‘Action plan’ mooted for contriversial future vision

13:10 07 May 2014

Archant

AN ‘action plan’ to address the failings of a controversial blueprint for the future of East Devon is set to be backed by councillors tomorrow (Thursday).

The latest delay in finalising the Local Plan is set to cost tax payers a further £12,000 in consultants’ fees. This is on top of a 2013/14 inspection budget of £110,000 - with another £50,000 in reserve funding.

East Devon District Council (EDDC) says it cannot give a precise breakdown of costs for the plan since the process started in 2007.

A report also concludes that it is not possible to give a definitive completion date of the revised Local Plan.

The ‘action plan’ move, due to be discussed by development management committee members, has been made as more work is needed on the contentious document.

This follows a ruling by government inspector Anthony Thickett in March following a three-week public examination.

Mr Thickett concluded that the blueprint’s 15,000 housing target is not justified by ‘inadequate’ evidence submitted.

He also said the absence of an up-to-date Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) was a ‘serious failing’.

Cross-boundary working with West Dorset District Council, the period of the plan and issues on gypsies and travellers were also highlighted by the inspector as issues.

No date has been set for when the action plan will be completed, but consultants are due to complete their work on an updated SHMA, which will inform proposed housing numbers, by June.

A report will be produced to address the need to work jointly with West Dorset District Council – because Lyme Regis cannot accommodate its housing need - meaning an expected ‘overspill’ of development into East Devon.

Consideration will be given to extending the Local Plan end date from 2026 to 2031.

Read more in next Friday’s Herald.

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