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Hundreds march as development inquiry gets underway
Friday, 17 January 2014
Hundreds of protestors gathered in the streets of Feniton on Saturday to demonstrate their opposition to housing development in the village.
The march, organised by campaign group Fight For Feniton’s Future, was attended by more than 300 local residents as well as other protestors from across East Devon concerned about the rapid expansion of the district’s communities.
Backed by local pressure group the East Devon Alliance, the march started at Louvigny Close near Feniton Village School at around 11am, before moving through the village, which was hit by severe floods over the Christmas and new year period. The march came to an end at Camp Field, one of the proposed sites for development.
John Withrington, chair of Fight For Feniton’s Future, said: “Today is going to make a big difference because it is showing the strength of feeling. People from all over East Devon have come here today to protest this massive, unsustainable development.”
“This is not about NIMBYism. It is about the development of a community in a controlled, consensual and sustainable manner.”
The march comes in the middle of the appeal “super inquiry”, which got underway on Tuesday (January 7th). The three developers, Wainhomes, Feniton Park Ltd and Strategic Land Partnerships, who were initially refused planning permission by East Devon District Council, are appealing the decision and will make their case to the Planning Inspectorate over the course of the eight day hearing.
The developers are looking to build a combined total of 235 new homes in Feniton, which would increase the size of the village by 40 per cent, but were met with fierce opposition as around 100 local residents attended the first day of the inquiry – despite a late change of venue to the Flybe Training Academy at Exeter Airport.
Neil Parish, MP for Tiverton and Honiton, appeared at the “super inquiry” earlier in the week, and attended the march to show his support for the campaign.
He told protestors: “I am delighted that we are all here to support the cause because Feniton is a real community village and everyone here pulls together very well. We do not want this village swamped with more housing and I will be fighting this all the way.”
Mr Parish previously told the “super inquiry” that the community spirit of the village was under threat, and that the developments did not fit into the Local Plan. He also pointed to Cranbrook as a more suitable site for further development.
Residents are concerned about the capability of the village’s infrastructure to support such an increase in size, and have also expressed fears that Feniton would be more susceptible to flooding if the development goes ahead.
The “super inquiry” reconvenes today (Tuesday) and is scheduled to continue until Friday.
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