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Clayhidon Parish Council, February 2012

Parish challenges district on Clayhidon's affordable home

FEBRUARY 6 2012: 
by Sue Hay

This meeting of the Parish Council was brought forward by a week. All residents should have received a notice about this change.

The meeting was dominated by discussion on the future of the ‘Affordable Home’ at Hidon fields. The planning committee are due to consider this at their next meeting on February 15 and are proposing to lift the 106 agreement which is designed to ensure that the house is made available at an affordable price to residents of the Parish. 

The meeting was well supported by members of the Parish who were invited to join the discussion. The Parish Council are still fighting this proposed change and gratefully accepted the offer of free legal advice and support from Nick Gerasimidis. 

The Council agreed to ask Nick to write to MDDC Planning committee, on behalf of the Parish council, asking for written justification of the policy that they were applying and for consideration of the future of our ‘Affordable Home’ to be delayed to give us time to investigate the possibility of a legal challenge.

Sean Wheeldon, an expert on Community Land Trusts, joined us to explain how a Community Land Trust works and the present situation regarding Government funding. It could be possible for Clayhidon to form its own Community Land Trust to build affordable homes within the Parish. The idea is that these homes are “owned by the community, run by the community and available to local people in perpetuity”. 

To qualify for Government funding any building would have to be completed by 15 March 2013. This doesn’t leave much time. This would only be possible if exception sites were available that were considered acceptable by both the Parish and the Planners. There was an overwhelming vote that the Parish Council should investigate this further.

Ray Radford of Devon County Council gave a brief report. There are more cuts to be made; another £20m this year. This has been helped by the present winter as, so far, considerably less salt has been needed on the roads. Council Tax will not be increased. Sadly one of the largest drains on the Council budget is children in care. At present there are 690 children being cared for by Devon CC.

Frank Rosamund of Mid Devon District council reported that they are considering allowing development around Junction 27 of the M5 as they think it will bring more work and help to improve the local economy.

Other Planning issues: The Mobile Home at Ten Oakes has been refused its retrospective planning application. Bolham House Farm have applied for ground based Solar Panels.

Sue Hay