The revised Local Plan will provide 950 new homes per year in East Devon

Local Plan will now be sent to Inspector prior to eight-week public consultation period

Full Council met last night (26 March) to review - and consequently approve - recommendations made by the special Development Management Committee (DMC) for East Devon’s Local Plan.

After considered debate, involving East Devon residents, developers, local town and parish councillors, whose concerns have been heard and noted at both DMC and Full Council, members accepted and endorsed the additional evidence used to inform plan changes, subject to a number of key amendments, which were of particular concern.

The main points agreed were:

  • The Local Plan period will start on 1 April 2013 and end on 31 March 2031
  • It will provide for an Objectively Assessed Housing figure of 950 new homes per year (17,100 new homes over the 18 year period)
  • The  revised Plan projects that 18,303 new homes will be provided for the Plan period (however with deletion of land at Clyst St Mary and adjustment of housing number at Rowan Drive, Seaton, the figure drops to 18,241)
  • Housing sites at Tithebarn/Mosshayne Lane and Winslade Park (Clyst St Mary) have been allocated
  • A safeguarding area of land has been allocated at the Intermodal site for a railhead
  • The reserve site that had been allocated for Seaton has been removed

A number of key minor changes to the Plan were also agreed at the meeting. These include:

  • Cranbrook’s Plan Study Area has been amended to exclude all land included within the neighbourhood planning areas of the adjoining villages: Rockbeare, Broadclyst and Clyst Honiton. Cranbrook will continue to expand and will accommodate a further 1,550 houses, together with associated job, social, community and education facilities and infrastructure.
  • The village of Chardstock will now be included in the list of villages to receive a Built-up-Area Boundary. This brings the total of settlements with a Built-up-Area Boundary to 16, plus Colyton). The village has access to a bus service and has a number of required facilities, which makes it sustainable and capable of supporting new development.
  • The housing allocation for new homes north of Rowan Drive in Seaton has been amended to provide 30 new homes.
  • The 5 hectare employment allocation site north of Sidford has been removed from the plan. This is in consideration of local residents’ concerns about the development’s  impact on the landscape together with access issues. Councillor Stuart Hughes assured members that Alexandria Road would meet the employment needs of the town and he is committed to seeing a new access provided.

Due to concerns that a six-week public consultation period allowed insufficient time for people to respond - because of the elections - it was agreed that we will write to the Inspector to ask for the consultation period to be extended to eight weeks.

The Local Plan will now go forward to the Inspector for his approval, before the plan goes to public consultation. We will also request that the Inspector proposes relevant questions to ask as part of the consultation process.

After the public consultation has been concluded, the responses that we receive will be forwarded directly to the Inspector and a request will be made to start oral hearings again as soon as possible.

East Devon District Council Chairman, Councillor Graham Godbeer, said:

Council understood the clear evidence of the total housing numbers required by the inspector, which supports the 950 homes per year figure, and we look forward to hearing back from him in April.

It was important that we pursued the Local Plan in a timely manner, particularly as the inspector advised us that delaying the Plan until after the elections was not an option.

Members recognised that we have already been building in the region of 900 homes per year and therefore the proposed annual level would not be significantly higher. They have also approved the distribution of homes around the district and the proposed allocations.

Council endorsed the proposed numbers of additional homes for Cranbrook and is keen to see more Neighbourhood Plans emerge for existing local communities.