Protestors accuse district council of breaking pledge

CAMPAIGNERS ‘walked backwards’ towards the district council HQ to reflect what they say is back-tracking by council bosses who pledged to scale back thousands of new homes including almost 3,000 in Exmouth.

CAMPAIGNERS ‘walked backwards’ towards the district council HQ to reflect what they say is back-tracking by council bosses who pledged to scale back thousands of new homes including almost 3,000 in Exmouth.

But council bosses have labelled the claims, made before a special planning committee on Tuesday by Communities Before Developers, as ‘pure fantasy.’

The district council’s ‘preferred approach’ called for an increase of homes in the district by a third from around 60,000 to almost 80,000 by 2031, with around 15 per cent in Exmouth.

But following a public consultation before Christmas council leader Sara Randall Johnson said she believed said the numbers “…may have been too high…” and ordered a complete review with planners to report back in the summer.


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But protesters from groups including CBD and the Exmouth and Bystock Action Group, who fear that 1,000 new homes at St John’s Wood would destroy the area, fear that the council are intending a U Turn.

CBD believes that they have no intention to allow the public to comment on the revised proposals.

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Claire Wright of CBD said: “We are unconvinced that councillors are really intending to reduce the numbers of houses and industrial estates.

“No committee at East Devon District Council has ever agreed these promises (By Cllr Randall Johnson).

“We are worried that the new version of the LDF will emerge largely unscathed from its review by consultants

“So we marched on the Knowle once again, to give councillors a clear message, prior to the elections on 5 May.”

CBD campaigner, Jonathan Underwood said: “It seems as though our worst suspicions are confirmed about EDDC councillors intending to park a thorny issue until after the elections.

“The council would then be able to do as it likes as usual.”

A council spokesman said: “(The)…protest is based on an issue that is pure fantasy.

“The marchers are protesting about what they claim is a U-turn. There has been no U-turn. The Council said in December that it would be re-assessing its planning policy in 2011 in the light of public comments and after considering the latest growth predictions and Government guidance. That is exactly what we still intend to do.”

• A report of the special meeting will be published next week.

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