Residents to have a say on East Devon’s future

Sidmouth and Ottery public to be consulted over vision for towns

RESIDENTS will have their say on blueprints for the future of their towns and East Devon next month- despite fears Government changes could render the exercise pointless.

District planning chiefs voted on Tuesday to put a hefty document, proposing thousands of jobs and homes in the region over the next 16 years, out for a three month public consultation.

Some members of East Devon District Council’s (EDDC) Development Management Committee wanted the draft Local Development Framework (LDF) Core Strategy report, the culmination of two years work, scrapped or suspended until any new Government planning legislation is clarified.

Councillor Ian Thomas likened the dossier to “a black and white television at the dawn of colour.”

Colleagues, however, decided a public consultation should begin on September 6.

Cllr Ray Franklin referred to one member’s quoting of Noel Coward with words from Noel Gallagher. “Don’t look back in anger,” he said, “look forward and be positive.

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“I believe we have proposed a sensible way forward for the future of East Devon. Now it is up to the public to have their say.”

On the option of delaying the consultation, he added: “Stagnation means decay, we don’t stagnate at EDDC. We’ve got to move forward.”

Cllr Mike Green said: “Information we get from the public will be invaluable.”

Cllr Geoffrey Chamberlain added: “Our number one priority is affordable housing. The public must realise we have a responsibility to provide homes for our young people.”

Eleven councillors voted in favour of instigating a public consultation and three were against.

The LDF strategy was hailed as one of the most important documents the council has had to produce.