Homes and employment land cut in new local plan

Sidmouth will have fewer new houses in the future as the district council agreed to reduce the town’s allocation in the latest draft of the ‘Local Plan’.

It was also agreed to recommend five hectares of employment land to help generate more jobs in the town and more focus

But this figure is also down from last year’s controversial draft of East Devon District Council’s (EDDC) plan for the future.

But at Tuesday’s meeting of the Local Development Framework (LDF) panel councillors agreed to recommend a new draft with significantly lower levels of growth for Sidmouth.

Significantly the wording had changed from ‘modest’ housing growth down to ‘limited’ on the preferred strategy document, and more focus has been put on tourism and the town centre.

EDDC’s new local plan has five key priorities for Sidmouth, including 150 additional homes to be built by 2026, down from 250, to be provided only on sites within the existing ‘Built-up Area Boundary’.

They will only be put outside the boundary if it is proved there are insufficient deliverable sites within it to accommodate the housing growth, and those homes are on top of the 344 homes already with planning permission or under construction.

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The second priority is job provision, with up to 5 hectares of additional employment land. Thirdly in the town centre it will focus on ‘enhancement of the environment and promotion of business opportunities’.

The other two are improving social and community facilities to match housing growth, and infrastructure to alleviate congestion and create better parking provision

New recommendations for all East Devon town’s were discussed at Tuesday’s LDF meeting, and afterwards the panel chairman Councillor Mike Allen said he thought all the painstaking evidence gathering was starting to pay off.

The new draft will again go out to consultation before the final plan is created later this year.