Plan change could mean more homes for town

Sidmouth, Port Royal. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref shs 0934-03-12AW

Sidmouth, Port Royal. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref shs 0934-03-12AW - Credit: Archant

A minor change to East Devon’s development blueprint has prompted fears that the door could be left open for more new houses in Sidmouth than originally thought.

The town council has been asked to comment on the latest changes to the district’s draft Local Plan, which outlines where thousands of homes will be built over the next 16 years.

Sidmouth had originally been allocated 150 homes in the plan – 50 at Knowle; 30 at Port Royal; 20 at Manstone Depot; and 50 as part of smaller ‘windfall’ developments across the town.

But the deletion of a reference to 100 of these in the latest draft left some councillors worried it could lead to more development.

At a meeting last Monday, councillor Ian Barlow said: “It no longer specifies an amount. You could say that means there might be less.

“But you could also say that might mean there are a lot more.

“I don’t understand why that would be removed unless you wanted to increase it.”

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In the latest revision of the Local Plan, East Devon District Council (EDDC) is proposing that 950 new homes should be built across the district, each year, until 2031.

The previous draft had set a figure of 750 per year, and councillor John Dyson said he expected there would be a ‘fair amount of argument’ in the coming weeks over where the additional new homes would go.

“We are batting in the dark at present; I would be surprised if that 100 [for Sidmouth] was not 150 or even 200,” he said.

Councillors agreed to request that the original line specifying 100 houses be reinstated.

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