Into the fray

I have two purposes in my work as District Councillor … the first is to represent the views of the people of Feniton, Buckerell and Gittisham. That was why I was elected and that is why I shall try to do the job to the best of my ability. The second is to keep pushing to make sure that EDDC is in a position to prove their 5-year land supply figures, which will mean that our open countryside is safe from the circling vultures who are attempting to pick off parcels of land with scant regard for the havoc that unfettered development will unleash upon our infrastructure.

I will have to bang the drum of the 5-year land supply at every opportunity. It is the single most important issue in planning in East Devon. The NPPF, rushed through by the Coalition Government leaving councils little time to prepare, is the root of the planning chaos we currently face. Because of the Government’s unseemly haste, we are looking at our unprotected green space … the very essence of East Devon … being swallowed up by housing at the whim of the landowners and developers. It means that there is no joined-up thinking when it comes to deciding the best areas to develop, with no time to ensure that adequate infrastructure is in place. It means too that the long-awaited Local Plan, which outlines how many houses each town and village should provide, is already out of date before it has even been adopted. It is truly a sad state of affairs to see our countryside under threat under a Conservative-controlled Government.

Last night was the annual District Council meeting at the Knowle in Sidmouth. Peter Halse was to step down as chairman and Graham Godbeer voted in. The speech I made last night following a welcome from the chairman is below. A full report of the proceedings can be found on Claire Wright’s blog (http://www.claire-wright.org/index.php).

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“May I say how delighted I am to have been elected to represent constituents in Feniton, Buckerell and Gittisham. I am grateful to my fellow councillors across the political spectrum for the warmth of their welcome, and I look forward to working with them for the greater good of the people of East Devon.

At April’s full council meeting, I was delighted to hear from the Leader of the Council that East Devon should be in a position to prove the 5-year land supply figures by June. While canvassing in my ward, there was a palpable sense of relief that Cllr Diviani’s assurance meant that our green spaces would be offered the kind of protection they so obviously need.

As colleagues will know, the next challenge the Council will face on the issue of housing supply is likely to be yet another Public Inquiry, once more in respect of Feniton. I hope Cllr Diviani will be able to assure my constituents and the population of East Devon as a whole that EDDC expects to defend successfully its housing land figures and indeed that independent legal advice has been taken to underpin such an assurance.”

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