What’s going on?
AN application for 40 houses and a surgery at King Alfred Way, Newton Poppleford, was recently referred to East Devon District Council’s development management committee for determination.
The outcome was a unanimous vote in favour, yet the legal grant of permission has yet to be issued.
So what is going on?
For those who attended the meeting on September 17, a pivotal argument was put forward concerning the inclusion of a surgery in the title.
During public representation it was highlighted that the planned move of the Sidford surgery to Stowford – plus capacity at Budleigh Salterton – underlined concern over whether funding would be available to operate an additional surgery.
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In short, a request was made that delivery of the surgery become a prerequisite should approval be granted.
Legal consultation stated that this wasn’t possible since delivery of a surgery was not proportionate to the size of the development and not in line with planning guidelines.
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As a consequence, Clinton Devon Estates (CDE) agreed to an increase in the amount of affordable housing to 40 per cent, thus providing the compelling reason required to build within an AONB.
In response to the need to address the title reference, CDE proposed a unilateral undertaking, ie not enforceable by EDDC.
Interestingly the determination process proceeded despite the absence of the wording of any such agreement, thus raising the issue of who is going to ensure that any such undertaking is watertight.
Should an operational surgery not be delivered for whatever reason, the entire planning process will have been compromised.
It’s worth noting that that the very same planning guideline that prevents an enforceable condition being issued should also have prevented the developer from offering such an unqualified inducement in the first place.
One has to ask what the real agenda is behind those involved in this application? So much for localism and transparency!
Are CDE really such generous benefactors? Let us hope that they are.
And why are EDDC, as stewards of our AONB, so keen to permit this unnecessarily large development on prime agricultural land?
And, of course, many questions remain outstanding regarding the progress of the competing Badger Close application, which continues to be treated so differently.
You must make up your own minds whether the best interests of Newton Poppleford are being served by your elected representatives.