cllr Ian Thomas EDDC - Local Plan Update - East Devon and West Dorset, Duty to Cooperate...
The “duty to co-operate” – how abour some co-operation to take OUR overspill now? | East Devon Alliance
East Devon Alliance welcomes dialogue with local councillor for Uplyme | East Devon Alliance
A3052 today, Uplyme and Rousdon tomorrow – another Cranbrook? | East Devon Alliance
View From Online - News from West Dorset, East Devon & South Somerset
Residents' shock at 'sudden' 350-home exhibition (From Bridport and Lyme Regis News)

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