The public inquiry into mass overdevelopment of Feniton continued today (Wednesday 8 January).
Resident Trevor Ives, who lives in a cottage which predates the construction of the railway and many of the houses in the new part of the village. He explained that he has lived in the village since 1986 and endured 2 years out of his home due to flooding in 2000 and 2008. After legal action, SWW provided a flood alleviation scheme for his house.
He expressed a view that the residents of Feniton had been let down by the public authorities and SWW. He queried the suitability of a combined sewer and referred to a document from SWW in 2001 confirming that the sewerage system was overloaded at that time. The letter confirmed that the pumping station struggled to cope and that improvements would be considered to alleviate the position.
He was cross-examined by the barrister representing Feniton Park Ltd to confirm whether any reduction in the amount of sewage would be welcome. He replied, however, that more sun and less rain would be helpful (a rare moment of levity during the day!)
The barrister for Acland Park asked the Landscape Architect to confirm that he did not intend to present evidence on landscape grounds against the Feniton Park (AP) site.
The barrister for Strategic Land Partnerships spent a considerable amount of time trying to refute the evidence of the Landscape Architect by saying that building on Camp Field would not harm the approach to the village, that building on the field would allow residents to walk through the field and would thus help them to appreciate the views beyond (something they are unable to do at the moment) (apparently!).
The legal representative for SLP caused a rare moment of amusement when he suggested to EDDC’s Landscape Architect that the architect’s assertion that Camp Field was at the entrance to the village was not strictly true and stated that the entrance to the village was actually at the point where there was a village sign (beyond Sweetham’s Cottage). The sound of hair splitting was audible! Anyone resident will know that half of Camp Field, the cottages of Metcombe and Sweetham and the sign indicating that you are about to enter Feniton are actually in Ottery.
Much of Strategic Land Partnerships’ evidence was based on the fact that Long Park Farm (an isolated farmstead) would still be visible over the rooftops of the new development on Camp Field, totally ignoring the fact that what is beautiful about Camp Field is the way it provides a long view as it sweeps up from the road, the isolated farmstead at the top being of little interest.
Next it was the turn of Wainhomes. The landscape amenity of Camp Field as well as the Wainhomes site are greatly appreciated by the residents of the village as they set Feniton into the landscape and give it a sense of place. However, residents already understand that Wainhomes has no concept of the beauty of the rural environment, witness the decimation of the stunning Devon bank and hedge which were razed to the ground within days of groundworkers arriving on site for the 50 homes won at appeal in 2012.
The Wainhomes QC took the Landscape Architect’s evidence in an extremely adversarial manner, leaving members of the public gasping in incredulity. To his credit, the EDDC officer held his own, running through the various view points along Green Lane. This went on for more than two hours and the patronising tone of the QC continued right to the end.
Tomorrow proceeding start at 9.30 again and we understand that it is expected to be a long day. Between 20 and 25 residents dropped in and out of the inquiry throughout the day.