07:10 19 January 2013
This month Clinton Devon Estates are to a submit a very contentious planning application to build 350 houses in the beautiful Maer Valley (500 in total, including the former Pankhurst Engineering site) regardless of the devastation that will be caused at this rural location.
They must be aware of the disruption of irreplaceable habitats as a result.
These proposals have already been met with considerable local hostility and there is now a groundswell of opinion to stop this desecration at all costs.
Why should residents who already have to tolerate increasing Sandy Bay Holiday Park traffic now have to face inevitable future traffic congestion at Littleham Cross, Douglas Avenue and Buckingham Close, together with the prospect of lorries daily ferrying building materials and equipment for possibly years to come? This is totally unacceptable.
Whilst it is acknowledged that some affordable houses might now be necessary, such developments must be focused on so-called “brownfield” sites only.
Those councillors who previously voted to reject this scheme, only to be coerced by CDE to change their minds, must look at the issues in the broader context and the damage such a development will do to our countryside.
They should not be influenced by promises of new public open spaces, woodlands, cycle routes and footpaths to town. We already have most of these facilities.
As far as the new cycle routes and pathways to town are concerned, these will be across cultivated farmland and also disturb grazing cattle on pasture land. The existing natural pathways are regularly used by ramblers and others who much prefer this situation.
Under Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, developers are required, once planning permission is granted, to allocate funds towards local authority projects. These can be street improvements, new sports facilities, etc.
CDE claim they will be investing further in their Liverton Business Park, where additional units are to be made available, thus creating new jobs. However, they fail to mention that they will benefit considerably with the extra rents generated.
It does not take close scrutiny to realise that CDE are not doing Exmouth any real favours; it’s all about money and the vast profits to be made out of this development. The entire scheme is not sustainable and must be kicked into touch once and for all.
A most important factor is the existing serious sewage problem – only a side issue and of little serious consequence according to estates director John Varley.
We recently had raw effluents discharged into the sea off Exmouth beach. It is worth noting that a recent planning application for a small block of flats in the area was rejected on the basis it would put extra pressure on an overstretched sewage system.
These matters and other concerns were put to South West Water and their engineer at the treatment works in Maer Lane this week.
It was confirmed that they were completely against such a major development and could not possibly cope with an extra 500 houses unless the treatment works were greatly extended or completely rebuilt.
Apparently, the town’s sewers are already filled to capacity with an “emergency” on-going situation existing at the pumping station. Any further development in the area would be disastrous.
Following their recent public consultation, Clinton Devon Estates are now claiming they have considerable support for their scheme.
What total arrogance, when it was obvious that most attending the meeting were overwhelmingly against it.
CDE must think that because they own much of Exmouth and district and vast acres of Devon, they have the right to overrule public opinion, and their planning application will be a mere formality; let’s prove them wrong.
This entire scheme is not sustainable and should be rejected and not included as part of the Local Plan.