A draft new Local Plan reveals potential locations for where new homes could be built, including an option for a new town, as well as East Devon’s ambitious plans to become carbon neutral by 2040.
This is the first time in the council’s history that it has revealed a ‘work in progress’ draft for a Local Plan, normally waiting until work is further progressed before showing it to the public.
In the spirit of being open and transparent the draft document, which may change as a result of further consideration and public consultation, will be debated for the first time in public on Tuesday, 14 December by EDDC’s Strategic Planning Committee.
The document, which will help shape East Devon until 2040, builds on the authority’s recently adopted Council Plan and looks at how the district can protect the environment, build employment space and ensure only high quality developments are built.
EDDC’s bold plans to be the ‘leading light in addressing climate change and environmental issues through planning’ have also been revealed, with a number of highly ambitious measures to tackle the climate change emergency.
It is appreciated some of the proposals are controversial and will cause concern to communities but the proposals may well change following further work and input from councillors. Residents have been asked not to submit comments at this stage and to wait until the final draft plan has been published. A public consultation, including workshops, will then be held next summer based on current timescales.
The Government says EDDC must deliver 918 homes a year. This means the new Local Plan needs to identify land for more than 6,900 additional homes. This is in addition to those already planned for, like at Cranbrook and developments expected to come forward by 2040.
Most of the large scale housing sites will also be expected to provide a range of employments spaces and community facilities and create sustainable communities where walking and cycling are the norm.
The plan showcases EDDC’s aspirations for all new homes to be zero carbon with measures such as better insulation, triple glazing, solar panels and special pumps that extract heat from the air to warm people’s homes as well as district heating systems like the one at Cranbrook, which can be run on renewable energy.
Policies that minimise the carbon footprint while building developments have also been proposed along with measures that ensure more is put back to create natural habitats, affected by developments, than is taken away.
In brief the current preferred strategy could deliver:
- A concentration of new development on the western side of East Devon to include an additional new town (a further new town in addition to Cranbrook) to provide around 2,500 homes by 2040 but ultimately to grow to around 8,000 homes;
- Major strategic developments close to the city of Exeter including new developments off Clyst Road, North of Topsham and expansions to Exeter Science Park and further employment spaces north of Sowton Village and near the airport;
Moderate levels of development at the principal and main centres of East Devon including:
- Axminster – approx. 335 homes in a series of small scale urban extensions providing a mix of housing and employment sites.
- Exmouth – approx. 455 homes within a number of sites focused on the north east of the town with some smaller scale allocations to the south and east.
- Honiton – approx. 228 homes with a large allocation to the eastern edge of the town and a series of smaller applications to the other edges of the town.
- Ottery St Mary – approx. 250 homes to the western side of the town including an area of employment land.
- Seaton – approx. 264 homes largely focused on 4 sites to the north of the town including a large allocation between Harepath Road and Colyford Road comprising a mix of housing and employment.
- Sidmouth – approx. 196 homes comprising a large allocation west of Woolbrook Road and a series of smaller scale allocations to the north and west of the town.
- Around 400 homes could be built in total across a number of ‘local centres’ including Broadclyst, Budleigh Salterton, Colyton, Lympstone and Woodbury. With a further 500 homes split between the ‘service villages’ including Clyst St Mary, Feniton and Whimple among others.
Alongside the new homes the working draft plan looks at where employment space can be put to deliver new jobs alongside the homes to create a “…resilient, inclusive, green economy, delivering growth and prosperity for the benefit of everybody in the district”.
The working draft of the plan will be considered by councillors and amended and modified as work progresses over the coming months.