As you are aware the application to develop the land to the North West of Courtlands Cross by Strategic Land Partnerships (SLP) has been sent to be heard at a Public Enquiry.  This will begin on Tuesday 24th January in the Council Chamber of Exmouth Town Hall.  This is a very formal, legal process and over the last three months East Devon District Council (EDDC) and SLP have been putting their papers together and making their written submissions to the Inspector.  These make up two large boxes of documents.

During this time I have been gathering our own group of experts together to represent the Lympstone Community.  We had our first meeting with the Case Officer for EDDC on Tuesday 3rd January and our own internal meeting the following evening.

The Appeal will start at 10.00am sharp on the 24th, when the Inspector will speak to both parties to see who will be representing them and speaking for them.  He will then ask if any third party wishes to present evidence.  David Atkins will step straight in and introduce himself and then pass over to me.  I will introduce myself and our additional four witnesses: Cllr Richard Eastley, Mark Robertson (on behalf of Courtlands Lane), Don Mildenhall and Helen Dimond.

The issues are few and it is important that we do not repeat ourselves.  To this end we have been advised to restrict our witnesses to five and be very clear on their topics.  They will be carefully scripted so it is important that we keep to these numbers.

The Appeal will then get started with EDDC  presenting their case first.  After each witness (4) has spoken SLP’s (The Appellant) Lawyer may cross-examine.  The roles are then reversed and the Appellant’s witnesses (3) will give their statements and face cross-examination from the EDDC lawyer.   We would then expect David Atkins and our five witnesses to present their cases.  This order cannot be guaranteed as the Inspector may have his own ideas!

The witness statements are currently being prepared – these will be available on the Lympstone web site www.lympstone.org the evening of the day they have been delivered at the enquiry.

At the end of the appeal the Inspector will sum up and may inspect the site.  He then writes up his decision which is posted on the Inspectorate’s web site http://www.planning-inspectorate.gov.uk  ref:- APP/U1105/A/2161479/NWF – a notice will be put up on the Lympstone web site and in the Post Office so it may be easier to look there.

This is a public enquiry and anyone is welcome to attend, but be warned there is seating for only about 120 people.  I would like to see the gallery full but not overfull.

Notes to spectators:-

There is only one person who counts in the enquiry room THE INSPECTOR – he is king of his domain.   How the inspector views “The Lympstone Community” is very important, I will be making a point of saying in my introduction that we are treating the proceedings with utmost gravity and respect so please …

  • No barracking or shouting out from the public gallery and no protest banners inside the room.
  • A quiet hand clap is acceptable if you agree with a statement or presentation or a soft “here, here” even a soft “well said or well done” after each of our team’s statements to show public support.
  • No response (deathly silence) or a sharp gasp of breath is far more effective to an appellant’s statement than calling out.

I can assure you that your team will put up a spirited performance and has put in hours of work to get our defence together.  In due course I will reveal all but for now let’s keep it tight.   See you on the 24th January.

Rob Longhurst