Aiming for better

PUBLISHED: 07:00 23 February 2013

Anyone keen on local democracy will want to read about the new East Devon Alliance (EDA), the inaugural meeting for which was held in Sidmouth’s Dissenters’ Chapel last Saturday.

Several people from Exmouth and Budleigh Salterton attended.

A brief report has already been published on the website of the Sidmouth Independent News.

It stresses that the Alliance is strictly non-political.

Representatives from all over the district were “all united in their determination to make East Devon a better place for us all, rather than for a favoured few”.

Among the topics debated was the role of the East Devon Business Forum. This unelected group is subsidised by East Devon District Council.

Its membership includes several important local landowners. Their land values have rocketed after gaining planning permission either before the new Local Plan comes into operation (eg in Westclyst, Axminster); or whose land has been “allocated” by EDDC for development during the next Local Plan period (2012-2026).

Plumb Park, near Littleham Cross, is currently subject to an application for 350 new homes.

The applicants’ statement and their consultants’ reports come to over 720 pages!

Mr Varley (of Clinton Devon Estates) has stated: “If it is found that the existing (sewerage) system does not have enough capacity, Plumb Park is likely to be the catalyst for improvements which could benefit a large number of existing residents.”

Who knows whether South West Water will improve the system before floods and litigation?

Other topics discussed at the EDA meeting were the way that EDDC deals with Freedom of Information requests; and the alleged lack of a five-year land supply, which has turned our district into a free-for-all area for developers.

The report in the Sidmouth Independent News concludes: “It is a sure sign that something is wrong in East Devon and, given that it is EDDC’s fault that we are in the mess we are in, we cannot hope or expect them to get us out of it - we have to do it for ourselves.”

If you agree, keep abreast of further entries in the Sidmouth Independent News.

Anita Jennings

Via email

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