Local plan: Honiton ‘totally ignored’

Honiton Town Council to complain to East Devon District Council about local plan concerns.

Honiton Town Council is to raise concerns with East Devon District Council regarding the local plan for the town.

The council will be submitting a complaint against the development management committee, highlighting concerns about negotiations over the east of Honiton, recommendations of the town council being overlooked and ward members being denied permission to speak on issues affecting the town.

The confusion of sites and non-listing of strategic sites will also be raised by the town council.

At a meeting last week, Councillor Vivienne Ash said she felt the town council had been “totally ignored” by the district council.

Councillor Mike Allen said: “We were not allowed to speak. I tried repeatedly to ask to speak – I regret that we were not allowed to speak - that to me is reprehensible.”

He raised concerns over the “constant relocation of sites” for Honiton and said “there was a lack of clarity around Honiton that doesn’t exist in other towns”.

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Speaking about the development management meeting at the Knowle, Councillor Peter Halse, said: “I have to say it was the most uncomfortable meeting I have been a part of. It appeared to me that the committee was going to make a decision without any representation from the town being considered.

“I felt very unhappy at the way it was done. The way they handled it was, unfortunately, extremely unfair to Honiton.”

Mr Halse, chairman of the district authority, said an issue concerning Lympstone was highlighted and some of the councillors present were able to correct officers and make a change. He said he supported the complaint as a town councillor.

Former mayor Councillor Vernon Whitlock asked whether the matter would be reviewed to ensure it did not happen again.

Mr Allen stated that the district council had agreed to review the local plan procedure.

During public questions the town council was asked to clarify its position on the Heathfield Manor site after the Midweek Herald incorrectly reported that the council was in favour of reinstating the allocation of 300 houses.

The mayor, Councillor David Foster said: “This council has always been against housing in this particular area.”