Feniton will probably have to wait a little longer than 4 April for the result of the Super Inquiry held in January this year.
The Inquiry was heard by Planning Inspector, Jessica Graham, into up to 235 houses proposed by three developers (Feniton Park Ltd for Acland Park, Wainhomes for an extension to their 50 houses behind Louvigny Close, and Strategic Land Partnerships for development on land west of Ottery Road) in Feniton.
To get to this point has been a most extraordinary journey of incredible victories when planning applications were turned down at committee … to a crushing defeat when the 50 homes were allowed at appeal in 2012 (currently under construction by Wainhomes) … to unutterable shock at the revelations in the Daily Telegraph and the subsequent resignation of former District Councillor Graham Brown … to the outpouring of generosity by residents of Feniton and beyond who pledged almost £8000 towards the legal challenge of Feniton Parish Council.
But just as the date for the publication of the inquiry decision draws near, the Government has produced new guidance which will underpin the NPPF (National Planning Policy Framework, the current planning policy).
The Planning Inspectorate has written to all parties at the Feniton Inquiry (each of the three developers, EDDC and Feniton Parish Council) to ask them to look at the new guidance (National Planning Practice Guidance or NPPG) and comment on how this might affect the decision on allowing mass development in Feniton. The letter, dated 17 March 2014, reads:
If you consider that the NPPG (or the consequent withdrawal of a previous planning practice guidance) has relevance to this case, please submit your comments on this matter only in a submission titled ‘National Planning Practice Guidance’. The deadline for submission of your comments is 10 days from the date of this letter. Please copy your response to the other parties. The Inspector will take into account any comments received in her decision.
The deadline for submission of comments from the Inquiry participants only (no further comment is allowed from members of the public) is 28 March, leaving very little time for the Planning Inspector to consider the statements and decide whether they will have any material consideration on her decision.
Her decision is therefore unlikely to come before 4 April, but I expect it will be very shortly thereafter.
The new planning guidance is available here … http://planningguidance.planningportal.gov.uk/
There is nothing significant in the fact that parties have been asked to submit comments as all current inquiries across the country awaiting decision will have received the same letter.
As soon as a decision is made public, I will let everyone know and let the village jungle drums do the rest.
Meanwhile, Feniton might just have to be patient a little longer.