4 February 2020: THE board of the Colyton & Colyford Community Land Trust Ltd has provided an update on its work following its most recent board meeting.
The board accepts the Housing Needs Survey of 2017 as the current indicator of the need for 36 affordable units for rent within the parish.
At a public meeting in October 2019 the board identified a potential site for up to 20 affordable units at Lewis Haye and is aware that the number of units which might be built here will depend upon the number of such affordable units built on other sites (not necessarily in conjunction with the Trust) and the suitability of the site.
The board accepts its responsibility in its use of public funds in relation to any fact finding activities and will liaise closely with East Devon District Council and/or any other providers of appropriate funds; to date no funds have been requested or received for such purposes.
The board wishes to address some of the comments received by email concerning the potential site at Lewis Haye and is still considering other comments. It wishes to clarify its current position as follows:
Neighbouring Sunflower House Rewilding Project
The board recognises and shares the current public concern for environmental issues and therefore recognise the value of such private schemes. However the board is also conscious of the need to gain independent, professional advice on any potential impact of any possible development on the local environment and ecology so that future decisions are properly informed.
Traffic and Access
The board is aware that the expansion plans for Colyton Grammar School may increase traffic flow along Hillhead. It will consult with Devon Highways concerning other traffic matters in due course. The site proposed at the October 2019 meeting is within half a mile of bus stops, primary school and shops. The Surgery and Preschool are within a few minutes of further walking.
Green Wedge Designation
There are two main purposes for this: a) To maintain the integrity of the built up borders of close settlements b) To maintain the integrity of the built up border of an existing settlement
It does not necessarily recognise other features of the site which may be appropriate for planning considerations. The board will work closely with the planning department at East Devon District Council. The proposed site is not in the East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
Visual Impact of any proposed development
Whilst the visibility of the existing Seaway Head development is noted; it is also noted that the gradient of the field behind is less steep and the skyline is provided by existing mature trees. Cutting into the existing hillside to reduce visual impact is an option to be considered.
Availability of other sites
The board remains open to suggestions and offers of other sites. Brownfield sites (i.e. those which have or have had some construction upon them) are few in number and are unlikely to be affordable for the sole provision of affordable dwellings.
Conduct of the board
The board entirely rejects any implications of impropriety and recognises the rules of incorporation as laid down by the Financial Conduct Authority. None of the actions of the board can be regarded as illegal or negligent and are inline with what is expected of volunteer members seeking to achieve the aim of delivering affordable homes for local people.
The board is keen to be as transparent as possible with regular updates posted on the website to inform members of the local community. It will, however, maintain a level of confidentiality that is appropriate to sometimes sensitive discussions with those who are trying to assist the Trust in its aims.
The board has already considered approximately 20 sites and will continue to identify and investigate further potential sites. It remains open to offers and suggestions in this respect. We continue to seek and accept appropriate advice on a number of relevant issues with regard to this potential site.