Protect Our Whimple & Rockbeare

by Aidan Doherty in Whimple, England, United Kingdom

We did it
On 2nd March 2020 we successfully raised £2,575 with 64 supporters in 55 days

to have a fund to support the legal costs representing our villages against the proposed expansion of Cranbrook.

by Aidan Doherty in Whimple, England, United Kingdom

PROTECT OUR WHIMPLE & ROCKBEARE is a group that was set up following the submission of individual statements against the proposed expansion of Cranbrook as outlined in the Cranbrook Development Plan (https://eastdevon.gov.uk/planning/planning-policy/cranbrook-plan/cranbrook-plan-preferred-approach-consultation-201718/#article-content). We have no issue with the town of Cranbrook but we do have serious issues with the scale and size of the proposed development in four new areas around the existing town. The environment in which we live, work, relax is important to us all. When we see this at risk, then it’s natural to want to defend our precious asset. Protecting the environment starts small and then grows. It starts sometimes at an individual level and then builds to become a group when individuals come together to see what matters to our local communities and how they are potentially under threat.

Like so many villages up and down the country, Whimple and Rockbeare are set in beautiful rolling countryside. We are being threatened by the outward expansion of Cranbrook, a new town on the eastern edge of Exeter. Four massive housing developments are being bolted on to the original Cranbrook Development Plan to create a town in excess of 20,000 people and this is not what was originally promised by our local authority, East Devon District Council. One of the biggest issues is that this is a ‘Developer Lead’ new town. It puts the developers in the driving seat, not the local people, not the elected councillors or even the professional town planners. It puts profits as the key motivator, but does not give consideration to the interests of well-being, social cohesion and truly affordable housing of high quality design standards and environmental benefits which we believe are a concern for us all.

It’s time to put an end to this ad-hoc planning and environmental damage.

Our area is rich in history from Roman occupation to medieval homesteads cited in the Domesday Book. The 19th and 20th century saw the planting of acres of orchards for the production of Whiteways Devon Cider. Perhaps Whimple was the capitol of cider making in Devon.

Initially we have two clear aims:-

1)    To protect our villages from the southern and eastern expansion of Cranbrook and have a working fund to provide expert legal counsel at the forthcoming Examination in Public (EiP) which starts on January 21st 2020

2)    To work with all concerned to establish as a matter of urgency, a Neighbourhood Plan that is robust, realistic, time bound and legally binding. The Neighbourhood Plan is ultimately the responsibility of the Parish Council and we have indicated our Group’s support in achieving this.

We need to have sufficient financial resources to be able to challenge, contradict if necessary and vigorously campaign to protect our rural communities.

We need to engage legal expertise in planning law, which will cost beyond the reach of individual members of our group. Clearly, there are several powerful forces working against us such as wealthy building developers that want to continue concreting over this rural landscape and limited local authority powers to stop this happening. Planning Law is now geared more towards the developers. We need to protect our village in the same way. To do what it takes through carefully researched legal, social and environmental needs based evidence. We will do all in our power and using our own expertise from our group members to be as cost effective and transparent as possible.

It can be done but we need ‘a little help from our friends’. We have very little time to act and NEED YOUR HELP TODAY!

Donate today for our tomorrow. Please support this classic ‘David against Goliath’ project.

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