Save Our Sidmouth

Local Plan problems for South Somerset District Council, whose CEO also serves EDDC.

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Some aspects are discussed in this latest  correspondence between Richard Thurlow, Chair of Save Our Sidmouth, and the Chief Executive of both East Devon and South Somerset District Councils:

29th July, 2013

Dear Mr Williams, 

I see that South Somerset District Council,(SSDC), has spent £2.475m on their LP since 2008, of which £1.99 m was spent on technical officer’s input.  

When asking your officers for the total costs of the EDDC Local Plan to date, I have been told that EDDC does not cost the work of its staff.  

The SSDC LP has been rejected by the Inspector. I believe that there is a very strong possibility also that the EDDC plan will be rejected. 

Since I believe that you  are also the CEO of SSDC, I would like to ask why EDDC does not cost the time of its Technical officers, (as most cost efficient organisations do), and what you have spent to date on the Local Plan.  

Regards and thank you

Richard Thurlow


30th July, 2013

Dear Mr Thurlow, 

Thank you for this e-mail. 

It is incorrect to state that the SSDC LP has been rejected by the Inspector; rather it has been suspended so further work can be completed. More information can be found from the SSDC website. 

As regards the EDDC plan I think most impartial observers of the statutory LP process would probably expect some changes to result from the examination process. For most Councils the NPPF has been a game changer as has been the renewed emphasis on a 5 year land supply. 

If you want to research the matter locally then the Exeter, Mid Devon and Teignbridge experiences are relevant. If you wish to cast your eye further afield then since 2011 the following Councils have encountered a whole range of issues which clearly demonstrate the challenges that EDDC will encounter: Barnet, Blaby, Bournemouth, Chesterfield, Coventry, Croydon, Doncaster, East Dorset, Eastbourne, Gedling, Halton, Haringey, Hart, Hartlepool, Hastings, Hertsmere, Hillingdon, Hull, Kirklees, Leeds, Lichfield, Manchester, Melton, Mid Suffolk, North Somerset, North Warwickshire, Northampton, Norwich, Preston, Purbeck, Reigate & Banstead, Ribble Valley, Richmondshire, Rother, Rushcliffe, Ryedale, Salford, Solihull, South Norfolk, South Oxfordshire, South Ribble, South Staffordshire, St Helens, Staffordshire Moorlands, Suffolk Coastal, Tamworth, Taunton Deane, Warrington, Watford, Wealdon, West Berkshire, West Lancashire, Westminster, Wigan, Wiltshire, Winchester, and Woking.

I note your ongoing fondness for time recording but this is principally a tool for billing clients and justifying the level of charge. It was experimented with in the late 1980’s and into the 1990’s when the ‘internal market’ was all the rage but was subsequently rejected by most in local government as unnecessary bureaucracy. I have however copied your e-mail to Mrs Symington to see if your request falls within FOI parameters. 

Yours sincerely, 

Mark Williams



The Inspector’s findings, just made public, are at this link: SSDC LP inspector_s_preliminary_findings

Background to unrest in South Somerset can be found in A problem shared , posted 28th Jan 2013, on this SOS website.

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