The Planning Minister has directed East Devon District Council (EDDC) not to grant planning permission for 300 homes in Gittisham following representations made by Tiverton and Honiton MP Neil Parish.
Neil Parish MP wrote to the Minister on behalf of Gittisham Parish Council and the local residents on the 10th June to ask that the Department for Communities and Local Government review how the decision was made to grant planning permission and whether the correct procedures were carried out.
The development is on a Greenfield sit next to an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) where nearby there can still be found a Bronze Age burial site on Gittisham Hill. This Development would also double the number of houses, and people, in the area.
Neil Parish received a reply from the Planning Minister Nick Bole MP, who has since been made Minister of State for Skills and Enterprise in the recent reshuffle, on the 14th July 2014.
In his letter the Minister wrote that officials in his Department had now issued an Article 25 Direction which directs the Council “not to grant permission on this application without specific authorisation”. This will enable the Secretary of State to decide whether or not he “calls-in” the planning application under Section 77 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.
“Calling-in” of a planning application refers to the power of the Secretary of State to take the decision making power on a particular planning application out of the hands of the local planning authority for his own determination.
“I believe it is possible and necessary to build new affordable houses to bring prices down and offer young people opportunities to live and work in Devon whilst also balancing the needs of existing communities and landscape. By any measure this proposed development at Gittisham is an overdevelopment of the area and would put on incredible strain on exists transport infrastructure and local services.
“These are not unknown or unique circumstances in East Devon. Proposed development sites nearby have been rejected for these very same reasons. Residents of Gitisham who have written to me have expressed their concerns that the problems that exist within this site have been ignored by the local planning authority. I look forward to hearing from the new Planning Minister, Brandon Lewis MP, in due course.”