Council plan graphic

Housing, helping our economy to recover and being greener will be top priorities for East Devon District Council (EDDC) for years to come, a new plan has revealed.

The authority has published its new ‘Council Plan’. The document will act as a practical roadmap highlighting its key focusses - including making sure people can afford to live, conserving the district’s magnificent environment and supporting the creation of jobs while helping the local economy to recover after pandemic.

EDDC’s top three priorities include:

Better homes and communities for all:

A total of £500,000 has been set aside for a housing task force to push the building of better quality new homes, which includes more well-maintained, social and affordable housing. The authority will be focused on using its resources and influence to ensure developments are in appropriate areas where residents have everything they need to live happy, healthy and safe lives with access to the amenities they need – like open spaces, healthcare, job opportunities and leisure facilities.

A greener East Devon:

EDDC is focused on achieving carbon neutrality by 2040, looking after the area’s towns, villages, countryside and coastline for future generations. The details of this work is included in its Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan.

The council will also be changing all its current working practices to reduce its carbon emissions to the minimum.

Another top priority is to look after East Devon’s green spaces, natural environment and biodiversity, like Seaton Wetlands.

Continuing its work to be one of the top authorities in the country for recycling has also been highlighted in the plan, along with supporting the work of Wild East Devon and StreetScene.

A resilient economy:

Covid-19 has had a significant impact on East Devon’s economy. Through the pandemic one third of residents were furloughed, with the longer-term unemployment rate forecasted to increase.

During the first half of 2020, more than 1,000 jobs were lost, with companies going into administration or relocating, including the collapse of Flybe. Many jobs that have been lost have been high value and skilled engineering roles but just as many are in the lower paid sectors.

The council’s plan recognises the way people live their lives has changed, with more working from home, meaning it would like to support providers looking to introduce high-speed broadband to more rural areas. Town centres have also seen a fall in footfall, with less people working there and the increase in home deliveries, rather than local shopping. This could mean EDDC will need to review planning policies around the conversion of retail and secondary shopping areas to residential or live-work use.

EDDC’s plan looks to use planning policies to support regeneration and create employment opportunities for jobs that pay residents more.

Another focus will be on supporting tourism, arts and culture which all benefits the local economy.

To read more about the plan click here.

EDDC’s leader, Councillor Paul Arnott said:

“This council plan sets a course for the authority to follow for the immediate future. It is imaginative but realistic as our finances, like so many other councils across the country are limited and this places limitations on how many of our aspirations we can deliver. We have quite rightly prioritised delivering on our promise to get more social and affordable homes built, as we face a housing crisis across the country. We have also prioritised our actions to tackle climate change, because if we don’t, as climate change champions say, there is no Planet B. And our third priority is to have manage our finances and to budget in a responsible manner and to work to create a resilient local economy across the district.”