Voting against

Graham Cooper’s letter (“Whose mandate?”, Opinion, November 15) made me think about the recent non-representation, at East Devon District Council’s development management committee of local opinion in Budleigh Salterton.

Councillor Dent, chairman of the Budleigh Salterton planning committee, who regularly abstains from voting here, voted in favour of an application at the development management committee on November 12 – even though the Budleigh Salterton committee objected that it would contravene policies CO3, CO6 and TR10.

Cllr Dent described the steepness of Victoria Place and its lack of turning circle at the top, and then voted to approve an application for a new house there.

Cllr Dent did so after his fellow councillors Hall and Wright had spoken strongly against it, and reminded development management committee members that the site lies in a conservation area and area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB).

There were 35 letters of objection and none in support from local residents, a speech from the chairman of the Otter Valley Association, and two from immediate neighbours. The spokesman for the applicant was the architect who had designed the proposed dwelling. His firm’s website states: “We do design work for EDDC and serve as architectural advisers to their Design Review Panel.” Cllr Dent is EDDC’s “Champion for Planning Design and Heritage”.

Before the vote was taken, all development management committee members were told again that Victoria Place is steep, and so narrow that dustcarts, fire engines, etc, have to drive up in reverse gear.

Can any reader recall a similar occasion when their district councillor, sitting on the development management committee, voted against the recommendation of his own parish council?

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Dr Anita Jennings

(via email)