Tuesday, 10 May 2016

More changes to the Minerals Plan

With the Examination hearings just two weeks away, modifications are coming out of DCC thick and fast, too many surely for anyone other than the Minerals Officer to keep track of; the Examination Library came out in February and is at Version 7 before the hearing has even started.

Devon’s new Minerals Plan has been in preparation on and off since 2007, the same year that workshops recognised how safeguarding all mineral resources that might have any future value "maximises the area potentially affected by planning blight".

Nevertheless, DCC, in its wisdom, decided to maximise the planning blight in the draft Minerals Plan by 'safeguarding' the full extent of the Budleigh Salterton Pebble Beds, with exclusions outlined in Minerals Topic Paper 2 5.4.4, "in recognition of the importance of the resource". We have written about 'Mineral Safeguarding' before: How Devon’s new Minerals Plan could blight thousands of homes across the county and Is this really the best way to 'safeguard' minerals?; in our response to the pre-submission consultation we argued that:
The Plan intends to designate Mineral Safeguarding Areas and Mineral Consultation Areas widely across the County, 'safeguarding' all sorts of uneconomic, unrecoverable, unviable deposits, blighting the homes of thousands of people
Mineral Safeguarding is one of the latest modifications, MM43 in the Schedule of Potential Main Modifications Third DraftFollowing questions from the Inspector, DCC now concedes:
It is apparent from review of the resulting MSAs that there are anomalies and inconsistencies arising from differing approaches to settlement boundary definition, while some of the resource blocks are of an area or outline that would be unfeasible for economic extraction. 3.2
Of course, all this should have been obvious when the MSAs were first drawn up. But whilst a number of small areas have now been removed, Bicton for one and parts of Budleigh Salterton for another, many many anomalies remain. If the MSAs have been refined to remove those areas unfeasible for economic extraction, DCC must clearly think that the areas and settlements remaining are feasible; areas such as Woodbury Common & CastleEast Devon Golf ClubWoodbury Park Hotel Golf & Country ClubBystock Pools Nature ReserveAylesbeare Common Nature Reserve; settlements such as Fairmile, Yettington, Coombelake, Taleford, parts of West Hill & Higher Metcombe, Larkbeare, parts of Feniton, Colestocks, Kerswell, parts of Kentisbeare, SmithincottYondercott, Appledore, Hawkerland.

It’s ludicrous just how many nonsensical areas have been 'safeguarded'; take a look at the Revised Draft Policies Map, the Alterations to Mineral Safeguarding Areas, and the online map - yet to be updated.