In an entirely cynical move, developers Welbeck Strategic Land have submitted a proposal for 300 houses on the western edge of Honiton just before the Christmas and New Year holiday period.
However, the appalling timing of this application will be seen as a calculated move by the developers at a time when the country grinds to a festive halt for the best part of two weeks. I have therefore requested from officers at EDDC’s Planning Department that the deadline for submission of comments be extended by 14 days.
The site was allocated as a ‘reserve site’ under the draft Local Plan, meaning that if insufficient sites were found within the Honiton built-up area boundary by 2026, then this site could come forward.
However, Honiton Town Council is confident that they can find sites for their allocation of 450 houses without stretching the town boundaries through ribbon development.
Like so many other developers, Welbeck have seized the opportunity to exploit the vacuum in East Devon caused by the lack of an adopted Local Plan.
Under the latest planning laws (NPPF), where a council fails to have an adopted Local Plan, the presumption is in favour of sustainable development.
Welbeck are seeking to squeeze through this massive loophole before the window closes once the Local Plan is in place, probably at the end of 2014.
The application number is 13/2744/OUT, for ‘outline application comprising residential development (up to 300 units, 40% of which would be affordable) including a new access onto Hayne Lane, highway improvements, open space, allotments and drainage (access only to be considered at this stage).’