Thursday, 4 September 2014

Housing numbers in East Devon ...... and the Local Plan ...... more reports on planning meeting of 26th August

The District Council's planning committee looked at housing numbers proposed under the draft Local Plan:
Futures Forum: Housing numbers in East Devon ...... and the Local Plan ...... reports on planning meeting of 26th August
Futures Forum: Housing numbers in East Devon ...... and the Local Plan ...... further reports on planning meeting of 26th August

The numbers are hotly contested:
Futures Forum: Housing numbers in East Devon ... "The region, which is earmarked for 11,000 new homes..."

This is the report from this week's View from Sidmouth:

Delays to Local Plan will be ‘open season’ for developers

3rd September 2014 by Jack Dixon

COUNCILLORS and campaigners railing against excessive house-building in East Devon have warned that it will be “open season” for developers if delays to the district council’s Local Plan continue.

Some members of East Devon District Council’s development management committee responded angrily last week, after a report was presented outlining the possibility for delays that could stall the process for “months not weeks”.

The council is currently working on a blueprint plan for the future development of the district, which will include housing growth allocations to help guide decisions on major planning applications.

Following recommendations given by a government inspector earlier this year that the council should carry out further research to back up its estimate of 15,000 new homes in the district by 2026, specially appointed consultants have been working on a new report.

But an update presented to the committee at Knowle last week revealed that further delays would set the process back by a lengthy period.

And outraged councillors have sided with campaigners in criticising the council leadership for poor management of the process.

Writing on another councillor’s website, Ottery councillor Roger Giles described the plan process as “a complete shambles”. He added: “Without an adopted Local Plan, and without a five year housing land supply – a situation which appears likely to continue for another year – rapacious developers will continue to use their financial muscle to achieve totally inappropriate planning approvals on greenfield sites across East Devon.”

Speaking at the meeting last Tuesday, Councillor Ben Ingham said “shifting goalposts” had slowed the plan up, and that while the delays continued, it would be “open season” for developers.

And Councillor Mike Allen called for the chief executive to “get a grip” on the situation urgently.

Responding to the criticism, an EDDC spokesperson said the council still had the power to prevent development of unsuitable sites.

A statement read: “The lack of a five-year housing land supply in effect means that we cannot refuse housing developments simply because they are outside of the built-up area boundaries that define the extent of our settlements. The majority of our settlements are adjacent to Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Green Wedges and other designations that restrict development anyway and these designations still apply with equal strength whether we have a five-year land supply or not.

“Developers may perceive there to be an advantage in applying for permission now but any advantage is small. In many cases, sites that the council had already considered could come forward in the new East Devon Local Plan, following extensive community consultation, are coming forward earlier than planned. But these sites would probably have been developed in the near future anyway.”

A spokesperson for campaign group the East Devon Alliance criticised the “patronising” assurances from EDDC that the plan was on track.

The spokesperson said: “The crucial Local Plan, promised for two years ago, now seems unlikely to be agreed before next summer. How much more vulnerable East Devon countryside will be lost while the council dithers?”

A revised timetable for the plan will be agreed with the inspector once work on the housing market assessment has been completed.

A further report from consultants will be presented to the council’s development management committee on October 21st.

SIDMOUTH & OTTERY: Delays to Local Plan will be ‘open season’ for developers

Another 'shambles' appears to be emerging over the Community Infrastructure Levy - formerly the S106 payments system from developers:
Community Infrastructure Levy – what’s bigger than an omnishambles? | East Devon Alliance

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