Single issue

SIR - I refer to the letter from Claire Wright published in your newspaper last week.

The pressure group that she represents is obviously single issue and certainly not everybody will agree with the aims of the group. However, in relation to that single issue, I do have some sympathy with what she says.

I was born in Sidmouth and my family has lived in Devon for several generations. During that time there has been ongoing development of villages and towns to create successful communities. West Hill is such a village. When I was born it did not exist, but the council leaders in the sixties realised that development needed to take place in order to provide houses for people. The Potter family was heavily involved in the development of West Hill and Mike Potter can show anybody who is interested, photographs of various parts of the countryside of Devon where West Hill now stands. Beech Park, Warren Park and Potters Close, like many other parts of West Hill, were all green fields.

As we are fully aware, lots of people would like to retire to Devon and people working in Exeter and the surrounding areas bring prosperity to the local economy. The art of having an area develop to benefit all is that of establishing the balance between sufficient employment and providing homes of all sizes and types, including affordable housing.

Single issue campaign groups are black and white, but we all know life is not like that. We often have to make compromises, particularly in a democracy, and being a District Councillor is having the ability to give and take.

The point with development is striking the right balance. As someone born and bred in Devon and having lived most of my adult life here, I, as much as anyone, want to see the beauty of the area preserved. East Devon cannot stand still or the children and grandchildren of the current residents will have nowhere to live if the supply of affordable housing is not increased.

Cllr Sara Randall Johnson

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Ward member for Ottery St Mary Rural and Leader of East Devon District Council