At least 2,000 extra homes in East Devon policy change


- Credit: Archant

The district council is set to weaken its planning policies and allow thousands more houses to be built in East Devon in the next five years.

A report to be delivered at Tuesday’s Development Management meeting urges councillors to endorse plans to approve applications for more than 2,000 extra new homes, on top of the 4,500 it had already laid down in its draft Local Plan.

It said East Devon District Council (EDDC) is forced to act to show it has a five year land supply, a list of sites available for new housing, after the planning inspector overturned two of its recent decisions on appeal for large-scale housing developments on the basis it couldn’t.

“The current ‘planning by appeal’ is not delivering the development that local communities want,” it reads, and unless a new policy is endorsed EDDC would be unable to defend refusing any applications.

The planning inspector said at the appeals in Ottery and Feniton no weight can be given to the draft Local Plan, despite years of consultation and research, because it is still in draft.

So until it is enshrined in law later this year, the council is instead suggesting using figures from a previous planning document, the Regional Spatial Strategy, which advocates creating 17,000 new homes up to 2026, 2,000 more than the Local Plan.

Under EDDC’s old policy 4,471of those houses were expected to be built by September 2017, but the new figures, if agreed, would need another 2,114 to be built.

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The report said the decision could have a positive impact overall, creating ‘more affordable homes and a thriving economy’.

But it does also state increased home building levels could bring ‘potentially major challenges and issues’, including the possibility of a planning ‘free-for-all’, with sites developed where there is insufficient infrastructure, and the best and most appropriate sites not being built on.

The proposals will be discussed in the council chamber at Knowle from 2pm.

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