The atmosphere in Feniton Primary School was one of smouldering fury last night.
Exactly a year since the last Extraordinary meeting to discuss the planning onslaught on the village, residents packed the school hall to hear the Parish Council discuss Wainhomes’ latest application for 31 houses.
This meeting, however, was a much calmer affair than that held 12 months ago. People in the village are war weary and battle scarred, but there is a determination that Feniton should not give in to the bullying tactics of Wainhomes.
I was amazed (although I shouldn’t have been) at how knowledgeable everyone has become on current planning law, the absence of the Local Plan and the lack of a 5/6-year land supply.
SWW came in for a great deal of stick for not objecting to planning applications on the basis of the woeful foul water network. Much of the network is a combined foul water and surface water system, and is simply overloaded at times of heavy rainfall. Chairman of the Parish Council, Martyn Smith, and I have laboured long and hard to get SWW to understand the situation on the ground … drains blocking on a regular basis and foul water being discharged on to the roads … but to no avail.
But the main focus of fury was directed at Wainhomes whom one resident described as ‘cheating the community’. And that, pretty much, sums up the general disgust for this corporate bully.
Wainhomes’ failure to install the attenuation tanks required by condition placed on them at the inquiry in 2012 has angered the entire community, and questions were asked as to whether the temporary tanks were sufficient.
The flood risk assessment (FRA), which incorporates the attenuation tanks, was commissioned by Wainhomes and designed by AWP (Awcock Ward Partnership), based in Exeter. The community in Feniton is relying on AWP to have got the FRA right, is relying on its expertise and is relying on its integrity.
Having listened intently to all the arguments, the Parish Council voted unanimously to oppose the application.
But then one more hand was raised. ‘But what about the gagging clause?’
More on that later …