Local Councillor Page -

Local councillor activites and news letter

Ottery Town Council meetings that are not being held in the Council Offices in Ottery this year:







Full Town Council Meetings being held at venues other than the Council Offices this year are listed below:

Tony Ballinger

Assistant to the Town Clerk, Ottery St Mary Town Council

The Old Convent,  8 Broad Street.  Ottery St Mary, EX11 1BZ

Contact Mon/Tues 01404 812252

Otherwise Sue Ginman Wed/Thurs/Fri

Councillor's Column


East Devon District Councillor's Column

Matt Coppell

Independent East Devon District Councillor

By the time you read this, East Devon should finally be the proud owners of a brand new shiny Local Plan. After years of consultations, false starts, much controversy and a general state of limbo, the Inspector has finally given the go ahead and by now the new Plan should have been ratified by full Council at an Extraordinary Meeting held on 28th January.

This should, of course, be good news as we now have strategic direction for the district for the next two decades and policies in place that should put an end to the planning chaos of recent times. However, any sense of relief one might feel at reaching this milestone might be tempered by the retention of some of the more controversial policies within the Plan - one such being the highly contentious employment site in Sidford.

This site was first identified by the East Devon Business Forum (EDBF), whose numbers included Graham Brown, Roy Stuart and Fords of Sidmouth, the latter of whom seem to have been particularly keen on this site. However, recognising how unpopular the decision was to include this site in the Plan, the Conservatives made a last ditch attempt prior to the last election to save their Sidmouth candidates from complete extinction by withdrawing it before final submission. I fear that this was just a cheap electioneering trick as officers were not instructed to submit the further evidence or justification required to make this change. Therefore it was inevitable that when the Inspector came to look at the site he had no option but to insist on its inclusion.

It is an incredibly poorly chosen location, on a site prone to flooding and in a village that already suffers from chronic traffic problems. Not only that, but when you consider that the vast majority of people working in Sidmouth commute from outside the town there is no justification whatsoever for this site. The Conservative-led Council erred badly by allowing businessmen, developers and other parties with a vested interest to lead the EDBF, and this sorry episode serves to highlight why.

This decision isn't just going to have an adverse effect on Sidford, as anyone who uses the A3052 or A375 on a regular basis will ultimately feel the effects of increased traffic volumes and the inevitable congestion it brings. Villages like Sidbury and Newton Poppleford that, much like Sidford, already have serious issues with traffic will suffer badly. Thus any potential economic benefit gained from the new business park will surely be negated by the impact of increased congestion.

Unfortunately, as the site is now enshrined within the plan it will be nigh on impossible to refuse any future planning applications looking to develop there. However, there is hope. The Enterprise Zone (EZ) near the airport is a more attractive proposition for new businesses due to the preferential business rates an EZ can offer. The new Local Plan will also be subject to review every five years, meaning there is a possibility, however slim, that in time common sense might prevail.

One thing is for sure, the Conservative leadership will have some difficult questions to answer at the Extraordinary Meeting on the 28th!

Matt Coppell Independent East Devon Councillor for Ottery St Mary Rural Tel: 07825 843129 Email: matt.coppell@eastdevonalliance.org.uk 

Devon County Councillor's Column