‘This vast development trade off is hideous and offensive’

Sunday 6th March 2016 12:41 pm
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FACED with a rather wilful three-year-old, I used to apply a little mum’s psychology, saying ’it’s bedtime, would you like to wear your red pyjamas, or the blue?’ It’s effective with three-year-olds; bedtime is non-negotiable, but consultation is feigned by offering distracting options.

So it was when Crediton Rugby Club, together with Gleesons Developments, hosted an exhibition to consult local people in their proposals to relocate the rugby club and build an estate of homes in the Creedy Valley. "Bedtime" was 330 houses alongside the clubhouse and pitches.

The "pyjamas" were a school, a care unit and sites for gypsies and travellers. We were invited to provide feedback; which of these options would we like?

That’s a leading question where "none" is not an option.

The "bedtime picture-book" was rose-coloured plans depicting homes surrounded by large green areas, a pond to collect inevitable run-off and a few access roads.

When asked what the green areas were the answer was gardens.

Surprised at this sylvan glade development I asked why there were so few homes marked on the plans.

Shouldn’t there be more access roads, three times as many buildings, perhaps the plan might mislead the public into thinking this was a low-density build?

Apparently I was failing to understand the plans, which aren’t supposed to be representative but "indicative". The small text "330 homes" was carefully pointed out.

There is a bone-chilling coldness in witnessing the planned permanent and irreversible destruction of beautiful countryside.

To ever see development capacity in a rural valley of Devon banks, ancient oaks, a twisting frequently flooding river, numerous spring lines, hedgerows and abundant wildlife is curious.

It may well be a perfect solution for our successful rugby club, but this vast development trade off is hideous and offensive.

Many questions were being muttered at the exhibition and not at the few happily mingling money-makers and beneficiaries.

As Gleesons’ representative responded when a man suggested an alternative site which would be far less scarring, that’s a matter for the council.

Let’s hope councillors realise and appreciate as our representatives that some treasures are beyond price.

Jess Hutchings

Sandford

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