Judged on merits

PUBLISHED: 15:37 13 August 2008 | UPDATED: 22:10 15 June 2010

East Devon District Council has reassured Axminster residents, angry over plans to put up a permanent gypsy traveller site, that each application is judged on its own merits. The response comes after a public meeting at the Guildhall, in which it was said

East Devon District Council has reassured Axminster residents, angry over plans to put up a permanent gypsy traveller site, that each application is judged on its own merits.The response comes after a public meeting at the Guildhall, in which it was said two applications for the same site were put through around the same time, with the gypsy one one used to deflect from the other.Mr Down's application to put nine permanent gypsy pitches at Monkton Wyld Cross, Raymonds Hill, had previously been met by strong opposition by residents.But, during the meeting called to discuss the applications last Tuesday (August 5), Raymonds Hill residents' spokesman David Beddows claimed it was planning by 'stealth'. He referred to a another application for nine 'affordable dwellings' - a block of three two-bedroom flats, three one-bedroom dwellings and three two-bedroom dwellings.Mr Beddows said that if a contentious plan is submitted a different plan may get through.He said: "The community is more likely to accept it. But we mustn't cool down. It's not a fait accompli."We are not aware if this application has been progressed at all in the planning system as it has never been mentioned in any of the discussions and or documents which relate to the planning application."What next? An application for a nuclear power station or nine small ones?"He called for an end to 'speculative' applications and requested more detail.Mr Down was invited to the meeting but did not attend. When the Herald tried to contact him, neither he, nor his agents, were available for comment.Mr Beddows added: "It's important the rights of all citizens are properly upheld by elected officials, which includes the rights of fixed communities, as well as those who choose nomadic lifestyles."A spokesman for EDDC said: "So far as EDDC is concerned, there is no such thing as planning by the back door."All planning applications come in by the front door and are dealt with fairly, according to planning policy and guidelines, with each proposal judged on its individual merits."The proposal in question is currently being processed - that is to say we have invited comments from interested parties, including Devon's Gyspy Liaison Officer, and will be collating these in the coming weeks."It is expected that this application will be determined in the autumn.

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