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EDDC Cabinet to agree Knowle option at next week’s meeting.

East Devon District Council has been obliged to rethink its relocation ‘ambition’,  since its Development Management Committee (DMC) rejected Pegasus Life’s planning application for Knowle.  New options will be discussed and decided at Cabinet* next Wednesday (5th April, 2017, 5.30pm ), for consideration at a special Joint Overview, Scrutiny and Audit & Governance meeting (18th April,  6pm).

Public may attend and make audio or video recordings of the meetings, which will be held in Knowle Council Chamber.

SOS understands that one option for discussion is for a retrenched EDDC HQ in the modern parts of Knowle, plus the Chamber and Members’ Lounge. A second smaller office would be in the refurbished Exmouth Town Hall.

*Current Cabinet membership, as listed on EDDC website:

Iain Chubb, Conservative
Paul Diviani, Conservative – Leader of the council
Jill Elson, Conservative
Andrew Moulding, Conservative – Deputy leader of the council
Geoff Pook, Independent
Philip Skinner, Conservative
Ian Thomas, Conservative
Phil Twiss, Conservative
Eileen Wragg, Liberal Democrats
Tom Wright, Conservative


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Appeal to councillors ”secretly sat on a few acres of land”, by senior EDDC officer

Ed Freeman, EDDC’s  Lead Planning Officer appears to have re-ignited potential conflict of interest in his e-mail to East Devon District Councillors, on 23 Feb 2017. In it, he says,”…if you are secretly sat on a few acres of land and would like to put it forward for development now is the time to tell us!”

The context of this appeal by Mr Freeman, is the preparation for a “Greater Exeter Strategic Plan” (GESP), with Exeter in partnership with Teignbridge, Mid-Devon, Devon County Council, and EDDC, for the period up to 2040.  He explains that it will “address large scale housing sites (around 500 homes or more) and employment sites”, along with associated road and rail networks, and that GESP “will ultimately supersede some of the strategy policies in the Local Plan”  www.gesp.org.uk.

This morning, Mr Freeman has issued a subsequent e-mail, assuring the public that “Engagement with stakeholders and communities will be critical to the success of the Plan”. He is unlikely to create confidence, given EDDC’s sorry record in this respect: the ongoing Knowle relocation mess is just one prime example.

Stuck with the taint of the Graham Brown affair, EDDC’s “call for sites” should be correctly handled. Complete transparency does not fit with hints that some councillors might be  “secretly sat on a few acres of land” .

Note from SOS: Some dangers of planning secrecy are clear from this example:

How did business-park on-a-Sidford -floodplain come to be in the Local Plan?

 


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All documents on relocation meetings to be revealed..suggesting a further new twist in EDDC’s plans.

In response to a request by Cllr Cathy Gardner (East Devon Alliance), Ward Member for Sidmouth Town, the relocation documents held back for so long, are now to be made public. In an e-mail dated 24th February 2017, EDDC’s Strategic Lead Officer (Governance and Licensing), Henry Gordon Lennox, has assured her that “the minutes of the relocation meetings (officer and executive group) plus any related reports will be available to view within the Members folders within a week or so.”

This conversion to transparency naturally gives rise to speculation about the options that the District Council Leadership are now contemplating.

Some relevant thoughts are noted here: http://futuresforumvgs.blogspot.co.uk/2017/02/knowle-relocation-project-how.html