Key piece of evidence feeding into East Devon’s new Local Plan

The Leader of East Devon District Council, Councillor Paul Diviani gave a welcome progress update on the Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) report at Wednesday’s (25 February) council meeting.

I am pleased to say that on 24 February a draft SHMA report was provided by the consultants to the commissioning authorities’* officers, who will now appraise it. The officers will raise any queries with the consultants before the report is finalised and published. We envisage publishing the SHMA shortly in a co-ordinated way between the multi-authority partnership and its respective councillors, with the report being sent to councillors slightly in advance of wider publication.

Before the end of March (pre-purdah), members of the Development Management Committee (DMC) and full council will meet to consider any revisions to the Local Plan, including proposed housing numbers. Following full council, any changes will be incorporated into the report and the final version will be submitted to the inspector.

From mid-April to the end of May, the views of councillors and the public will be sought through consultation, using questions provided by the inspector. The consultation period will be followed by oral examination sessions in August/September.

In conclusion, Cllr Diviani said:

The SHMA is the remaining key piece of evidence that enables us to produce an objectively assessed housing need for the district and to move forward with the Local Plan. We had previously envisaged that the upcoming election would prevent progress being made until May. However, the inspector has made it clear that he expects to see the proposed changes to the Local Plan by mid-April and we must adhere to his timescale, as the process to move forward is led by him. We anticipate adopting our Local Plan by the end of 2015.

*The SHMA is a multi-authority commission by East Devon, Exeter, Mid Devon and Teignbridge Councils and Dartmoor National Park Authority, with Devon County Council also being a partner.