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2016 VGS comment on additions to Sidford planning application

Today was the final day for submissions on the latest plans for the business park at Sidford


VGS Futures Forum – comment on additions to Sidford planning application


Further Objection to Planning Application 16/0669/MOUT

Land at Two Bridges Road, Sidford

16/0669/MOUT | Outline application accompanied by an Environmental Statement (with all matters reserved except access) for the development of up to 22,800sqm of floor space for use classes B1 (Office Light Industry), B2 (General Industry) and B8 (Storage and Distribution) with details of, and associated strategic landscaping for, the access, linking cycleway and footway, and flood improvements/attenuation. | Land Adjacent To Two Bridges Two Bridges Road Sidford


Submitted by the Vision Group for Sidmouth, 15th September 2016




The VGS objected to the Planning Application 16/0669/MOUT on 7th June 2016 – on the basis that it contravenes specific Policies and Strategies in the East Devon Local Plan.

These comments still form part of the VGS representation to this Application.

Vision Group for Sidmouth – VGS Futures Forum – final comment on Sidford planning application



Further to the submission of further details by the Applicant, the VGS would like to provide further comment objecting to the Application, on the following basis:



In a recent case it was made clear that any development on Green Belt would be deemed ‘inappropriate’ as it would impact ‘visual amenity and other harm i.e. nature conservation’. Whilst the ED AONB is not ‘green belt’, the status can be regarded as conferring greater protection, on par with that of National Parks:



Government guidelines emphasise the need to balance the “three dimensions to sustainable development”:

“These roles should not be undertaken in isolation, because they are mutually dependent. Economic growth can secure higher social and environmental standards, and well-designed buildings and places can improve the lives of people and communities. Therefore, to achieve sustainable development, economic, social and environmental gains should be sought jointly and simultaneously through the planning system. The planning system should play an active role in guiding development to sustainable solutions.”

This Application fails in that:

> it has not been proven that it will ‘secure higher social and environmental standards’, as the higher traffic levels will clearly impact on such standards;

> the buildings are clearly not ‘well-designed’, as their visual impact will be felt well beyond the immediate area;

> the development will not ‘improve the lives of people and communities’ as local residents who are supposed to benefit directly have been clear in their opposition to these proposals;

> finally, it is disappointing that the planning system in this case has failed to ‘play an active role in guiding development to sustainable solutions’ as it does not fulfil the basic tenets as laid out by the Brundtland Commission: ‘”Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

As argued in the final VGS submission to the draft Local Plan, the introduction to that document omitted ‘the essentials for planning long term sustainability’ and this omission is clearly felt in this Application: ‘for example in relation to agricultural land for food security, integrating employment land with residential provision, preserving flood plains and wetlands, … mitigating the effects of climate change, retaining the economic and environmental assets that underpin the local tourist industry, providing opportunities for skills and training relevant to the local economy, or planning the infrastructure of the district in relation to flood control, drainage and sewage control, traffic management etc.’ /news/2015/june/vision-group-comment-on-draft-local-plan.aspx



The increase in traffic resulting from this proposed development threatens to increase air pollution, a problem which is only slowly being considered by the authorities: and

A submission commented on an application in Honiton with similar references to air pollution:

In the VGS submission to the draft Local Plan of January 2013, considerable evidence was provided to show that this proposed development is actually not necessary: ‘Sidmouth does not suffer from the problem of all other towns in East Devon (other than Axminster) which seek to ‘reduce out-commuting’; in which case, Sidmouth does not need to ‘create more local jobs’ on the large scale proposed in the Local Plan.’

Moreover, the Local Plan’s recommendations for “modest employment growth” for Sidmouth are contravened by this Application: ‘In the context of the Sidmouth economy this does not represent ‘modest employment growth’: rather, it amounts to substantial overdevelopment, as unemployment is historically particularly low in Sidmouth.’ /media/65397/representation-to-local-plan-final-version-vgs-14jan13.pdf



Jeremy Woodward

on behalf of the Vision Group for Sidmouth

15th September 2016