Is this democracy?

On Tuesday, June 12, East Devon District Council saw fit to vote in favour of allowing 15 properties to be built on the field at the top of Barton Orchard in Tipton St John.

In spite of the fact that this is in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and has countless other factors making it unsuitable for the plans passed.

Also it was made very clear to the committee that six other sites were currently being considered for low cost housing in and around the village.

While I understand that the damage is now done, I would like to point out and warn other groups who may be in a similar situation of the undemocratic way in which our application was handled on Tuesday.

Out of courtesy for the planning committee, more than 30 of us from the village were seated by the start of proceedings at 2pm, even though we knew we would not be heard before 4pm.

Unfortunately, we were not given the same consideration.

It was, in fact, 5.30pm before our scheme came up for discussion. The item before us on the agenda having been given an unnecessary amount of time.

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We were the sixth application on an agenda of 12. Why ever are these meetings not spread over two days so each group can have a fair hearing? We were not given a fair hearing, the vote was 6 -6, then passed by the chairman’s casting vote.

Having sat politely for over three hours, we felt rushed through and not listened to.

Knowing this site to be so unsuitable, we had put a huge amount of work into preparing for the meeting.

Fifteen people were due to speak, all on different subjects such as the AONB, the dangerous road, flooding and damage to wild life.

We had been told we had three minutes each but because the previous items had taken so long, only the first five speakers were allowed three minutes. The other 10 had one minute each or did not get a chance to speak at all.

How is this listening to the local people? Eighty letters had been sent to the council against these plans with only one in favour.

The chairman was given a petition with 179 names from villagers so unhappy to be losing this view that so beautifully dominates the village.

Jean Kotch

Tipton St John