New legislation affects Longboat

The huge turnout to the public meeting in Peter Hall, Budleigh Salterton, exceeded all expectations. Chaired by Maureen de Viell and led by Mayor Courtney Richards, David Daniel and Helen Tickle, the debate on the Longboat Cafe was orderly and dignified.

The huge turnout to the public meeting in Peter Hall, Budleigh Salterton, exceeded all expectations. Chaired by Maureen de Viell and led by Mayor Courtney Richards, David Daniel and Helen Tickle, the debate on the Longboat Cafe was orderly and dignified.

Last week's Budleigh edition front page (March 24) referred to town councillors' anger over East Devon District Council's disregard of their opinions. Page 23 contained an article about the Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment of the proposed development, commissioned and paid for by local residents. The assessment concluded "all the policies are in place to protect what is probably one of the most sensitive sites in England....EDDC has ignored each and every one".

Congratulations to the chairman of the Otter Valley Association on deftly fielding a Whitehall directive issued as recently as March 23. She had only just downloaded parts of the 55-page Planning Policy Statement 5 (PPS5) replacing two earlier directives on sites of historic and archaeological interest. She quoted several significant sections. .

The Journal has already reported the listing, by English Heritage (EH) of the Coastguard Complex. The study by EH stresses the rarity of old admiralty buildings. Ours is high on the list of such survivors.


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Work on the Longboat last October (described as maintenance; Journal, October 8, 2009) may have contributed to EH's decision not to list it.

It is cheering that the new PPS5 says there are occasions when changes "should not be a factor taken into account in any decision".

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EDDC planners insist that public opinion is irrelevant unless based on "material planning considerations". But PPS 5 states: "If the evidence suggests that the heritage asset may have a special significance to a particular community that may not be fully understood from the usual process of consultation, then the local planning authority should take reasonable steps to seek the views of that community."

The final decision on the application is likely to be made on May 4. The Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment plus PPS 5 will give the officers and elected members a heaven-sent reason for changing their decision without loss of face.

New legislation coming into force six weeks ahead of the final decision is likely to be heeded by both the Planning Inspectorate and the Local Government Ombudsman. Our planners would be unwise to ignore that.

Anita Jennings,

Northview Road,

Budleigh Salterton.

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