War is not over on King Alfred Way


- Credit: © Eastern Counties Newspapers

The decision to permit a development of 40 houses and a new doctors’ surgery at King Alfred Way was overturned in April after a Judicial Review (JR) application was brought by Newton Poppleford resident Matt Coppell.

 The grounds of the application for JR were twofold; firstly that the application contained no Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and secondly that whilst the application explicitly states that it is for 40 houses and a new surgery, the detail of the planning decision shows that the provision of the surgery, the principle reason why the original application had even the minimal local support that it did, was not actually legally enforceable and therefore may never happen. In their response to the judicial review EDDC accepted both elements of the application were true and acceded to the judgement without a contest.

Whilst the JR decision represents a significant victory for the overwhelming majority in the village who expressed an opinion on the matter, it still is just a battle, it’s not the war. EDDC have recircled their wagons and the amended application will now be heard by the EDDC development management committee on May 8. EDDC’s planning officers have also already gone into writing to say that in their opinion an EIA is not required as the characteristics of the potential impacts [of the development] are not likely to result in a significant effect on the environment?

In the opinion of this writer, this is a pretty astonishing conclusion given that the proposal represents the permanent destruction of 2.25 hectares of agricultural greenfield land in an area of outstanding natural beauty, amongst the most protected land in the country, let alone the fact that any EIA assessment must take into account ALL anticipated future developments in the village, which according to EDDC themselves would have to include the proposed Badger Close development (also up for appeal in May) and the Waterleat development.

The three developments would together represent an 11 per cent increase in the Newton Poppleford Parish housing stock, how can this not be significant to the environment?

It is not yet clear what approach EDDC will take with respect to the second point of the JR, the doctors’ surgery. It has remained a personal bugbear that the promised provision of a doctors’ surgery is the principle rationale cited to permit a greenfield development of this nature and now it turns out that the developers may not even need to provide it!

I would ask any residents to resubmit their objections in writing to EDDC planning asap. They say the closing date for receiving written objections is April 28. I hope they will also take the previously received 400 objections into account, and, yes, for balance, the 23 in favour.

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Chris Bishop via email