It’s not over

I agree that Exmouth town councillors should be congratulated on successfully removing extensive areas of Exmouth’s green land from inclusion in the East Devon District Council development plan.

The town council has mounted a sustained campaign and has been rewarded with a more sensible allocation of the total burden of housing proposed for East Devon.

However, before we all relax and look the other way, councillors and readers need to be watchful of the Government’s proposed planning law changes.

Under this initiative, East Devon’s planners are already removing the limited protections that exist for sites such as St John’s Wood, which, under the current planning framework, is designated an “Area of Great Landscape Value” (AoGLV) and is indistinguishable from the AONB that surrounds it on three sides.

Under the proposed future East Devon development framework, the designation AoGLV will be removed and there will be no indication that this area has any value at all.

This is being done under the guise of “simplification”, but, in reality, it removes protection for the future.

I strongly urge the town council to resist the downgrading of existing landscape designations before they take effect.

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As for the Government plans, readers need to be aware that the new planning law will assume that any development should proceed, ie: developers will have the ability to propose vast swathes of new housing and the local residents will have no right to object.

The Government insists that new development must be “sustainable” - this is a nonsense piece of greenwash, which sounds good, but has no real meaning.

I urge both the town council and readers to let Hugo Swire, our local MP, know that this piece of legislation needs to defend the rights of the local population (it used to be called localism) and not yield to commercial interests that have no interest in anything but profit.

If you like Exmouth and, importantly, the countryside that surrounds it, you need to continue to take action - this is not over yet.

John Connolly

Bystock, Exmouth.

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