Photo of a busy market stall selling food

A new Economic Development Strategy has been approved by East Devon District Council’s Cabinet at a meeting held yesterday (Wednesday 10th July).

The Strategy was created to address the most important challenges facing East Devon’s economy highlighted in the findings of a Local Economic Review in 2023. The work builds on economic evidence, including newly published Census data, Office for National Statistics datasets and feedback from our business community, stakeholders, and local organisations.

The East Devon economy is improving, with wage levels rising closer to the regional average, but it also has unique challenges including: a lack of available industrial and logistics workspace; a lack of jobs close to where people live; an ageing population and decreased economic activity; a lack of homes for younger working people; and a need to do more to reduce carbon emissions to reach Net Zero by 2040.

Cllr Paul Hayward, East Devon District Council’s Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Economy and Assets, said:

“This important strategy marks a significant milestone in shaping the district's economic future for the next five years. This work directly delivers on our Council Plan priority for a resilient economy. It promotes a shared understanding of our most pressing local economic issues and opportunities for teams across the Council to collaborate in delivering positive change. Our number one priority is to provide more workspace for businesses and unlock barriers to delivery.

“Thanks to everyone who helped create the strategy. We have listened to many local employers, groups, and voluntary and community organisations and incorporated their ideas where possible.

“This shared vision will improve the lives of local residents and prosperity of local businesses, ensuring East Devon is an attractive place to live, work, learn, invest in and visit.”

John Varley OBE TD, Chief Executive of Clinton Devon Estates, said:

“I am delighted that East Devon District Council has really listened to the business community and set out a pathway to economic growth. This strategy builds on our unique circumstances - a wonderful natural and built environment; a wealth of talent; access to science and knowledge, and policy makers and business leaders who want to make a real difference. We now need to pick up the baton and work together with a clear focus on growing our green economy for the benefit of all.”

Carmen Hanif, Development Manager at Federation of Small Businesses, Devon, said:

“Throughout the stakeholder consultations, the Council were keen to understand the challenges and barriers to growth affecting small businesses. EDDC’s engagement with the local small business community has ensured that the priorities outlined are representative of the small business community, resulting in a sense of shared ownership.”

Nick Ames, Chief Executive of SC Group, said:

“This economic strategy is crucial for this area and I was pleased to support its development. Delivery of the work will bring positive change, helping us as local employers to recruit, train and retain the skilled staff that we need. We look forward to seeing the fruits of this document emerge in the near future.”

For any questions about the strategy, please email