At the time of writing (21 July 2013), residents of Feniton are in limbo.
There are four live planning applications in the village: one at the back of Acland Park for 32 houses, one behind Louvigny Close for 83 houses and two on the land west off Ottery Road for 59 and 120 houses. These are all with the Planning Inspectorate at appeal.
Acland Park and Ottery Road are scheduled for separate informal hearings, whereby EDDC planning officers and the developers make representations to a Planning Inspector. Following a site visit, the inspector reaches a decision.
However, in an interesting twist, the developers of the land behind Louvigny Close (Wainhomes) have requested that all four appeals are heard at one big public inquiry, complete with QCs and barristers in scenes reminiscent of a courtroom. This has been dubbed the ‘super-appeal’.
This super-appeal is likely to stir up quite a storm in the media, given all the issues facing the village, not least the issue of flooding. The flood alleviation scheme is not even due to be started until January 2016.
However, there will be much interest in the super-appeal as it will be a test case for the NPPF and the Government’s dilution of planning laws.
During the appeals (be they merged into one appeal or not), all debate will surround the word ‘sustainability’. In other words, is Feniton a sustainable location and therefore is it an ideal location for mass development? I used the word ‘mass’ because that is what the village is looking at … mass development. Were these appeals to be allowed, the village would grow by a massive 40%, which cannot be construed as ‘sustainable’ by any stretch of the imagination.
EDDC are currently seeking legal advice as to whether such a super-appeal would be appropriate for the sites in question. The final decision will be made by the Planning Inspectorate after consultation with EDDC and the respective developers. The village can expect to know what will happen by 9 August and I will keep residents informed.