East Devon future vision branded ‘perverse’

But council chiefs say they face a dilemma

A DECISION to include 15,000 proposed homes in a new blueprint for the future of East Devon has been slammed as ‘perverse’ by angry objectors – as those behind it face a ‘dilemma’ over mooted housing numbers.

Under fire East Devon District Council (EDDC) bosses were this week accused of having ‘total disregard’ for the people of the region over a controversial Local Development Framework (LDF) Core Strategy.

But the authority yesterday vowed to listen to its constituents and not to be ‘driven by ill-judged and negative views’.

The war of words follows a narrow vote by LDF Panel members on Tuesday to include 15,000 homes in the under-construction draft policy for the region intil 2026.

Just a day after talks, EDDC was mentioned in a national report encouraging local authorities to build more rural housing.

LDF Panel chairman Mike Allen said the authority must tackle a ‘backlog’ of affordable housing in the face of ‘opposition to all but minimal new development’.

Most Read

He said: “EDDC has come in for a lot of flack from people who, frankly, wish to see very little new development, and don’t seem to care whether our young people and families are able to afford homes to enable them to stay in the area where they grew up.”

Ottery councillor Roger Giles branded the homes figure decision as ‘incomprehensible’.

“Once again, the wishes of the residents - who elect councillors - have been placed second to the desires of developers,” he said.

Original LDF plans, which featured 16,400 dwellings and another possible 3,000 ‘unexpected’ developments, were shelved last year following huge public protest.

Six LDF Panel meetings, of which Tuesday’s was the second, have been made open to the public.

An EDDC spokesman said some parish council representatives wanted to see significant numbers of new homes to ensure communities and local services survived.

He added the council would ‘rigorously test’ the figure of 15,000 new homes, said the number is not final, and that each town and community will be looked at individually before a public consultation.

The spokesman said numbers included dwellings built, or granted permission since 2006, and the projected figure was closer to 10,000 homes.