We must all make planning concerns known

SIR No-one comes out of the Cedar Shade development with credit. The first blunder was by the Government when it decreed that all residential homes should be equipped with certain health and safety features. Cedar Shade, and many other such homes, dec

SIR - No-one comes out of the Cedar Shade development with credit. The first blunder was by the Government when it decreed that all residential homes should be equipped with certain health and safety features. Cedar Shade, and many other such homes, decided the alterations needed to comply were unaffordable; they closed down. Seeing the unintended consequences of its rules, Government executed a smart u-turn and said its requirements should apply to new buildings only. That was too late for Cedar Shade, all the residents were long gone and the property was on the market. And so to the puzzling role of the district council. The site could not be developed to best advantage unless a number of the trees were removed. The council decided that all the trees that were in the developer's way were either "over-mature" or were diseased or more dangerous (and couldn't be made safe?) What a convenient coincidence!! The County Highway Authority had recommended refusal of the planning application. That recommendation was rejected by EDDC. Although it is pernickety when it deals with small matters, the council seems to become excessively limp when it is asked to accommodate the needs of major developers. It strains at gnats and swallows elephants. The only reported contribution of the town council to the debate was that if trees had to be felled they should not have all been removed at once. I question whether one a year would have suited the developer! And, finally, to the Sid Vale Association. Now comfortable in its affluence, it was the sole assenting voice to the developer's plans. But then it admitted afterwards that it hadn't twigged that trees would have to be removed. In future it would like someone to enlighten contentious aspects of any proposal. That seems rather a tired approach; there really is no substitute for taking the trouble oneself to think through the implications of any planning application. The lesson to be drawn from what has happened at Cedar Shade is this: don't rely on the bodies that are supposed to protect us from tasteless and unwelcome developments in the town. Take the trouble to study the proposal yourself and, if you don't approve, make your objections known. It is no good whinging afterwards when the damage has been done. Ken Bridgman Martletts Connaught Close Sidmouth


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