Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has. Margaret Mead

Planning inspector will report back on EDDC Local Plan by end of March

Friday, 14 March 2014 23 Comments by Claire

We won’t have too long to wait before the inspector reports back on EDDC’s local plan.

This morning, I understand that Mr Thickett, who was speaking at his last session this morning, confirmed that he would report back on the plan and possibly what changes need to be made, by 31 March.


1. At 04:54 pm on 14th Mar Phil Wakely wrote:

So that is why the planning committee is meeting on 25th March to discuss the development at West Clyst on the edge of Pinhoe for an additional 450 houses, which was not included in the original Local Plan and has a recommendation in the Committee Notes to ‘put little weight on the Local Plan’ and Approve. A clear case of ‘get it in before the Plan is formalised’.

2. At 05:28 pm on 14th Mar Claire wrote:

Hi Phil, Is this the one where the developer wants to knock down a pub to build a wider road?  I wasn’t present at the “West End” session so I don’t know what the planning inspector said about this proposal, even if he considered it, but you are right, this planning application is not in the adopted local plan nor draft new local plan.  If the only reason to approve it (I see it is recommended for approval) is because of the lack of housing supply, that is an extremely poor reason.  Very best of luck with it.

3. At 07:15 am on 15th Mar Phil Wakely wrote:

Hi Claire. It is indeed that application. I think we need all of the luck we can get, but I fear it is a forgone conclusion.  You have concerns, quite reasonably, about the plight of Feniton, but Pinhoe (or rather ‘Greater Pinhoe’ if you consider that Pinhoe, Monkerton, West Clyst and Blackhorse will effective become one large dormitory town) will have grown some 800% between 1990 and 2020 once all of the proposed developments are complete.

4. At 08:44 am on 15th Mar Roger Giles wrote:

What was apparent during the East Devon Local Plan EIP was the lack of involvement of EDDC councillors. The LP is a vitally important piece of work which will establish how much development there should be in East Devon, and where it should go – yet there was minimal councillor participation. Councillor observation of proceedings was little better.     
At the EDDC meeting on 26 February, Paul Diviani and other Conservative councillors made a series of personal criticisms (including false allegations) of myself and Claire Wright for not attending all the briefing sessions on the EDDC relocation project. Paul Diviani accused us of “skulking”.
But Knowle-watchers expecting similar criticisms of EDLP EIP non-attenders at the next EDDC meeting are likely to be disappointed, as The Leader was conspicuous by his absence at the Local Plan inquiry.

5. At 12:49 pm on 15th Mar Jessica Bailey wrote:

I cannot understand why EDDC councillors largely failed to attend to represent their constituents. Surely attending the inspection and representing constituents would be about the most important duty during a councillor’s entire tenure. Was there an edict suggesting that conservative councillors should not attend? As for Paul Diviani not attending a single session, if this is correct then this is extremely poor.

6. At 11:46 pm on 15th Mar Margaret Hall wrote:

There were several so-called “omission sites” discussed at the West End session. It was quite worrying, with multiple developers outlining their sites which they thought should be included in the Local Plan. The Inspector allowed only EDDC to speak to defend the non-inclusion of the sites, except Rockbeare Parish Council who were allowed to speak on the SLP site that would fill the green wedge between Rockbeare and Cranbrook. No wonder SLP wanted green wedges removed from the Plan!
The other sites were:
Old Park Phase 2 site at Westclyst,
Redhayes/Mosshayne beside the already approved North of Blackhorse site,
Possible southwest extension to Cranbrook
Greenbrook - the proposed development on the A3052 between Hill Barton & Greendale Industrial estates.
The Inspector was not giving anything away as to his views on these. Together they would provide thousands of more houses.

7. At 08:33 pm on 16th Mar Ian Thomas wrote:

East Devon Local Plan Hearings with Inspector Anthony Thickett were completed on Friday 14th March 2014 with a session on ‘Omission Sites and Built up Area Boundaries’.

Mr Thickett started the Hearing Session with the clear statement “We are dealing today with sites put forward by developers which the council has decided NOT to include within the strategic allocation of Local Plan housing”.

Mr Thickett added “...if I conclude from earlier sessions in the Local Plan Inspection that the housing numbers proposed by East Devon District Council look ‘OK’, then I will look no further, and the sites discussed this morning will NOT feature in my final report”.

He then concluded that “.... If I find the housing numbers proposed by EDDC are not sound, then I will look first to the Council for a response.”

The Inspector stressed to East Devon Council Officers, but more directly developers and agents present that in the event of his concluding the housing numbers proposed are not sound, he would consider sites discussed this morning. Consideration would be on the basis they are ‘competing with each other’. He indicated a did wish not to hear ‘my site is better than yours’ which was broadly respected throughout the hearing session.

Mr Thickett indicated that the Council should expect a response by 31st March 2014. The response would either be his report, or an indication of what further work will be required. I believe that this will be published on the Council’s website.

This note above lifted from an article on my personal website. I found Mr Thicketts clarity in this session particularly helpful, and thought others might similarly?


8. At 09:34 pm on 16th Mar Sandra Semple wrote:

How many of these sites are owned/optioned by former EDBF members?

9. At 03:52 pm on 17th Mar Sandra Semple wrote:

Was this an omission site discussed at that meeting - if so, why is it being rushed through at a special meeting before the Inspector’s report.  If it was not an omission site, why is it being rushed through at a special meeting before the Inspector’s report? Surely, it could not have been such a site as it would not have been ready to go to DMC by 25 March?  Why does it merit its own “special” meeting?  Is it owned by a former EDBF member?

10. At 04:57 pm on 17th Mar Ian Thomas wrote:

The sites included for discussion in the final Hearing were:
SHLAA No (where applicable), then site address. Figures in brackets refer to the submission number from the Local Plan document library. Not all potential sites had the benefit of discussion here as those promoting the sites were not present. Several of these had been discussed previously in the Hearing process:
C046 Land at former railway line, Knowle, Budleigh Salterton; Mr & Mrs A Dance (3264)
C130 Victoria Dairy Farm, Payhembury; Mr R Daymond (6336)
C201 Land south of Otter Close, Tipton St John; Devonshire Homes Ltd (939)
C316 Feniton Acland Park site; Feniton Park Limited (6923)
E035 Cottmead, Branscombe; K & N Brimson (3263)
E083 Land at Street, Branscombe; K & N Brimson (3263)
E333 Gays Farm, Branscombe; Branscombe Parish Council (82)
E084 Land at Bim Bon Lane, Kilmington; Mr & Mrs Hansford (3265)
E089 Dolphin Street, Colyton; Mr & Mrs Seward (3462)
E153 Land at Coly Vale, Colyton; Mr G Pady (3280)
E301 Merlin, Coly Road, Colyford, Colyton; Mr T Vertigan (3271)
E303 The Street, Membury; Mrs P Bond (3267)
W121 Land at Bond’s Lane, Woodbury Salterton; Bicton College (209)
C308 Land adjacent to Littledown Lane, Newton Poppleford; C & M Turner (3268)
W344 Winslade Park,Clyst St Mary; F & C REIT Asset Management Plc c/o Friends Provident (2043)
Land adjacent to Feniton Primary School, Feniton; Strategic Land Partnerships (6299)
Land to the west of Shire Lane, Uplyme (Lyme Regis) ; Pinhay Estate (6207)
Orchard Cross Paddocks, land east of Four Lanes Cross, Dulford; Mr D Gladwin (6020)
Hope this answers your question?

11. At 10:18 pm on 17th Mar Sandra Semple wrote:

Nope, not in a million years - not a single one!  The list implies it is NOT an exception site so why the “special” meeting to rush it through just days before the inspector
reports?  Is a former EDBF member one of the developers?  They seem such
simple questions which need simple answers not a list of sites that have
nothing to do with my questions.

12. At 10:40 pm on 17th Mar Damien Mills wrote:

There’s now a story about this on the Express & Echo website:

A district council spokesperson justifies considering these applications ahead of the Planning Inspector’s verdict on the local plan on the basis that, ‘… otherwise they would not be considered within the Government’s specified 13-week period which would put the council at risk of an appeal.’

Like Phil Wakely, I think this is a red herring as the Town and Country Planning [Development Management Procedure] [England] Order 2010 clearly states that the 13-week period begins the day after the application and any supporting documents are received:

‘A valid application shall be taken to have been received when the application, and such of the documents, particulars or evidence referred to above as are required to be included in, or to accompany, the application have been lodged with the appropriate authority mentioned in article 10(1) and the fee required to be paid has been paid.’

While it is not clear from East Devon’s planning portal when, exactly, the revised application was submitted, it is apparent that the supporting documents were not lodged with the council until Monday, January 6 – see, for instance, documents 1313229 [on Page 2] and 1313227 and 1313228 on Page 3:

On this basis, the Development Management Committee has until April 4 to reach a decision so, why is it we are being encouraged to believe otherwise?!

I would hope this is something Claire could put to the officers at the district council – feel free to point them in the direction of this post if it helps – and let us know their response. Thanks.



13. At 07:53 am on 18th Mar Claire wrote:

Hi Damien, it seems very odd and I cannot make sense of the way this application is being handled. It is difficult for me to ask these questions as this is not my ward. However, Derek Button and Peter Bowden are the ward members for this area. They can be contacted at:  .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or for phone contact details try

14. At 10:03 am on 18th Mar Sandra Semple wrote:

Thank you, Damien, for answering my questions - questions that none of the Tory councillors at East Devon were prepared to answer themselves and one can see why.  I am presuming that “Stuart Partners” are indeed developing there - who were enthusiartic members of EDBF.  And, of course, one recalls the planning scandal of the 1980s which Roy Stuart and Graham Brown were involved in that led to both of them resigning at the time.

It seems that where members of EDBF are concerned we must never expect straight answers to straight questions.  Nor do we seem to be getting a reconvening of the EDDC Task and Finisg group which was supposed to investigate its influence and which might shine some light.  Though, if course, this was halted by the CEO for the duration of the Local Plan hearings in case the Inspector’s ears fell off and it is precluded (also by the CEO) from discussing individual planning applications.

I wonder if this application merits a letter to the Ombudsman from someone living in that area.  Only then might some of the facts about this application come to light such as timing, etc.

And is it not true that there are planning applications at East Devon much older than 13 weeks which have not yet been determined?

15. At 05:17 pm on 18th Mar Margaret Hall wrote:

Just to clarify, Sandra, the Old Park Farm 2 site was discussed as an omission site at the hearing for the West End on 6 March 2014. Mr Thickett made the same introductory remarks as reported by Ian Thomas for the “Rest of East Devon” omission sites hearing - i.e. if the Local Plan numbers are OK, the omission sites (including OPF2) will not be discussed in his report.

16. At 05:30 pm on 18th Mar Sandra Semple wrote:

Thank you also Margaret Hall for answering another of my questions much more clearly than Ian Thomas above.

It is a pretty poor pass when one has to get answers from members of the public about council matters but thank goodness there is enough public interest for this to happen!  (Independent councillors excepted, of course - no wonder you are so harshly treated at Knowle, giving us information!).

17. At 06:51 pm on 18th Mar Damien Mills wrote:

I wonder if Margaret, or someone else, can explain how, exactly, a site becomes an omission site.

In particular, is it at the behest of the landowner? If this is indeed the case – and Stuart Partners Ltd have requested their site be listed as an omission site and considered by the inspector [in the event he is not satisfied with the provision for housing in the Local Plan] – it would seem nonsensical for the DMC to consider this application before Mr Thickett has published his judgement.

If I’m missing something then, please, someone tell me!

18. At 11:19 pm on 18th Mar Margaret Hall wrote:

Yes, Damien - that’s pretty much my understanding. It is an “omission site” because it has been omitted from the Local Plan. It gets discussed at the Examination hearings if the developer/landowner/agent has objected to the Plan because their site has been omitted and they think it should be included. The Inspector has to decide whether the Plan is “sound” without these extra sites, and EDDC has to defend their decision to omit them. That is why the hearings to consider omission sites consist of only the developers/agents and EDDC - other people are considered not to be involved - though as I said above, Rockbeare Parish Council was allowed to object to the SLP site that is in the Green Wedge between Rockbeare and Cranbrook.
There are other examples of Omission sites being considered in advance of the Local Plan Examination - e.g. C201 Land south of Otter Close, Tipton St John; Devonshire Homes Ltd (at appeal)
C316 Feniton Acland Park site; Feniton Park Limited (appeal decision expected April 4th)
and of course other schemes that were never in the Plan have been approved - e.g. Butts Rd Ottery.

19. At 12:22 pm on 19th Mar Damien Mills wrote:


Thanks for that.

Can you tell me, in the instances you cite above [of omission sites being considered in advance of the Local Plan Examination] were they recommended for approval?

I appreciate that the NPPF has a presumption in favour of sustainable development but can’t understand how EDDC’s recommendation for approval on this basis can be reconciled with its omission of this site from the Local Plan allocation. Does the same presumption in favour of sustainable development not come into play when producing a local plan?!

Maybe it’s just me but if anybody can shed any light on this I’d be most grateful!

20. At 02:40 pm on 19th Mar Margaret Hall wrote:

Damien - I need to check on EDDC website, but I can’t at the moment access Planning Documents - the website seems full of bugs at present since the recent upgrade (conspiracy theories?)
From memory - Acland Park, on the most recent application was recommended for approval but refused by the DMC. Tipton St John - I’m not sure - I think it was a delegated refusal following on from the earlier appeal which was dismissed, for a larger scheme.
EDDC’s reasoning, as far as I can understand it, entirely revolves around the lack of 5 year housing supply. They didn’t intend any of these omission sites to be included, nor the sites like Butts Road, Otter, or the Wainhomes site at Feniton, but the Appeals for both of these were allowed because of the lack of 5-year supply. Hence the change in position, and most large schemes that have come forward since have been recommended for approval. This applies to Harepath Road, Seaton, which was recommended for approval, but refused by DMC (though this was a reserve site), and the Ottery Road Feniton site.
Some developers are a bit more persistent and then put the sites forward as omission sites - others seem to have accepted a refusal - for the time being!

21. At 12:29 pm on 20th Mar Malcolm wrote:

All the above suggests that EDDC are treating Mr Thickett and his Inquiry with contempt, as they do residents, in undermining the whole process by the timing of this DMC meeting.

Has Mr Thickett been made aware of this DMC meeting and does he have the authority to order EDDC to postpone it until after he has reported back by 31st March?

When will EDDC planners start to represent the interests of residents and communities instead of continually appearing to support developers, especially those with connections identified above?

22. At 12:41 am on 22th Mar Rose Pengilly wrote:

East Devon District Council have accommodated this Special Development Management Meeting to consider an Outline Planning Application not in the Local Plan and is making an attempt to fast-track a decision.

The Councils reason made in a statement to the press are not true, this is what the guidelines say Determining a planning application:

What are the time periods for determining a planning application?
Paragraph: 001 Reference ID: 21b-001-20140306

Once a planning application has been validated, the local planning authority should make a decision on the proposal as quickly as possible, and in any event within the statutory time limit unless a longer period is agreed in writing with the applicant.

The statutory time limits are usually 13 weeks for applications for major development and eight weeks for all other types of development (unless an application is subject to an Environmental Impact Assessment, in which case a 16 week limit applies).

Where a planning application takes longer than the statutory period to decide, and an extended period has not been agreed with the applicant, the Government’s policy is that the decision should be made within 26 weeks at most in order to comply with the ‘planning guarantee’.

Revision date: 06 03 2014
Paragraph: 002 Reference ID: 21b-002-20140306
What is the Government’s ‘planning guarantee’?

The planning guarantee is the Government’s policy that no application should spend more than a year with decision-makers, including any appeal.

In practice this means that planning applications should be decided in no more than 26 weeks, allowing a similar period for any appeal.

The planning guarantee does not replace the statutory time limits for determining planning applications.
Revision date: 06 03 2014

23. At 07:53 pm on 24th Mar Damien Mills wrote:

Further to my earlier posts on this thread and what Rose has said above, I’ve now spoken to a planning expert who has confirmed what we all suspected.

Regardless of when this planning application was validated, the notion advanced by EDDC in the local press, that it is being held now because otherwise it may fall foul of the 13-week rule is entirely bogus.

I’ve sought to alert the councillor for this area to my concerns but it would appear Cllr Peter Bowden is not a bit interested. I’d suggest that if the council’s rationale for taking this decision at tomorrow’s DMC does not stand up to scrutiny that, having had it brought to his attention, Cllr Bowden has an obligation to to pursue it.

Why, I wonder, is he so unwilling to do so?!

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