Feniton Parish Council and Fight for Feniton’s Future jointly hosted a meeting of residents to discuss the Super Inquiry into three developments totalling up to 235 houses in the village.
The Super Inquiry will start on 7 January 2014 at 10 a.m. in Feniton Bowling Club and will see Wainhomes, Feniton Park Ltd and Strategic Land Partnership argue their case for mass development ahead of the adoption of the Local Plan which allocates just 35 houses for Feniton.
This scenario is being played out across the country in the one third of councils which do not have their Local Plan in place. BBC Spotlight reported on the situation in Feniton ahead of the meeting (available on BBC iPlayer for one day only, http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b03gf6kg/Spotlight_04_11_2013/, but check Fight for Feniton’s website http://theffff.wordpress.com/, where it should be available soon). Under the latest planning laws (the National Planning Policy Framework) rushed through by the Coalition Government against mass opposition from campaign groups, including the CPRE, developers can build almost anywhere, as long as it’s deemed ‘sustainable’.
And that’s the crux of the matter.
At last night’s meeting, the sustainability (or lack thereof) of Feniton was debated at length. Dr Claire Horrocks, a university lecturer in sustainability, was on hand to explain what constituted sustainable development and despite its complexity as a subject, it can be summed up as:
Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
The issue of sustainability will be thrashed out at the Super Inquiry in January by barristers on each side of the argument. Feniton Parish Council will be playing a full part in proceedings and residents pledged large sums of money to help defray the costs of legal advice. I don’t think I have ever seen so many people queuing up to offer their hard-earned cash to the cause of their village, such is the strength of feeling locally.
For a full report of the meeting, see Claire Wright’s blog: http://www.claire-wright.org.