THERE was an excellent turnout for the Creedy Valley Protection Group’s (CVPG) public meeting at Sandford Parish Hall on Monday, May 23.
Richard Barnes of CVPG welcomed about 130 people to the meeting and explained that since the first public meeting three steering group meetings had taken place.
The group had received advice from a planning expert and there had been a good representation from the group at the three presentations where Gleeson Developments Ltd had put forward their proposal to build 330 houses, a new rugby club, possibly a primary school, private care units and a travellers site at Creedy Valley (Pedlarspool).
At a previous presentation Gleeson commented on feedback from members of the public saying that the favoured option had received 70 per cent of the vote, but Richard said the developers had only given three options of development - there was no option to say No!
Having talked to a representative from Devon Highways at a previous meeting Richard explained that he was informed there would be three passing places along the narrow Stonewall Lane to cope with the extra traffic - the representative had been under the impression that not much traffic used Stonewall Lane. Richard had also informed him that he often went to the aid of people who had been involved in accidents along Stonewall Lane which the representative was unaware of because they are often not recorded. He said that he would make some changes to his plans when the application from Gleesons goes in.
There was discussion about the flooding risk at Pedlarspool and it was decided that the group needed someone to carry out research into the flood risk and the use of stormwater retention tanks.
The group hopes to put together a forum of local organisations, town and village councils to all pull together in the fight against the development of the Creedy Valley.
A promotional video has been made which shows the lovely valley and the narrow roads in the area of the proposed development site. It is planned to show this on platforms such as "Facebook" and on television.
An explanation of how the planning committee will make a decision, based on policies was given by Cllr Judi Binks (Sandford and Creedy). She suggested that Crediton, Sandford and Upton Hellions should work together and that all evidence should be recorded. A planning committee meeting, to be held in Sandford, has been called for and Judi asked everyone to attend.
Former District Cllr Phil Bourne said that the proposed development was not a "done deal" and more people were needed to form two steering groups, one to fight overall and one to work on contingency. He talked about a range of issues including the infrastructure, extra traffic, children walking to school, the way the planning application had been handled and his concern that once building started it would progress up through the valley to Sandford.
He said that while he respected the view of the rugby club, at the same time, he did not want to see the desecration of the beautiful Creedy Valley and suggested that the rugby club could be sited near Downes and that the group should help to get it re-sited. He suggested setting up a fighting fund and called for short, sharp action to save the valley.
Cllr Margaret Squires, Devon County Councillor (Newton St Cyres and Sandford) and Mid Devon District Councillor (Sandford and Creedy) explained that the proposed Pedlarspool site had been brought forward because once the Link Road had been built instead of the proposed by-pass the site was no longer protected. She suggested that any questions put forward by the group needed to be well-formed to make sure that residents get what they want.
A number of other topics were discussed at the meeting including, environmental issues, air pollution, light pollution and the setting up a neighbourhood plan.
Those present were asked to write a letter to the MDDC planning officer to ask for an Environmental Impact Assessment as if was felt that one was needed.
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