Preserve the green wedge’

PUBLISHED: 09:00 14 November 2009 | UPDATED: 12:19 10 June 2010

I am not sure why your correspondent Jill Staple, of Douglas Avenue, Exmouth, claims a greater knowledge of the opinions of Lympstonians than Cllr Rob Longhurst, the elected chairman of Lympstone Parish Council, or, worse still, is more prepared than he i

I am not sure why your correspondent Jill Staple, of Douglas Avenue, Exmouth, claims a greater knowledge of the opinions of Lympstonians than Cllr Rob Longhurst, the elected chairman of Lympstone Parish Council, or, worse still, is more prepared than he is to tell us villagers what we ought to be thinking.

In reply to her particular comments, Lympstone has had for a century a village surgery (recently extended) with its own doctors and other services as well as a pharmacy attached; its village shop has many village shareholders and last year won a national award as best in the country; and there are many, like myself, who have found dental care impossible to obtain in Exmouth. With a bus every 15 minutes and a train every half hour - to Exeter as well as Exmouth - perhaps we are not as isolated as she thinks!

We Lympstonians are, I believe, right to be upset about a developer's announcement that he proposes to build 200 homes in our parish by means of a prospectus which does not even mention the village by name - perhaps an indication of how sensitive to local opinion any such development would be.

It would increase the number of dwellings in the parish by about 20 per cent, but no thought seems to have been given to our already overcrowded village school and the near gridlock which occurs regularly in our village streets.

Our village hall is in need of further improvement; in the car park, the district Council has ceased to maintain the conveniences, and it looks as though the lights will be turned off in spite of repeated vandalism. Are these examples of the sort of 'united decisions' praised by your correspondent?

For half a century at least, the concept of a 'green wedge' between Lympstone and Exmouth has been a keystone of local planning policy, to ensure that the village retains its identity. The present proposal appears to go completely against the spirit, if not the letter, of this policy without even acknowledging that it is an issue.

I suspect that any 'arrogance' in the discussion of this matter lies more in the assumption of your correspondent that comments from Douglas Avenue are somehow more valuable than those of the chairman of a parish council whose opinion has not even been officially solicited.

The matters under review concern a development which, by its very size, would change for ever the community - already outgoing and dynamic - which that council represents.

Perhaps we have seen the other examples of communities swallowed up by Exmouth - Withycombe, Littleham and Brixington, for example - and do not particularly wish to follow their example as they steadily lose their identity.

As a final thought, one waits with interest the reaction of the citizens of Exmouth when the government's Regional Strategic Housing Study is finally published - at the last count, although I stand to be corrected, I think it was proposing that Exmouth should accommodate an extra 2,400 homes.

As an East Devon Lympstonian, will I be allowed my say in taking a 'united decision' on where they are to be sited?

Richard Giles,

Kilntop, Lympstone.

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