Sidmouth protesters give their views on LDF

Sidmouthian Mike prepared to stand for council over LDF plan concerns

Claire Wright, CBD: “There are less than 3,000 people on the housing needs register in East Devon. It is important to provide low cost housing for younger people and the less well off, but these plans (LDF) are not for local people.”

Councillor Roger Giles, Ottery St Mary: “There has been an excellent turnout and I think this clearly demonstrates that a large number of people are very concerned about EDDC’s LDF proposals, which are very, very wrong.

“We believe that the LDF as it stands is not only incredibly damaging to East Devon, with its plans for mass development and weakened protections for the countryside, but also a wasted opportunity.

“East Devon’s natural assets – its beauty, quality of life and special landscapes which are obvious strengths, and which our tourist industry is built on, should be central to the plan.

“But instead it is as though they are viewed as an inconvenience or barrier to development.”

EDDC spokesman: “We are not attempting to hide anything, we don’t want to fight with people, we have simply gone out and invited people to give us their views and a deluge of people have come forward with their views. That is why we produced our LDF video.”

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Sidmouthian Mike Edgecumbe, Winslade Road: “I am seriously considering putting up for council because of this. Sidmouth is very worried about the future of its valley.

“Members of the old urban district council had a personal interest in the care of the valley. EDDC, over the years, has allowed more and more housing.

“I have seen a great deterioration of the valley that has affected the environment and natural beauty of the valley, which must be retained for future generations.”

Rev Handel Bennett, Sid Vale Association chairman, Victoria Road, Sidmouth: “Over the last 150 years Sidmouth has grown naturally and for the benefit of its residents and all who come to visit our Heritage resort, but planning for the next 20 years could change the town forever if housing estates appear in the AONB.

“The LDF recommends flexibility of building lines which will be changed at a whim by any developer or planning officer. That is how the AONB is going to be gobbled up.”

Jan Jones, Baker Close, Stowford: “I held a protest against building in the playing fields at Stowford and I feel strongly about housing being built in front of Baker Close.

“I feel we need to get together and try to make the council see that they just can’t take away all areas of natural beauty.”

Robert Crick (Vision Group of Sidmouth chairman): “I personally found the LDF to be flawed, destructive and short-sighted. It is shockingly ignorant of facts and inappropriate; lacking a true and realistic vision for the future.

“It does nothing to address major fundamental issues; constant growth is not sustainable and will not be possible. For the LDF to work, it must accept and address the issue of diminished resources and climate change.

“The document strives for short-term quick fixes using new development as a source of revenue, and growth as the core aim.

“This conventional, old-fashioned thought process gives no regard to the inevitable and accepted changes we face in the near future. It will provide a shockingly selfish and thoughtless legacy for future generations.”