Wednesday, 11 June 2014

“We are determined to fight on”: SOS update part 2 .......... the Local Plan

Following on from the posting reproducing the first part of today's Save Our Sidmouth statement
Futures Forum: “We are determined to fight on”: SOS update part 1: Knowle

... here is the concluding part which considers the SOS position on the District Council's draft Local Plan, together with concluding remarks:

2. Local Plan. 

Government Planning regulations stipulate that Councils responsible for planning matters must have a local plan in place. This Plan has to allow for development over several decades. A succession of drafts of the EDDC Local Plan have been put forward over the last few years, each one with numerous errors and omissions.

EDDC’s ‘final’ draft, incorporating numerous changes which they described as ‘minor’, was submitted to the Government’s Planning Inspectorate last year. These changes were rejected by the appointed Inspector, because he found them to be ‘major’ and this required further public consultation (and expenditure).

The revised Plan was subsequently submitted, and a Public Examination into the Plan started in February this year. Because of the degree of objection to the proposals for Sidmouth, the Inspector allocated it a whole day – no other town had more than half a day.
We were represented by Charlie Hopkins, a well known local planning advocate.
Just before the end of March 2014, in what was a major indictment of EDDC after all the time and money they had invested, the Inspector informed EDDC that many aspects of the Local Plan were unsound, particularly Housing predictions, on which Employment figures are based. He said that EDDC had to re-examine their data and prepare yet another revision of the Plan, incurring further expenditure.

SOS have always maintained that:

–the 5 hectare Employment Site (planned between Sidford and Sidbury) is unnecessary as demand has not been proved, and it should not be in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

EDDC have in any case not carried out all the necessary statutory tests

The land is subject to flooding and the roads nearby cannot accommodate the generated traffic

Any expansion could be accommodated on the existing Alexandria Road Industrial Estate

–the EDDC relocation from the Knowle is unwarranted

–EDDC’s public ‘consultations’ on each draft of the Plan were illusory as EDDC never made any significant changes to the Plan in response to logical and well-reasoned comments and objections

We are expecting a draft of the revised Local Plan later this year, when we will again oppose any developments in the AONB and the housing at the Knowle.


EDDC has wasted huge amounts of public money in their plans for relocation of their HQ and in the preparation of the Local Plan, , SOS maintain that inefficiencies and incompetence in EDDC has cost local taxpayers hundreds of thousands of pounds.

We have achieved a great deal in the two years that we have been in existence; We have:

Demonstrated EDDC incompetence in preparation of Planning issues
Shown that arrogance and a failure to listen drive the EDDC agenda
Forced a revision and reduction in their Knowle proposals
Argued strongly that both their Knowle proposals and Local Plan proposals are flawed. This has been demonstrated by their changes to the former, and the Inspector’s rejection of the latter.

We are determined to fight on.

Richard Thurlow Chair of SOS
(Sid Vale Association, Sidmouth Chamber of Commerce, Knowle Resident’s Association, Futures Forum, Sidmouth Hospitality) 

SOS Update: “We are determined to fight on”. | Save Our Sidmouth

This is the statement of intent from SOS two years ago:
The Sid Valley is under threat | Save Our Sidmouth

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