why no plans in the Journal?

PUBLISHED: 15:50 08 November 2008 | UPDATED: 09:58 10 June 2010

My partner recently noticed an East Devon District Council officer affixing a planning application notification to a lamppost on the opposite side of the road. It is as well that she did as this was the only attempt by EDDC to make us aware of an applic

My partner recently noticed an East Devon District Council officer affixing a planning application notification to a lamppost on the opposite side of the road. It is as well that she did as this was the only attempt by EDDC to make us aware of an application by our immediately adjoining neighbour. I will be writing a submission regarding that proposal, but I thought it would concern other Exmouth residents to read the following response from the EDDC West Planning Team to my enquiry as to why we were not informed: "The planning team has been experimenting with a notification/advertisement scheme since April 1 this year, and this will continue until the New Year when it will be reviewed again. "There is no protocol on the [EDDC] website but each of the planning teams across the whole district are tasked with advertising applications in the most appropriate way. "In the past, every application would have been advertised in the local press, with a notice and also by neighbour letter. Since April 1, the notification of applications in Exmouth has been targeted, ie either by letter, notice or advert or a combination. As a minimum, we either have to place a notice or notify by letter. All applications are advertised on a weekly list on the EDDC website. "In the case of the application at 51A, we decided that the easiest way to advertise the application was by notice rather than by letters. "Where we are legally required to do so, ie for applications for Listed Buildings and within Conservation Areas, we place a notice outside the site and also in the local press. In this case, as the site falls outside any Conservation Area, there was no statutory requirement to place an advert in the local free press."I would add that this process for notification is experimental; if you have views about it, please write to us and, when the scheme is reviewed in the New Year, these will be taken into account."This explains there not been any notifications in the Exmouth Journal recently. Noting that "Exmouth has been targeted", I wonder if Exmouth, as so often by EDDC, might be getting a worse deal than elsewhere in its area. I also believe that this discriminates against the significant numbers of the populace without access to the internet (which clearly we will need to scour every week for developments affecting our home). It is not easy browsing the public portal on East Devon's website as the enquiry screens often state that your search criteria are too broad for it to access results. EDDC say they will now consider notifications "in the most appropriate way ... the easiest way". Convenient to EDDC maybe, but not to anyone who may end up being overlooked by a large house in their neighbour's garden - and the first thing they knew about it was when the builder's lorry arrived.It also raises questions about local democracy. A new scheme, fundamentally different from the previous practice, is introduced unannounced. This could have been mentioned in the glossy circular EDDC recently published telling us how good they were. I will be sending this letter to the leader of EDDC, with copy to councillors in Exmouth via our town clerk, to express my concerns and ask for a response. Maybe other residents will want to do the same. Perhaps EDDC will respond via the Journal.David Keep, 51B Salterton Road,Exmouth.

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