Future vision hit by yet another setback

PUBLISHED: 06:51 24 February 2015

Archant

The next step in the process to complete a blueprint for future development in East Devon is unlikely to take place until after May's elections, according to the district council's leader.

East Devon District Council (EDDC) said in January that revised projections of the number of new houses needed in the region had been delayed because of the complexity of the work.

But the process is now due to be set back further, after the authority’s leaders warned that further potential delays are ‘inevitable’ due to the forthcoming local elections.

The housing figures form a crucial part of the emerging Local Plan, which will set out where thousands of new homes will be built in the district until 2026 and beyond.

EDDC’s leader, Councillor Paul Diviani, said: “We are very much aware of the need to finalise our Local Plan, but at the same time we have to take the reports with proposed changes to the plan to our members for consideration and consultation.

“We had envisaged that the earliest we would have been able to take the reports to our members would be March or early April 2015.

“However, because of the forthcoming local and national elections this would not appear to be a viable route to follow, as there is concern that the process could be seen as politically motivated, which would overshadow the soundness of the plan.

“While mindful of the need to progress quickly, the significance to the process of members’ consideration and consultation should not be overlooked, and consequently it is unlikely that we will take the report to our members until shortly after the May election.”

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 revised projections are being drawn up in conjunction with neighbouring authorities including Exeter, Mid Devon and Teignbridge.

A district council spokesman said that once the draft report arrives, it will be looked at by each authority involved, and then put to EDDC’s planning committee and the full council.

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