Saturday, February 16, 2013
Having read in a recent Journal that district planning officers had recommended approval for 52 homes to be built on Withycombe Brook, I write this letter with a strong sense of deja vu.
East Devon District Council’s planning committee meeting to review this application took place at 2pm, on Tuesday, February 5. Many concerned citizens could not attend because it was convened during normal working hours.
Exmouth Town Council has, on two occasions, rejected this application for a number of valid reasons. The district planning officers have chosen to ignore the people who are most affected by this issue- ie the local residents and their elected representatives.
This seems to be yet another “done deal”, and Tuesday’s meeting was likely to see another “rubber stamp” approval by EDDC’s planning committee.
The Journal reported the planning officer’s argument that, “because of the lack of cash and “land assembly” problems, using the site for recreation is not currently feasible, and represents the best deal for the site”.
The deal referred to appears to be payment of £289,979 by the developers towards the local school, and “to offset the impact of the new residents, along with cash for wildlife and play equipment”. What a load of rubbish !
What is meant by “land assembly” problems? As for “lack of cash”, whom among us is gullible enough to consider that a payment, that is roughly the value of one of the 52 houses, is a “good deal” for Exmouth?
This development will require serious expenditure to complete the necessary works required to make the Withycombe Brook fit for purpose to cope with this development, plus the Hillcrest School development upstream.
There is no provision for this work in any development plans.
Without it, and a structure for the proper management and future maintenance of the brook, these two developments pose a serious flood risk to Exmouth.
Compare that potential cost of flood damage against a paltry £290K!
Did the EDDC planning committee give adequate consideration on Tuesday to the real implications of this “good deal”?
On past form, don’t hold your breath.
● Editor’s note: this letter was received the day before the planning meeting, where the application was approved.