Feniton hunkers down …

IciclesAlong with great swathes of the country, Feniton is in the grip of an icy blast. The wind whistles through every nook and cranny, while the village is cloaked in an eerie silence without the usual background hum of cars and trains, and the general hubbub of everyday life.

But in typical fashion, it’s brought out the very best spirit of the people who live here. The village Facebook page, Feniton Focus, has been abuzz with offers of help to those in need.

  • A local plumber (Ryhan Acott of Ace Plumbing) has offered to help people in the village if they have frozen pipes or a problem with their boiler.
  • Mike Court has offered to open up the football club so that those enduring a power cut can stay warm waiting for the electricity to be reinstated.
  • The Spar shop put out a plea for £1 coins as they had run out of change and were inundated in no time!
  • Owners of 4x4s were offering help to anyone with an urgent problem and Lee Mallen (how did this village ever survive without him?) has been ferrying medical staff into Exeter for their shifts.
  • Tim Steel posted, ‘If those without electricity require showers/phone charged/use of an oven or just a warm up, more than happy to extend a welcome in our home’. This comment started an avalanche of comments from people offering to open up their homes for food and shelter to those without heating or power.
  • Kathleen Jeacock posted, ‘A big thank you to my new neighbour Lesley Scott who kindly called round to check if I was in need of anything. Very much appreciated’.

I know I will have missed so many people from this list, but it really gladdens the heart to live in such a kind and close-knit village, with such a strong community spirit.

Meanwhile, the ‘egg lorry’ was stuck at the bottom of Ottery Road. The driver was scheduled to make his collection of eggs from the poultry farm, but began to slide on ice and, very sensibly, decided to batten down the hatches and camp in his cab. He was amazed by the number of people who offered him a bed for the night, hot supper and cups of tea. Apparently he was fine in his centrally heated cab and stayed put with his television for company.

But there is a light at the end of the tunnel … a train has just gone by and power has been restored to the old village. The constant drip from icicles clinging to the gutters is a reassuring signal that it might just be warming up.

polar bear looking through window

OK … it wasn’t that bad, but it could have been worse! (c) Alexandre Martin

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Feniton’s Neighbourhood Plan powers onward!

And it has taken over three years to get to this point …

Hours of steering group meetings (with lashings of tea and biscuits provided by Chris Gibbins), extensive consultation with residents of the village, landowners surrounding Feniton and statutory consultees, and finally the examiner has submitted her report.

But it’s good news …

Enjoying the atmosphere

Soaking up the atmosphere

The examiner recommended only minor modifications to the Neighbourhood Plan and these are in the process of being incorporated into the Plan and carefully checked.

Her comprehensive report will shortly be available on Feniton Parish Council’s website, along with the final (referendum) version of the plan.

The examiner undertook an unaccompanied visit of the village before Christmas as part of her thorough examination, as a result of which she requested that a map of the appeal sites, which were the subject of a super inquiry in January 2014, be included in the Neighbourhood Plan.

In her report, the examiner said:

The question of sustainable development at Feniton was assessed in detail by the Inspector who determined the four appeals in 2014 (paragraph 81 onwards, Appendix 7). In this context, I have had regard for her observation in paragraph 87 that substantially increasing the number of homes in a settlement without proportionate increases in the provision of local shops, infrastructure, employment opportunities and other local services would risk eroding community cohesion. The Inspector also concluded that development of the proposed sites to the west and east of the built-up area of new Feniton would cause considerable harm to the character and appearance of the area. From my site visit and having considered the landscape character and distinctive rural appearance, I agree with this finding. I also recognise that the developments of 50 houses at Winchester Park and 32 at Acland Park amount to significant growth both recently and currently, and a period of assimilation without ongoing development is needed at Feniton in the near future.

The examiner’s report will gladden the hearts of the steering group volunteers and all those who completed questionnaires during the consultation process. The results of the questionnaires and the extensive public consultation were carefully analysed and formed the basis of the Neighbourhood Plan policies.

In addition, the examiner said in her report:

I am satisfied that the defined built-up area boundary for Feniton is not unreasonably restrictive, and I support the planmakers’ approach not to allocate any new development sites at this stage. The approach to “Future Development” is consistent with the achievement of sustainable development and is in general compliance with the Local Plan. It does not conflict with the emerging Villages Local Plan.

Her closing paragraph is particularly poignant:

I commend the FNP Steering Group for producing a plan which is highly readable, sets out the issues for Feniton clearly and defines a comprehensive set of development principles and policies. I recognise that the Group has been working very diligently since 2014, to carry out meaningful consultation exercises so as to involve the local community, and to ensure that the necessary technical work was undertaken for a plan to meet all the legal requirements including the Basic Conditions. With the modifications which I have proposed, and subject to it passing through referendum, the FNP should provide a useful and powerful tool to guide future development in the Parish.

Feniton village sign(2)The final plan will be submitted to planning officers at East Devon District Council this week and they will make a report to the April meeting of EDDC’s Cabinet.

Assuming that there is no problem at this stage, the Neighbourhood Plan should be ready for referendum in the middle of May. It will be a simple Yes/No vote and if 50% of those who vote are in favour of the Plan being used to make planning decision, then Feniton’s Neighbourhood Plan will be ‘made’.

And then I think we should break out the champagne!


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Sign up for kerbside collection of green waste!

East Devon is moving forward with plans to introduce a district-wide chargeable green waste collection service this year.

Leaf it to usMany councils across the country successfully operate a chargeable green waste collection service and East Devon is keen to continue to further improve and modernise its recycling and waste service by introducing this new initiative.

The new service will cost £48 a year, with an introductory offer of a free 240ltr green bin. Green waste will be collected from the kerbside of residents’ homes – easy, reliable, recycled. The service is not being subsidised by the council tax payer.

The service will be a fortnightly collection with a break at Christmas when growth in the garden is at its lowest.

If you would like to register your interest in the service, you can apply on-line by clicking here or call customer services on 01395 571515. The Council will then contact you nearer the time with details on how to subscribe.

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