Save Our Sidmouth

Local Plan “a deeply flawed document”?

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Evidence was offered to the EDDC Extra Ordinary Meeting (28 Jan 2016), by SOS member, Jeremy Woodward, in the following speech:

‘Mr Chairman,
Would you not agree that the Local Plan which you and your colleagues are being asked to adopt is in fact a deeply flawed document?

As an illustration, if I might quote from the submission made by the Vision Group for Sidmouth to the Local Plan on 8th June 2012.

I begin:
“The influence of the East Devon Business Forum on proposals for employment land and housing in the draft Local Plan should be considered. In January 2007, a Sub-Committee was established by the Forum to consider ‘amending the Atkins report’:

To refer to the
“Minutes of the Annual General Meeting of the East Devon Business Forum on 25 January 2007

“Atkins Report:

“Graham Brown reported that he had attended a meeting with the Corporate Director – Environment to discuss the preliminary findings of the Atkins Report. The findings included the conclusion that East Devon did not need as much employment land as [the] East Devon Business Forum had recommended. Forum members discussed how the findings of the Atkins Report would be amended as they were not in step with East Devon’s needs.

“A Sub Committee of the Business Forum would need to investigate employment land availability, where there was potential for growth and where the business community would like to see development take place.”

End of minutes.

It appears that a group of business people comprising this Forum reviewed the publicly-funded [independent] Atkins Report and then determined that the employment land provisions were insufficient; they subsequently proceeded to derive their own projections, which the District Council then adopted as “evidence” for the increased employment land figure which ensued:

To refer to the
“Minutes of the Annual General Meeting of the East Devon Business Forum on 31 January 2008 [a year later]

“Update on Employment Land Issues:

“Members noted that the work the Business Forum had done on the Atkins Report had made an enormous difference to the final report prepared by the Employment Land Issues Task and Finish Forum. This had been accepted by the Executive Board. The report was now being used by the Development Control Committee as a base when considering planning applications for employment land.”

End of quote.

Again, Mr Chairman, would you not acknowledge that the Local Plan is a deeply flawed document?

Because, if we chose to take the Council’s own calculations of one new home to one new job, this deliberate inflation of employment land undermines fundamentally the housing figures proposed in the Local Plan.

Thank you.

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