Public invited to comment on draft plan showing settlements area for town of Colyton plus 14 villages

East Devon District Council has begun an eight-week public consultation on its draft Villages Plan, which will help guide new development decisions for 14 of the district’s larger villages, as well as the town of Colyton. Communities and residents have until Wednesday 28 September to put forward any comments they wish to make on the draft plan.

Feedback from this consultation will be considered by the council’s Strategic Planning Committee, before a final version of the Plan is produced for further consultation. The Villages Plan will then be submitted for examination by a Planning Inspector.

The East Devon Villages Plan is being produced by East Devon District Council to help guide decisions on where new development should be directed in selected villages – including Beer, Broadclyst, Clyst St. Mary, East Budleigh, Feniton, Kilmington, Musbury, Newton Poppleford, Sidbury, Uplyme, West Hill, Whimple, Woodbury and the town of Colyton.

The Villages Plan will show a black line (called a Built-up Area Boundary) around these settlements. Within the black line, new houses will generally be acceptable, but outside they will only be acceptable in special circumstances. It is common practice within planning to use black lines as a means of guiding new development in East Devon.

Essentially, the Villages Plan will review where these lines should be drawn and will give the public an opportunity to comment on where the lines should be drawn. The council’s planning policy team has used a set number of criteria to help draw the lines, to ensure a consistent approach. The aim is to try to ensure that the main existing built-up areas are included, together with areas that have already been agreed for development (either through planning permission or planning allocations).

A number of alternatives have already been considered, including not having boundaries, drawing boundaries more tightly or drawing them more loosely. However, none of these options have been progressed, as they differ from the approach set out in the Local Plan (which was adopted in January 2016).

Further research has been undertaken to determine whether the boundaries drawn using the council’s existing criteria should be reduced in areas where it is difficult to access local services and facilities on foot. This approach is being proposed for Beer, Newton Poppleford, Uplyme and West Hill. Planning permission is less likely to be granted for new housing and industry that fall into areas outside the black line, but this does not mean that these homes and businesses are not part of a village in any other way.

The Villages Plan does not affect any changes that residents could make to their homes without planning permission.

Councillor Andrew Moulding, who is Chairman of the Strategic Planning Committee, said:

We will consider all the comments that are made before producing an East Devon Villages Plan for further public consultation. It will then be formally submitted for consideration by an independent Inspector who will decide whether the plan is sound. It is important that we seek the views of the local communities on this plan, which will help in the determination of planning applications.

The draft consultation Villages Plan and supporting documents are available at the council offices at Station Road, Sidmouth, EX10 8HL, in local libraries and a copy has also been sent to the relevant parish councils.