Built Environment, Local Planning and Architectural Activities
Since its formation in 1979, the OVA has worked hard to encourage high standards of architecture and planning in the Otter Valley, and to protect important buildings and their setting. This is a fundamental purpose of an amenity society such as ours and embedded in the constitution. Indeed, the charity was first set up as a response to a planning issue and has commented on significant planning applications ever since.
The OVA reviews planning applications in the light of the principles set out in the constitution. It also has to take into account policies in the Central Government Planning Policies Framework (NPPF), the East Devon District Council (EDDC) Local plan and the Draft EDDC Local plan, the Devon Structure Plan, the East Devon AONB, the World Heritage Site. The local Design Statements for Budleigh Salterton and Otterton were produced after extensive local consultation, and with OVA support.
In 2014 the OVA was invited to submit evidence to the Communities and Local Government Select Committee's review of the NPPF. This is an example of how deeply the OVA engages with planning issues and a report can be found here.
Decisions are taken by the Trustees i.e. the Executive Committee when, if necessary, the OVA expresses an opinion, strongly but constructively, to the planning authority on behalf of the over 1,000 members. Submissions are made in writing and in some cases a verbal submission is made at the Development Management Committee (Planning Committee). If a decision goes to a planning appeal, the OVA follows through with written submissions and, if necessary, gives evidence at public hearings.
The OVA monitors and comments on new planning legislation, including the Devon Structure Plan, the East Devon Local Plan and Central Governments NPPF.
Local Heritage Asset List
The latest initiative of the OVA is to set up a Local Heritage Asset List. This is a very important project as anything accepted by EDDC for local listing does not gain additional protection from demolition or alteration BUT has to be taken into account in any subsequent planning applications. This list will bring local views to the fore and add another planning layer.
From time to time, research projects are undertaken to highlight significant architectural features of the locality.
One of these led to the publication of the book “Mark Rolle: His Architectural Legacy in the Lower Otter Valley”.