For months now, Council Leader Jeremy Christophers has repeated the mantra ‘It’s going ahead’ in the face of all criticism and all appeals to look sensibly at the evidence. He’s still repeating himself. But even he can’t fail to notice the doubting voices from his own council.
PCL Planning, who have raged against TDC and threatened them with legal action if their plans are not approved wholesale, are pushing their appeal against non-determination (which would effectively give them planning permission to build) on March 26. But now Ian Perry, the principal planning officer for Teignbridge, says that he will tell the inspector the plans should be dismissed for the time being, “due to environmental concerns and that the link road would be delivered after 500 homes are occupied, rather than 300”.
He added that even if the NA3 site is taken out of the land allocated for development, the council can still demonstrate a five year land supply and so development at Wolborough is not required to meet housing targets. This is the first time Teignbridge Council has admitted that it has more land than even its own inflated targets require.
This statement echoes the words of Dennis Smith (Cons, Ambrook Ward). Shortly after telling the chamber that he was ‘unconvinced’ by PCL’s plan, particularly the link road that they had alluded to in the vaguest terms, the appeal was thrown out. A clone of that appeal is what will happen on March 26. But whereas it was assumed that the council would wave it through, it now appears that there is some resistance.
Dennis Smith has since told the local press that NA3 could, in theory, come out of the Local Plan or that it might remain on the plan in theory but never actually get delivered. This is about a country mile from Christophers’ version.
Muttered asides (and we have a bagful we’ve been asked not to share) are beginning to drift further and further from the words of the Council Leader, who at the moment seems to be busy visiting schools and telling them they won’t be able to live near their parents when they grow up if they don’t let him build thousands of houses (and, from what we’ve heard, getting told by kids they would prefer he just leaves the wildlife alone, thanks). Having lost the confidence of today’s voters, he’s getting short shrift from tomorrow’s.
If NA3 stalls it will be explained away as ‘changing need’ or ‘after doing due diligence’. They will, we hope, try to make it look as if intelligence and the political process alone have led them to the most apposite decision.
Whereas we all know that if there were any plenitude of intelligence in our council, this area would never have appeared on the Local Plan at all.
Behind these cracks is YOU, our 5,600 signatories, the WRA, Abbotskerswell Parish Council and the dozens of you who keep turning up to protest this madness. It’s all down to you, making it clear to every councillor that supports this plan that it will fasten around their careers like a ball and chain and drag them to the bottom of the Teign Estuary.
Not that we want any credit. We just want this stupidity to stop.
So Teignbridge Planners: pretty much the whole town is saying No. Stand up to Westminster. Stand up to the developers. Take the credit for saving our town. Save your own seats in May. Just grow a backbone and say NO.
Everyone else, don't ease off. This is where we push the hardest. Keep hammering.
SUPPORT THE CROWDFUNDER TO DEFEAT TDC IN COURT
...Sign our petition (if you haven't already)...
...AND BE AT THE PLANNING MEETING ON TUESDAY MARCH 26!!