East Devon District Council responds to Wainhomes

East Devon District Council has issued another very robust response to Wainhomes in the light of their statement to the press (https://susiebond.wordpress.com/2014/10/16/wainhomes-statement/).

EDDC’s statement speaks for itself:

We are concerned by the Wainhomes’ media statement on a number of counts, but primarily with their assertion that ‘a large part of the attenuation scheme has been installed’.

It appears that at best only four small attenuation tanks are in place, giving an estimated capacity of just 13% of the agreed capacity. No homes should have been occupied until 100% of this capacity had been provided. Yet several homes have already been occupied.

A revised drainage scheme has now been received from Wainhomes, together with a letter identifying that the redesign has arisen to accommodate additional houses – although as yet no new planning application has been submitted for these.

Although Wainhomes state that their revised drainage plan has been approved by South West Water, the important approval has to come from EDDC – and we have not approved it.

Currently the revised drainage plan and the latest letter do nothing to change the Breach of Condition Notice served on 13 October. This continues to run and Wainhomes will face the consequences of continued non-compliance if they fail to complete the original drainage scheme before the six-week deadline expires.

In the meantime, EDDC will now be consulting a number of bodies about the new drainage scheme proposal. This consultation will be carried out as quickly as possible so that we can know the outcome before the six-week deadline for installing the agreed drainage scheme expires.

Despite Wainhomes’ statement claiming that “additional temporary [drainage] measures have been agreed”, these have not been agreed by us.

Read the full story here (http://new.eastdevon.gov.uk/news/2014/10/council-puts-pressure-on-developer-to-install-vital-flood-relief-tanks/) or the many posts on the subject on my blog.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *
The One Show programme filmed in the village this week is currently likely to be shown on Monday 20 October. However, as it is a programme whose schedules change depending on the news stories of the day, it may be postponed.


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12 Responses to East Devon District Council responds to Wainhomes

  1. Paul says:

    Nice to see a robust position from EDDC, however the reality is that Wainhomes will not want to install the old scheme which doesn’t provide capacity for the additional houses, and EDDC will not be able to approve the new scheme in time for Wainhomes then to buy and install it before the 6 week deadline runs out.

    In the words of Craig Revel Horwood, “It’s a disaaasteeer, darling.”

    So, it looks to me like EDDC will agree the new scheme in (say) 4 weeks time, and Wainhomes will start to implement it – but the tanks (which are probably bespoke) will not be made until (say) another 4-8 weeks have passed, and even if they start digging the holes whilst the tanks are being made, it has got to take (say) another 4 weeks to finish everything up – so I would imagine we are looking at 12-16 weeks before the work is complete which is way beyond Christmas.

    I guess we need to hope that we don’t get a really serious spell of heavy rain until then.

    • Anthony Harper says:

      You seem very knowledgeable and I wonder if Val Jones and I could possibly have a chat with you about Wainhomes etc Could you call me on 01404 850389. Thank you. Anthony Harper

  2. Peter Bending says:

    Surely the point is that there are no additional house permitted so there is no need for EDDC to look at the new scheme as the current plan are sufficient for the houses allowed under the appeal.
    EDDC must stick to their guns and proceed with the prosecution if the tanks are not install within the next 5 weeks

    • Paul says:

      Nice idea, but not I fear how the real world works. My cynical view is that:

      EDDC will feel obliged to review the new designs. Wainhomes will feel justified in not starting work until the new designs are approved or rejected because they want the bigger design (because they think they will get more houses and it will be cheaper than a second abatement system). Wainhome will not be worried about the prospect of a court case because by the time it actually gets to court the decision over the new system will be made and they will be starting to implement it – and neither they nor EDDC will want to spend money on actually going to court, so some time in the spring the abatement will actually be put in.

      The super cynics view is that EDDC will feel that they should agree to the new designs if they will do the job regardless of whether the additional capacity is needed, and once they are installed Wainhomes will use the excuse that they “had spent more money on the bigger abatements” in order to justify why they should be given PP for the additional homes.

  3. Cate Edmonds says:

    A robust statement but EDDC must not waver as Wainhomes are obviously just as determined.

  4. Gill Ewings says:

    EDDC should just stick to their guns and insist that the tanks which they have already approved as the planning application should be installed immediately. There should be NO discussion no shilly shallying. EDDC has no obligation to even look at a new scheme, Wianhomes should be told to just get on with it as is and should also be heavily fined for occupying the properties Before these tanks were in place thereby breaching the conditions—they have already broken the law!

    • Peter Bending says:

      Absolutely right Gill but I’m very much afraid EDDC will cave in to Wainhomes just as SWW have. I think Wainhomes have very deep pockets when it comes to litigation and it scares the pants of councils.

    • Paul says:

      Neither Wainhomes nor EDDC want the expense of actual litigation. The good news is that indications are that EDDC will not compromise on the quality of the abatements, but fortunately Wainhomes are not arguing about doing something at least as good as current requirements.

      But EDDC pretty much have to consider the new design, otherwise Wainhomes will say that they are being unreasonable. But Wainhomes needs more time to get the new design approved by EDDC, so they will let the deadline pass and hope that they can stave off litigation long enough to get the new design installed before it actually gets to court. And don’t forget that the court is there to make Wainhomes install it – AFAIK there is no basis for the courts fining Wainhomes for being late – if they are installing it when the case actually gets to court, then the court pretty much has nothing to do. So in practice providing that Wainhomes have started to install it by the time the court date comes available, EDDC will probably not take it to court.

      So, my prediction is that Feniton will get a first rate abatement scheme, but not by end November.

      The real risk to Wainhomes is that there is a major flood before the abatement is installed and working, in which case Feniton residents might sue for damages. But (playing devil’s advocate again), Wainhomes might argue that it cannot be proved that there would not have been flooding if the abatements had been installed and working, so it cannot be proved that the flooding was their fault. They could also argue that it was delays by EDDC to approving the new design which delayed the installation, so EDDC were partly to blame (not that I agree with this, but that is what happens).

      Unfortunately this is the way that the real world works. Wainhomes know this, so they play hardball and go right down to the line and take a certain amount of risk (even though it is Feniton residents rather than them who will really pay the price if it all goes wrong).

  5. Val Jones says:

    When Wainhomes were given permission for 50 houses (September 2012) the Inspector (Ken Barton) said “it has been suggested by local people that Wainhomes want to build more than 50 houses and will seek to extend the site, but I can see no evidence of this”.
    Surely then he allowed the 50 based on it being just 50. Wainhomes had already backed their application up with a statement that having consulted the village people, they felt that 50 would be appropriate. Jessica Graham, in dismissing the 83 houses in April this year, was satisfied that the site should not extend.
    The tanks were passed as being appropriate for the 50 – there is no need to change them. It is Wainhomes who are moving the goalposts and EDDC who need to be firm.
    Wainhomes intend to put in another planning application which will be on the allotment land and community hall land both of which were promised to the village (drawn up during the appeal sitting) and signed for in a Section 106 by the landowners and the developers. The proposed application is also on land which was designated as open space and which the Inspector (Ken Barton) insisted had to be kept as open space and Wainhomes cannot develop that part of the land (open space) incorporated within the appeal decision. The decision included their landscaping and design submission which they can’t change. The rest of the proposed application is on land refused on appeal (April 2014) and as such they should not even be submitting it for two years (see Planning Portal guidance on appeals)
    If EDDC do cave in on this, then Feniton and just about every other village is doomed, because it will be a green light to all developers.

  6. Val Jones says:

    That’s terrible Pete. Just read your link. And Cornwall Council seem reluctant to do anything to back the residents. Again Wainhomes was “unavailable for comment”, just as they have been over the tank situation here, until they finally made a statement. Sheer contempt for local people.
    But at least EDDC have shown some teeth with their enforcement notice and we need to keep pressing them to make sure Wainhomes don’t get away with it. They also need to make sure that all parties to the Section 106 (a legal document) do not renege on their agreement. Otherwise there would be no point in these documents being drawn up in the first place. I’m sure if EDDC tried to pull out of the agreement, Wainhomes would quickly start their bully boy threats.

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