DUNKESWELL PARISH COUNCIL
DUNKESWELL PARISH PLAN (update 2007)
Dunkeswell parish is situated in the countryside north of Honiton, and is fully within the Blackdown Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The parish has about 1200 people on the electoral roll and about 2000 total population. It has grown from an electoral roll of about 300 in 1985 as a result of the construction of a new estate of about 550 dwellings on land originally used to accommodate the personnel for the wartime airfield. This airfield was used between 1943 and 1945 by the American navy (Fleet Air Wing 7) for anti-submarine warfare. The new estate, which includes a small shopping centre, post office and a doctors’ surgery, is separated from the old village by about a kilometre of narrow road. The old village contains the church, village hall and public house.
At the time the outline planning permission was granted for the housing development in 1959, a large area of land on the airfield was also granted planning permission for industrial use, as Dunkeswell was then seen as a ‘Key Settlement’. No account was then taken of the effects of all these permissions on the traffic generated. In the 1980s the maintenance area of the airfield was sold off by government as a further industrial area. We now have a large industrial area and all the associated traffic problems with no means for solution.
The parish council has been at pains to find out the views of the inhabitants about the future of the parish, and initiated a Parish Appraisal in about 1991, a very successful Planning for Real exercise in about 1999, and a subsequent survey of planning needs carried out by a retired planner from the County Council. These gave the council some very clear indications of what needed to be done, and allowed us to formulate a draft plan for the future. From this information, a questionnaire was prepared outlining fifteen aspects which we considered were the most important to consult upon. This questionnaire was inserted as a leaflet in the Parish News, which is delivered monthly to every household in the parish. The objective was to obtain the views of the community and also to give an opportunity for people to add any other opinions they might have. The questionnaires were returned via pre-arranged drop-off points throughout the parish, to allow the parish council to consider the replies. Over 500 questionnaires were distributed and 98 replies were received.
On two further occasions the Parish Plan and the emerging Community Transport Plan (subsequently completed, and then adopted by County Highways) were displayed at the annual Church Fete and outside the village shop, when many residents added further comments to the proposed plan. From all these responses the attached plan was devised. We hope that the relevant parts of this plan can become Supplementary Planning Guidance attached to the emerging Local Development Framework (LDF), and that the whole plan will become important guidance for the future development of the parish.
Affordable housing provision to meet local parish needs, based on the survey carried out by the Community Council of Devon (CCD). Vision Sufficient affordable homes will be available for any local people/families who need to work for local organisations.
Survey carried out by CCD showed a need for 20 affordable homes and recommended that 10 should be provided in the first instance. An exceptions site has been proposed by WIMS Ltd and is being purchased by Magna Homes. A planning application has been submitted by WIMS for 16 homes on this site. A further site at Percy Hill has been offered by a local farmer. The planners at EDDC now need to decide how to proceed. Lead bodies/partners The District Council in conjunction with Magna Homes will need to progress this scheme and use the second scheme at Percy Hill if needed. The parish council will pursue the matter. Target date - should be done as soon as possible.
Provision of more market housing is unnecessary, and the District Council has decided that most housing will go to the Area Centres such as Honiton. Vision No more housing will be built, other than affordable or the occasional infill.
Action No action needed.
Industrial/employment development has been excessive as the supply has been exacerbated by the sale of the old World War 2 maintenance area, which itself needs redevelopment to bring it up to modern standards.
The old maintenance area will be redeveloped (apart from the listed buildings). No more industrial development will be provided.
Agreement from the District Council is required that no more industrial/employment land is needed, and that the maintenance area will be redeveloped to modern standards. Lead body/partners District Council through the East Devon LDF, District Council Economy Section and Regional Development Agency over the redevelopment of the maintenance area, in conjunction with parish council. Target date - agreement as soon as possible. action over the next few years.
The airfield is an important facility for the parish and is also a significant survival from World War II which is recognised by English Heritage.
Airfield activities will continue to be developed but any building will be in keeping with the open nature of the site and will preserve the heritage from WW II.
A plan for the development of the airfield site should be developed by Air Westward Ltd (the operators of the airfield) in conjunction with the parish council, South West Airfields Trust and English Heritage. Lead body/partners as above but including EDDC. Target date: as soon as possible.
Traffic through the village and on the road to Honiton has built up over the last ten years as a result of the housing growth and particularly the industrial development so that there are many complaints about the quantity of traffic, the numbers of HGVs and the excessive speeds through the 30 mph and 20 mph speed limits. Vision The HGV traffic will have been diverted from the old village by the construction of a by-pass and the footpath connecting the two parts of the village will have been built; improvements to the worst parts of the road to Honiton will be carried out; enforcement of speed limits will be done by fixed speed cameras and regular police visits.
It is necessary to persuade County Highways that the by-pass, footpath and Honiton Road improvements should be included in their plan. They, and the police, need to be persuaded that speed limits, including the 20 mph ones, should be enforced. Enforcement measures, such as cameras will need financial support from the parish as well as action by police and the Safety Camera Partnership. Lead body/partners County Highways, Devon & Cornwall Police, Safety Camera Partnership with the parish council. Target date - agreements as soon as possible. By-pass within the next 3 years.
There are more than 100 primary school pupils being despatched by bus every day, and the parish would benefit from the construction of a new primary school. The effect of this on schools currently used by Dunkeswell pupils (especially Broadhembury) will need to be addressed.
A new primary school will have been built, and its facilities will be available to the community.
The county education authority, which has so far refused to contemplate a new school at Dunkeswell, needs to be pressurised to change its mind. We understand that a survey of school placements is intended shortly in which the parish council will be involved. Lead body/partners The parish council, with support from its county councillor and MP, will make a renewed effort to influence the education authority’s survey of need. Target date - continue the campaign in the hope of getting action in the next 3 years.
The public rights of way network, which is fully open and well maintained, has no connection with the Highfield estate, so that all walkers have to use public roads to gain access.
A new connection will have been opened so that Highfield residents can access the network directly.
Proposal for a new connection has been registered in the ROW improvement plan, but an approach to the landowners is now needed. Lead body/partners Parish council will approach possible landowners and then organise with county ROW section for new route. Target date - as soon as possible.
Village halls need to be improved to cope with the steady increase in population.
The two halls will be improved to modern standards and they will be owned and operated by the parish.
The village hall is in good shape but the community hall is unsatisfactory and is still owned by WIMS Ltd. It is necessary for the community hall to be improved and a long lease negotiated or ownership agreed with WIMS Ltd. Lead body/partners Parish council and WIMS Ltd will need to agree on the way ahead. Target date -as soon as possible.
Children’s play areas have been provided for all ages, including a BMX track on a new site for older children.
The play area for older children will be completed, including a multi-use games area (MUGA), a shelter and a kick-about area.
EDDC are providing some funding for the MUGA and need to start on this as soon as possible. The rest of the scheme is up to the parish council to complete. Leadbody/partners: Parish council, EDDC and the Dunkeswell Children’s Play and Leisure Group. Target date - as soon as possible.
Allotments have been provided for 30 holders and an Allotment Association formed on land which is due to be handed over to the parish council.
The Allotment Association will be in full control of the area under the aegis of the parish council and will ensure that the allotments are fully worked.
Parish council will need to supervise the Allotment Association and ensure that costs of the enterprise, including water, are covered by the allotment holders. Lead body/partners: Parish council and the Allotment Association. Target date - as soon as possible.
The youth club is going well but needs more support from the Youth Service.
There should be a well established and popular youth club, operating on a weekly basis, and staffed by a qualified youth worker assisted by local volunteers.
A regular youth worker needs to be appointed. Lead body/partners The county youth service, Blackdown Hills Rural Partnership and the parish Council need to co-operate in solving this problem. Target date as soon as possible.
The bus service is inadequate, particularly since the termination of the post bus, and there is no service on Sundays.
A 7 day bus service which provides transport for those commuting in and out of the parish, and those needing to shop or visit entertainment in Honiton.
Discussions need to be held with County Highways to see what improvements are possible.Lead body/partners Parish council and county highways. Target date as soon as possible, with completion within 2 years.