Locals’ wishes ‘ignored’, say village planners

By Sam Acourt in Planning

Dartington’s aspirations for future development in the village have been sidelined following the publication of the latest local plan, it was claimed.

The community-led Neighbourhood Plan spelled out where it wanted to see new homes built and where it didn’t.

But with the recent publication of the Joint Local Plan, covering Plymouth, west Devon and the South Hams, the community plan team’s proposals appear to have been all but ignored.

This week Dartington’s Neighbourhood Plan team issued a statement, asking: “Is this making a mockery of the Neighbourhood Plan process?”

The team is now planning to hold a public consultation day at Dartington Village Hall on Saturday, March 25, so that villagers can have a say over the now published plan proposals.

Last week Dartington district councillor Jacqi Hodgson warned that the massive new housing allocation dumped on the village would kill it.

The plan proposals involve building 282 new homes in Dartington during the next 17 years – and this on top of hundreds of homes that have just been completed, as well as those on sites in the parish that appear to have been added to Totnes’s new homes allocation.

She claimed that the total amount of new homes would see the size of Dartington increase by a massive 65 per cent.

The statement declared: “The Dartington Neighbourhood Plan steering group has responded with dismay that the Joint Local Plan appears to have ignored their response to the draft JLP when community and public feedback was sought through the consultation process in August 2016.

“Neighbourhood plans involve a huge ­number of volunteer hours, public funding through locality grants and parish contributions and, most importantly, represent the views of local people. However, it seems that their ­feedback carries no more weight than that of any individual.”

Anna Lunk, co-chair of the Dartington Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group, said: “We hope to have fruitful conversations with the planners and continue to work closely with the Dartington Hall Trust towards resolving some of these issues.

“We are realists, and although we feel the amount of housing allocated to the parish is unsustainable, we’ll work hard to ensure that any new building is a building we can proud of, providing wonderful homes for our parishioners through a variety of delivery methods.

“We’re very excited that two self-build ­projects are planned for our parish and are hopeful that more will follow. We recognise that much of the local life centres on Totnes and we’re in close conversation with our colleagues on the Totnes Neighbourhood Plan team.”

The Neighbourhood Plan team revealed that the development it wanted to see go ahead on the Dartington Hall Estate has been reduced in size, while its “least-preferred option”, at Brook Park, has been kept in the plan.

On top of that, two major developments appear as sites in Totnes, when in reality they are both in the parish of Dartington.

The statement declared: “The parish has been allocated a large proportion of the new housebuilding in the South Hams and parishioners have concerns about the strain on the infrastructure and the effect such building will have on the essentially rural nature of the parish.

“However, the Neighbourhood Plan team

has been working closely with landowner the Dartington Hall Trust to explore how new homes in the parish can be exemplar and ­innovative in terms of tenure, design and ­sustainability. Key to their ideas is the concept of a healthy, sustainable and vibrant community.”

The village hall meeting, to take place between 11am and 3pm, will allow villagers to “examine the alterations to the proposed sites on the Dartington Estate, speak to estate representatives and give feedback about the emerging Dartington Neighbourhood Plan”, the statement added.

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