Ottery councillors unhappy with LDF treatment

An Ottery representative was asked to leave a district council meeting after he was left fuming by the lack of debate on future housing numbers for the town.

On Tuesday towns from East Devon had the chance to challenge the latest draft of the district council’s ‘Local Plan’, but Roger Giles was unhappy with Ottery’s treatment.

Despite a response from Ottery Town Council requesting no more than 300 houses be allocated to the town for the next 15 years, EDDC’s draft plan contains a recommendation for 450, 100 at the old factory site and another 350 to the west of the town.

At the meeting of the Local Development Framework panel Cllr Giles spoke on behalf of Ottery Town Council, who on Monday night had vowed to reiterate their request to lower the amount of proposed housing.

But the panel instead voted on a different proposal from Councillor Ray Bloxham, and didn’t debate the point raised by Cllr Giles.

As the chairman Mike Allen then moved the debate on to Seaton Mr Giles expressed his displeasure with Ottery’s treatment and was asked to leave in an angry exchange.

He said afterwards: “They didn’t allow any debate, I am considering making an official complaint about they way we were treated as a town.

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“The people of Ottery deserve better.”

The proposal from Cllr Bloxham was to leave the total housing allocation at 450, but reduce the number at the factory site to allow more facilities for the town to be put there.

In return there would be a larger proportion of the new houses built on green-field sites around The King’s School end of the town.

Cllr Allen almost immediately put it to the vote and it was carried, four votes to two. One of the voters against was local district councillor Claire Wright, who said this was not what the people of Ottery wanted.

She said: “They want facilities for the town but not necessarily at the expense of green-field land.

“I was very disappointed we didn’t even get the chance to debate it before it was passed.”

Cllr Allen said afterwards: “You can’t please all the people all of the time, and we have to take into account the view that a Government Inspector will take of our proposed levels of growth.

“These must be realistic enough to satisfy Westminster and prudent enough to protect East Devon’s unique environment.”