New campaigners to highlight planning fears


Protest - Credit: Archant

A NEWLY formed East Devon campaign group will stage its first protest against ‘environmentally damaging’ new national planning regulations on Saturday (March 23).

East Devon Alliance (EDA) members will march on Feniton, aiming to draw attention to problems caused in the district by the Government’s National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), which is now almost a year old.

EDA leaders say environmental problems will become even more serious as all councils without adopted Local Plans will be forced to apply a presumption in favour of development - which will allow far more building in inappropriate places.

They have dubbed that date, on March 27, “Black Wednesday”.

East Devon District Council (EDDC) is one of around half of all councils in England that will not have an up-to-date Local Plan by March 27.

The Campaign to Protect Rural England, the National Trust and EDA believe that this will lead to widespread “environmental devastation” across the country, with developers “taking advantage of the most deregulated planning system in half a century”.

EDA chairman Ian McKintosh said: “We are holding the protest at Feniton because it epitomises all that is wrong with the NPPF. Feniton is allocated 35 houses in EDDC’s draft Local Plan.

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“But it is looking at the possibility of 300 houses and more, with EDDC representatives admitting that they don’t think they will be able to defend refusing large–scale applications at appeal.”

The EDA wrote to planning minister Nick Boles last week, urging him to defer the March 27 deadline by a year, as well as asking him to restore the balance in national planning policy so that social and environmental considerations are as equally important as development.

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