EDDC’s Local Plan was adopted last night, with acceptance that it has many flaws (the Inspector had demanded around 200 ‘main modifications’).
The seemingly irregular circumstances surrounding the insertion into the Local Plan of the 5 hectare employment land on an AONB part-floodplain at Sidford, will now pass to Scrutiny.
Before the vote last night on the adoption of EDDC’s Local Plan, Cllr Marianne Rixson (EDA Ind, Sidmouth/Sidford) asked the following questions, which remain unanswered:
‘I would describe the whole shambolic process leading to the inclusion of Sidford employment land as the Hokey Cokey.
First it was in, then it was out, then it was in because it was never really out at all, was it? Why do I say this? Because no mitigating evidence was submitted at the time the final draft was submitted, so the inspector had no option but to make his decision on the evidence before him. At last week’s DMC meeting, Ed Freeman admitted that he had NOT been instructed to submit further evidence.
Now what we all need to know is:
1. Who failed to instruct Ed Freeman to add mitigating evidence for the withdrawal of the Sidford site?
2. Why were Members not advised that supporting evidence was vital if the late stage vote to delete the Sidford site was to be even considered by the Inspector?
3. Did Cllr Hughes know that he had to submit additional evidence. If not, why not?
The Council changed their mind, and voted for the deletion of the Sidford site for good reason – not least, because this particular employment land contradicts their new Local Plan’s policy of reducing in-commuting.
My question to the Leader on his Hokey Cokey Sidford plan is ….
– Who failed to instruct officers?
– Who failed to inform Members (including Cllr Hughes) and
– WHY were they not informed?’