Civic Society rails against housing

THE custodians of Exmouth’s architectural heritage, The Civic Society, has blasted the district council’s vision for 2,850 new homes on ‘sacrosanct woodland’ over the next 20 years.

THE custodians of Exmouth’s architectural heritage, The Civic Society, has blasted the district council’s vision for 2,850 new homes on ‘sacrosanct woodland’ over the next 20 years.

East Devon District Council is currently asking for views on their Local Development Framework before they report back to Government next year.

EDDC’s ‘Core Strategy’ calls for 350 homes at Goodmores Farm and five hectares of employment land, up to 1,000 homes at St Johns Wood with 15 acres of employment land and 500 homes and facilities in Littleham Valley.

In a full and detailed response to district planners they say there is no ‘evidence base’ to support such a vision and it does not take into account the Government’s austere spending review.

They say that proposed sites for the homes were on the ‘last green buffer’ zones in Exmouth – a view reflected by farmer Ian Skinner in last week’s Journal feared he may lose his dairy business if the plans were realised.

The report says that the numbers of homes talked about fall disproportionally on Exmouth with 20 per cent of the district’s total housing needs being in the town.

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All the sites earmarked, they say, are either on ‘sacrosanct’ woodland or on vital open spaces for already congested areas of housing , officially designated as either Areas of Great Landscape Value or Lands of Local Landscape Importance.

In their opinion EDDC is in ‘complete denial’ of the town’s lack of infrastructure and facilities and they have vastly overestimated the amount of extra facilities they would gain from developers.

The reports says: “...it does not accord in any way with the vision that the people of Exmouth have themselves.

“…the proposals affecting this town are totally unacceptable especially in regard to housing and infrastructure.

“…the aspirations for employment are admirable (but) they are totally unrealistic.

“We are quite sure that this misjudgement of the Exmouth vision will be borne out in the objections and comments EDDC will receive…

“Housing provision in East Devon should be allocated much more in proportion to the existing settlements rather than being imposed disproportionally on Exmouth.”