Timescale of LDF review criticised

Campaigners concerned East Devon District Council is using delay tactics until after local elections next May.

A campaign group has welcomed a decision by East Devon District Council to make ‘significant reductions’ to the numbers of new homes and industrial estates planned for the area over the next 15 years.

But Communities Before Developers says it is unhappy with the time it will take the council to review its draft core strategy, which will take six months.

The campaign group staged a high profile battle against the planning blueprint.

Campaign spokeswoman Claire Wright said: “We may have started the ball rolling in trying to get the plans amended, but the response from local people to the campaign was really incredible.

“By the time we had our demonstration at the Knowle in November, where over 100 people joined us, our website was getting over 800 hits a week and emails and phone calls were pouring in from people living in every part of the district. People wanted to know how they could do their bit to help.

County and district councillor Roger Giles added: “It will be clearer now than ever before to councillors and planning officers that our countryside, with all its wildlife and beauty is very special to East Devon’s residents and they will not tolerate plans to pave the way to destroy it.

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“We would question why EDDC’s ‘exhaustive review’ will take six months. Back in August at the Development Management Committee meeting where the LDF was launched, one councillor after another claimed that the LDF had to be agreed urgently.”

Fellow campaigner Jonathan Underwood added: “East Devon residents and public bodies have now given EDDC a clear steer on how the LDF should be amended, yet EDDC is to take six months to review it.

“We hope that councillors are not deliberately delaying version two of the LDF until after the May elections, fobbing off residents in the meantime, so they can get away with only a slightly less outrageous proposal when it is politically safer for them to do so.”