Mark Wilson CEO Aviva – Let’s be clear, no defences, no development Continue reading
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EAST DEVON DISTRICT COUNCIL PLANNERS RECOMMEND DEVELOPMENT ON HIGH RISK FLOOD ZONES AT WINSLADE PARK, CLYST ST MARY The latest hybrid planning application (16/2460/MOUT) from Friends Life Limited/Aviva for 150 dwellings, plus employment and new workplace units at Winslade Park … Continue reading
The abandoned Winslade Park site at Clyst St Mary is a sad reflection of a once vibrant employment site
Why would the Insurance Group abandon to dereliction, dilapidation, disrepair and deterioration what (until recently) would have been considered, by many, to be one of the most sought after idyllic, rural employment sites in this area? The answer lies in the Group’s future vision for a substantial re-development of the entire site primarily for residential purposes. What better way to grab everyone’s attention than to let the area “go to rack and ruin” so that ultimately a decision must be made on the future of the site.
In and around 2013, there were initial discussions that 500 houses could be accommodated on this large site, on both green open parkland and sports fields and previously developed areas, known in planning terms as ‘brownfield sites’. However, such inappropriate proposals resulted in extensive objections from the residents who successfully protected the green open parkland and fields from inclusion in East Devon’s Development Plan to 2031. It could be foreseen that their small rural village with the limited services of a small school, one shop with post office, a pub and a garage could metamorphose into a town which would not only lose the special identity and character of the village but such disproportionate growth would detrimentally affect the social cohesion of the community, which was valued by all of the existing residents. Furthermore, such expansion would be considered unsustainable and inappropriate under national and local planning legislation and policies.
Planning Applications for around 300 houses were refused permission but East Devon Planning Authority had allocated up to 150 dwellings on the brownfield areas in their Development Plan to 2031 because they needed to prove sufficient future housing quotas over a five year period for the whole of East Devon to validate the Local Plan for adoption and the allocation of 150 dwellings at Clyst St Mary certainly assisted in reaching the required target figure!
Normally, under good planning practice, such excessive numbers would never be contemplated for a small village; but East Devon Planners created a proviso under Strategy 26B in the Local Plan that Winslade Park “formed an exception to policy for development at villages in East Devon as otherwise set out in the Plan”; leaving the village disadvantaged and outside of the protection of planning laws and guidelines specifically in place to safeguard its future.
The residents are not NIMBYs and the community is socially inclusive, being aware that people need somewhere to live. Consequently Clyst St Mary has already approved nearly 100 new dwellings with 80 houses currently under construction by Cavanna Homes plus a smaller development at Bridge House in the old village centre. However, currently the cumulative figure for approved and allocated new housing now totals almost 250 dwellings, when other villages and towns have more proportionate allocations and some have no allocations whatsoever!
The current planning application is provisionally scheduled for presentation to East Devon Development Management Committee on Monday 2nd October 2017, although many residents feel arbitration is necessary. They intend to make their voices heard on the unsuitability of both the hybrid application and the continuing emphasis by the Authority that a Development Plan cannot be adapted and modified to secure sustainable development for this community.
Consequently, the abandonment is not solely restricted to the Winslade Park redundant office complex because the residents of Clyst St Mary also feel they and their village have been abandoned in favour of proposals for unsustainable over-development. They fear that this current application will be the precursor to encroachment on to the open parkland and sports fields and once that is secured the village of Clyst St Mary will cease to exist. Could there be a more inspired, desirable vision for the future of this abandoned site at Winslade Park? Those people who actually live in this village truly hope for one.
Yesterday brought a very big surprise! Grindle Brook became a raging torrent. As these pictures dramatically show parts of the Friends Provident site are flood plain!
Over the past year many Clyst St Mary residents have raised serious concerns regards flooding in and around the Friends Provident site. Here is the proof their concerns are well founded.
We have been assured by both the Environment Agency and EDDC that the risk has been fully assessed and that mitigating measures are in the development plans. Really?
Are these the same sort of Environment Agency measures that have failed to spectacularly this winter in Northern England and Southern Scotland?
Building dwellings on these low lying areas will result in misery and financial ruin for the future occupants.
With the evidence of these photographs what insurance company will be prepared to insure the houses once built?
No amount of flood prevention measures are going to change the fact that there are low lying areas scheduled for house building that are prone to flooding.
Yet another reason to find a more appropriate new use for this site. Or at least put the plans on hold until the Environment Agency has carried out a fundamental review of the increased risk and come up with a fresh flood prevention plan.
Overwhelming our village with hundreds of new homes adjacent to a flood plain and one of the worst traffic choke points in Devon is a bad idea in so many respects.
The burning question for 2016 is whether EDDC will have the will t0 resist the massive pressure being placed upon them by the developers to approve their plans?
As you will be aware, today was the day the Development Management Committee met at EDDC to discuss the Local Plan.
This had great significance for Clyst St Mary, given that it had been proposed that both the Winslade Park area and the green field owned by the Plymouth Brethren would be used for the village’s allocation of an additional 200 houses.
22 members of our group met last Monday and discussed our key arguments against this which were to be delivered at today’s meeting.
We are thrilled to announce that, following today’s Committee meeting, it was unanimously agreed by the 15 councillors present to reject the green field proposal and reduce the housing allocation for Winslade Park to 150 in total.
A massive thank you to everyone who attended last Monday’s meeting, including the seven brave souls who spoke so passionately and articulately today, as well as all those local residents who turned up simply to offer moral support. It really was greatly appreciated.
Whilst this was only a hearing for the Local Plan – not a hearing for the specific applications to which we have all objected – it does give us hope for the future. Things certainly appear now to be less bleak than they did ten days ago!
Rest assured, with your support, we will continue to fight in a dignified, professional and open manner to unite and preserve our village community.
For more information and interviews on this post please contact Peter Simmonds at firstname.lastname@example.org
There has been a significant development regarding the Clyst St Mary planning applications of which you need to be aware.
We have been advised that East Devon District Council, in its amended Local Plan, has now stated that our village is to take an additional 200 new homes (on top of the 95 that we have already agreed to.) Moreover, the Friends Provident and Plymouth Brethren sites are the proposed locations of these new homes.
It is important to note that this news concerns East Devon’s Local Plan – it is not a result of the specific hearings for which we have all battled so hard to object to (these planning applications are still to be heard). This announcement is part of a totally separate decision where, for reasons we are not party to, our village seems to have become the exception to the apparent aim of preserving East Devon villages’ identity; it is believed it is due to our ‘proximity to Exeter’.
As you can imagine, having devoted a large part of our spare time to this campaign for several months, we feel, as you probably do, utterly devastated to hear this shocking news. There remain many questions unanswered and we would, in the longer term, be keen to hear your views regarding the group’s response and possible actions. In the first instance, we desperately need speakers at the meeting at the Council’s headquarters on Monday 23rd March at 10am. It is crucial our voice is heard. Would you be prepared to speak? If so, please respond to this email – or call 01392 969100 – as soon as possible. Anyone that is prepared to speak must have a booking made by mid day with EDDC. We are hoping to arrange a short get together for anyone prepared to speak on Tuesday evening.
To say that we are shocked at this development is an understatement; now, more than ever, we have to stay strong and united as a group and really hope that, despite how recent events appear to have manifested themselves, ultimately justice, transparency and equality shall still prevail.
The agenda for the Special Development Management Committee to be held on Monday, 23 March at 10amcan now be viewed at: http://eastdevon.gov.uk/media/990985/230315-special-combined-dmc-agenda.pdf
The revised draft New East Devon Local Plan can be viewed here: http://eastdevon.gov.uk/media/990979/230315-sp-dmc-local-plan-with-changes-for-post-hearing-consultation-ver-04-march-2015.pdf
The draft schedule of proposed changes to the East Devon Local Plan can be viewed here:http://eastdevon.gov.uk/media/990982/230315-sp-dmc-table-of-changes-to-local-plan-v3-march-15.pdf
CLICK HERE to view news report
Charlie Hopkins is now working on behalf of our campaign. Read more about him and his previous campaigns CLICK HERE
We continue to gain publicity on the Express and Echo website, click below to see latest article
Firstly, a massive thank you to everyone who supported our Parish Council by attending the meeting on Wednesday. We lost count at 198, but estimate an attendance of in excess of 222. Truly phenomenal – and a clear indication of the support there is within and across the village.
As you may already know, the Parish Council voted in favour of employing a private Planning Consultant to support us in our fight. Obviously, the Parish Council may not be able to fund this itself, so please, please keep the pledges coming in (though we do not want any money at his stage!). We have been asked what the ‘going rate’ is: the simple answer is, whatever you can afford and feel is appropriate. Pledges thus far range from a few pounds to many hundred and all are equally appreciated.
Links to the media coverage announcing the outcome of Wednesday’s meeting, along with further details about the planner, Charlie Hopkins, will be appearing on our website over the next few days so do keep visiting. We very much want the website to belong to everyone, so do feel free to send in your contributions. Already people have promised to contribute relevant historical maps, pictures, related articles and one resident believes he may still have the particulars of his house from when it was first built in the middle of the last century!
As a campaign group, we are doing our best to keep everyone informed of any developments and communicate as effectively as we can. However, with a number of us working full time, this is not easy. We would therefore welcome any offers of assistance. Anything from printing these updates and posting them to members of the community without Internet access, to knocking on doors and asking people to sign letters would be appreciated. Even if you simply get one other person to register for the campaign, or offer to display a poster, we would be grateful.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, please, please ensure that every member of your household has submitted their letter of application – either online or on paper. So far, according to East Devon District Council’s website, there are fewer than 30 objections – which is in no way of reflection of the number who attended on Wednesday and certainly not enough to persuade the Powers That Be of our views. Therefore, if you haven’t already, please get your letter in before the deadline, 15th January.
Remember: together, we can do this!