Government response fails to mention Honiton

Residents’ association chairman disappointed with answers to community centre questions.

The Government has sent a “non-committal” response to a Honiton residents’ association which raised concerns about the cost of the proposed community centre complex.

Ken Sherman, chairman of the Northcote Lane Area Residents’ Association, is disappointed the response does not even refer to the �2m project and states that the Government will not interfere with the jurisdiction of local authorities on planning matters.

“It is a non-committal sort of reply that does not further the situation - not forward or backward,” he told the Midweek Herald.

Mr Sherman wrote to Prime Minister David Cameron posing questions about the cost of the project and asking if cash set aside by Honiton Town Council for loan repayments would be better spent on safeguarding the future of Honiton Youth Centre.

The Prime Minister replied by saying he had asked the “relevant department” to provide an in-depth response.

However, the response, from Mrs M Peart, of the National Planning Casework Unit, does not even mention Honiton.

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She wrote: “As you may be aware, local planning authorities have the statutory responsibility for considering proposals for development. Authorities have to determine planning applications in the light of the local development plan for the area and any other material planning applications.

“They must also take into account any representations received and give reasons for their decision.

“The Government is clear that localism and decentralisation are at the heart of their planning agenda and the general approach of the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government is not to interfere with the jurisdiction on planning matters.”

Mrs Peart added: “The department has policy responsibility for the structure of local government and for the legal and financial framework within which local authorities carry out their activities.

“It is also responsible for the overall external financial support which authorities receive towards their total costs.

“But it is the responsibility of local authorities to allocate/spend resources locally in the light of any programme budgetary constraints whilst securing propriety, regularity and best value for money.”

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