Proposals to build 1,614 houses in the district each year cut to 928

Government proposals to change the number of homes that must be built in East Devon from 928 to 1,614 every year have been shelved.

East Devon District Council (EDDC) has welcomed the news after raising concerns with the proposals to change the Government quota for the number of properties to be annually constructed in each local authority area.
Last August the Government consulted councils across the country on the changes to the way it calculated the number of new homes that must be built.

EDDC voiced concerns over the numbers, similar to other authorities, with councillors saying the proposals ‘lacked any rhyme or reason’ and would have been ‘impossible’ to achieve without putting pressure on the protected landscapes and habitats – all of which are so important to the environment and their communities.

The council also raised fears at the ‘immense pressure’ it would have put on services and infrastructure such as schools, hospitals and roads to accommodate the increase in population.

In a report to the council’s strategic planning committee meeting, on 16 September 2020, councillors said that there appeared to be ‘no logic’ to the Government’s proposed approach other than to deliver the 300,000 homes nationally per year and reach targets.

The Government has now published a response to the consultation, taking EDDC’s comments on board, along with that of other local authorities. It has decided to scrap the proposed changes and keep the way it calculates the number of homes that must be built in each area unchanged.

Councillor Dan Ledger, the district council’s portfolio holder for strategic planning, said:

This is great news and I am massively relieved that we do not now need to plan for an impossibly high number of new homes in the district for no good reason.

Instead we can focus on delivering a new Local Plan which delivers an appropriate balance between protecting everything that makes East Devon so special while delivering the new homes and jobs that our communities need.”

The Government will however be increasing housing numbers by 35 per cent in the top 20 urban areas in the country in order to deliver more homes on previously developed or brownfield land.

As a result it is only Plymouth and Bristol in the south west that will now see an increase in housing numbers as a result of this change.