More than 2,800 new homes have been built in East Devon over the last 3 years, meeting Government targets.

The good news comes at the same time as East Devon District Council (EDDC) launched its first consultation on the new Local Plan – which will help guide developments across the area for the next 20 years.

The Government has published the results of its Housing Delivery Test which monitors the number of homes delivered in local authority areas across England to see if they have met their targets.

The results show that EDDC has met the Government requirement by delivering 2,868 new homes in the last three years including 1,065 in 2019/20 which is the highest number delivered in a single year in the district since records began.

The majority of these new homes helped local first-time buyers to get on the housing ladder, enabled retired households to downsize and growing families to get the room they needed.

In the 2019/20 period 320 of the homes built were affordable homes which meant that those that wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford their own home could rent or take advantage of a discounted home to buy or through a shared ownership scheme.

Due to the high cost of housing in the district relative to average salaries there is an acute and growing need for affordable homes to meet the needs of local people of the communities of East Devon and delivering more affordable homes is a key priority for the council.

It is important the council continues to deliver the housing numbers required by the Government as failure to do so can mean that the policies in the local plan cannot carry full weight and developments have to be allowed in locations where they would not normally be considered acceptable.

A total of 59 local authorities nationally failed to meet the Government targets and now face these consequences or a lesser requirement to produce an action plan to address their shortfall in housing delivery.

Councillor Dan Ledger, EDDC’s portfolio holder for strategic planning, said:

It is great news that we have met the government targets for housing delivery but we cannot be complacent and have to quickly make plans for the future so that we can continue to meet these targets and deliver the housing that our communities need.

The economic recovery from the current pandemic is going to be a massive challenge and we need to ensure that we are in the best position possible to build better quality, more efficient and more affordable homes to build a housing stock that meets our needs now and in the future.

The new Local Plan is the key to doing this.

The Council has already started work on a new Local Plan which will set out how and where new homes will be delivered in the district over the coming years.

A consultation is currently running seeking views on issues such as the number of new homes that should be delivered and where they should be built.

The consultation also seeks views on the different types of housing that should be built in the future and how we address housing standards to ensure the new homes are fit to meet the needs of the community including those with mobility difficulties or other specific needs.

We also want to hear your views on how we should be responding to the climate emergency to deliver efficient low carbon housing in the future and minimise residents need to travel by car.

These are issues that will impact on all our lives now and in the future so we are urging everyone to let us know their views by going to https://www.eastdevon.gov.uk/newlocalplan/ where they can review what we see as the main issues and options for the future development of the district and let us know their views to help shape the future of the district.