This week’s Brimhay site meeting: were you happy with it? 

Many of the 60 people who attended on Monday to support the community lead alternative were not. If you were there please read the letter below and comment or endorse it. We will have a paper copy at the Parish Open Morning on Saturday to sign.

Dear sirs

Site inspection visit by SHDC Councillors on Monday 22nd June. Brimhay Application no 14/0142/15/F

We write to express our grave concern and disappointment at the site inspection visit held for councillors on Monday.

As you will be aware this very contentious application appears to be being rushed through after the community was assured that it would not be presented to committee until September. It is also led by a new planning officer who has only taken over the case 2 weeks ago. Whilst we in no way are questioning the professional abilities of this officer, considering the huge volume of community objection and support for an innovative community led alternative, we do not consider that an adequate site meeting was conducted on Monday to allow members full consideration of the site and the complexity of issues that it raises.

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The visit lasted a scant half hour and during that time we all felt that planner Tom Sylger- Jones did not explain the plans on the ground; extent and edges of buildings, placement of roads and boundaries, accesses into and out of the site etc. He was not clear on which trees would be retained on site and only after a member asked questions re exactly where buildings would be in relation to the existing nursing home did Tom inaccurately demonstrate.

There seemed some very valid questions from members, which we competently answered, however we were completely shocked that the whole party were only taken to the centre of the lawn and not walked to the edge of Forder Lane – a main access, through the edge of Gidleys Meadow – the main and very contentious access through a cul de sac, or walked along the footpath that borders the edge of the wild valley that will be destroyed by this development. A vague point down across the grass indicated that ‘there was some woodland over there that would be developed’ and no detail was given except that the developer would undertake some remedial measures. No real information was conveyed as to what would be lost or the real concerns of local people expressed in the 250 objections to SHDC. Only members and parish councillors told that side of the story to balance Tom Sylger- Jones case for the SDR led proposals.

Around 60 local people attended the site visit- in the rain at a time when many others concerned were at work or on the school run. It’s a testament to the feeling in this community for Brimhay and our wish to see fair consideration of the community supported alternative plan. 6 of our parish councillors came to support us too.

Whilst we were gratified to see so many committee members out on site and to see their interest and concern for local people’s views, we should like, for the record, to relay our concerns re this visit and would welcome your response. We should like this letter; paper and electronic version to be added to the objections to be brought forward to your committee on 1st July. Thank you

On behalf of the community of Dartington.

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