Housing need calculated at minimum of 844 new homes a year

The government’s latest forecast for the minimum number of new homes to be built in East Devon every year will be considered in a report going before the district council’s Strategic Planning Committee on Tuesday 4 September.

The new government housing needs calculation for the district has set a future minimum need of 844 new homes to be built in East Devon every year, and the committee will discuss the implications of how this growth will impact on jobs, infrastructure and community facilities.

The report explains to the committee that the government’s latest  calculation should be taken as a baseline figure only and is likely to increase as a further strategy for growth emerges in the future. The latest forecast doesn’t take into account wider changes in East Devon over the last few years such as higher than normal economic growth which led to an increase in housing need in the current Local Plan.

The report identifies key themes to be considered by the committee to ensure future growth in the district is positive and sustainable. The themes include healthy and prosperous communities, environmental protection and enhancement, resource consumption and climate change and economic growth, education and employment.

A number of key issues are identified under each of these themes with set principles for a future growth strategy. These include delivering housing to meet the need of all areas of the community, limiting growth within Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, protecting areas at greatest risk of flooding and ensuring adequate employment space is provided to meet the needs of businesses.

The report also considers locations in the district and how they are able to accommodate growth that meets the principles. Many of East Devon’s existing towns are heavily constrained while some have clear opportunities to grow and expand. It considers opportunities around existing villages and for new communities to accommodate the levels of growth required by government.

Commenting on the report, Cllr Paul Diviani, Chairman of the Strategic Planning Committee, said:

Since we adopted the East Devon Local Plan in 2016 we have benefitted from an up-to-date local plan, a five-year housing land supply and many high quality developments where our people enjoy living and working.

Above all we seek to be positive and pragmatic. Planning for the future of our outstanding place will ensure we put the right developments in the right place and are not subject to the whims of others. The government is setting out its requirements of all local authorities and we now need to ensure we respond in a way that works for us. This important report will pave the way for this to happen.

The committee is being asked to endorse the principles for growth detailed in the report as a basis for future discussion, debate and consultation both through the Greater Exeter Strategic Plan (GESP) and a review of the East Devon Local Plan that will follow.

As work develops, there will be many opportunities for residents to have their say and engage with the development of strategies for growth for the district and councillors will also be discussing consultation around the GESP which will be seeking views on a proposed vision for the area.