Development blueprint suffers further setback

Protesters on Sidmouth seafront in 2012. Photo by Simon Horn. Ref shs 9491-45-12SH

Protesters on Sidmouth seafront in 2012. Photo by Simon Horn. Ref shs 9491-45-12SH - Credit: Archant

A long-awaited blueprint for future development in East Devon has been hit by another delay.

East Devon District Council (EDDC) presented its draft Local Plan to a government inspector in February 2014, but was told there were ‘serious failings’ with the evidence it had used to calculate the number of new homes needed in the region.

The council had intended to start public consultation on its revised draft by the end of January.

However, the ‘complexity of the work’ means this has now been pushed back, with the district council unable to say when the consultation will begin.

Reacting to the news, Dr Cathy Gardner, from campaign group East Devon Alliance, said she was ‘alarmed’ by the delay.

“I think it is staggering it has taken this long,” she said. “One of our main priorities is to make sure the completion and adoption of the Local Plan is expedited.”

She added that, as long as the plan was not in place, communities in the region would be vulnerable to ‘inappropriate development’.

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A district council spokesperson said: “EDDC had expected to start consultation for the Local Plan in January, but due to the complexity of the work, which involves many other organisations, including Exeter City, Mid Devon and Teignbridge councils, Dartmoor National Park and Devon County, this has been delayed. We are working as hard as possible to complete the work.”

The completed Local Plan will serve as a blueprint for development across East Devon until 2026 and beyond. The current draft includes a total of 150 houses earmarked for Sidmouth, at Knowle, the Manstone Depot and Port Royal.

Ottery St Mary has been allocated 300 homes, but planning approval has already been granted for more than 450.

The plan also features contentious proposals for a business park of up to 12 acres of land designated as an area of outstanding natural beauty between Sidford and Sidbury.

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