‘You plonkers!’ Exeter MP slates East Devon on housing

Exeter MP Ben Bradshaw, left, with Devon in Sight director of services Martin Pallett, resource cent

Exeter MP Ben Bradshaw, left, with Devon in Sight director of services Martin Pallett, resource centre manager Colin Hoskins and volunteer Janice Cackett. - Credit: Archant

Exeter MP Ben Bradshaw has hinted a Labour Government could try to extend the city’s borders into East Devon - because the district council ‘plonks’ houses on their doorstep instead of in its own towns and villages.

Mr Bradshaw said the practice strained services and caused traffic chaos in the city, while East Devon District council (EDDC) - and places like Sidmouth - reaped the rewards of extra council tax revenue.

But EDDC insists that new developments have been in partnership with the city council and they benefit as much as EDDC does.

Last week Mr Bradshaw criticised EDDC for not drawing up their Local Plan and where to put new housing.

He said it risked a free-for-all on the edge of Exeter, and that EDDC had a tendency to ‘plonk new housing developments on the edge of Exeter rather than in or on the edge of their own towns and villages’.

He added: “This has put particular pressure on Pinhoe and Alphington.

“It also means that Exeter’s roads, schools and other services come under ever more pressure, while the council tax revenues from the new homes don’t come to us but flow to Sidmouth…

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“In the long run the inability of Exeter to control what goes on our edge is another argument for the next local Government boundary review to look at the case for extending the city’s boundaries.”

AN EDDC spokesman said: “We enjoy a good relationship with Exeter City Council…

“Developments such as Cranbrook and the Science Park at the west end of the district are fully supported by the city council and are helping to meet housing needs in both Exeter and East Devon. The scheme is also providing more high quality jobs for the Exeter sub-region.

“So far as other developments on the fringes of the city are concerned, these may be primarily located in East Devon but, far from being a burden on Exeter, they will provide much-needed residential space for the city and its immediate surroundings. Exeter has a shortage of land to accommodate its burgeoning population.”

The spokesman said that the city council endorsed EDDC’s plan in January 2013 which had only been agreed after ‘extensive consultation’.

He added: “Both councils had the option to oppose these developments if they believed the pressure on facilities, roads or schools was unacceptable, but did not do so.

“One third of the social housing at Cranbrook is reserved for people on Exeter’s books as part of a reciprocal agreement between the city council and EDDC under the Devon Home Choice scheme.”