Youngsters ‘want to stay’ in Sidmouth

But they want to leave Ottery, say planners

MORE than 60 per cent of young people in Sidmouth, who were asked if they would like to keep living in the town as they grow older, said ‘yes’ – a report has revealed.

But just 32 per cent of Ottery St Mary youngsters polled fancied sticking around there, according to the brains behind a blueprint for the future of the region.

Members of East Devon District Council’s (EDDC) Local Development Framework (LDF) Panel discussed challenges posed by the need to retain younger residents, and also to cater for a ‘steadily ageing’ population on Tuesday.

Councillors looked at how best to provide ‘affordable’ homes and issues that might persuade young people to stay in the region – or influence their decision to leave – as well as suitable housing for the district’s growing elderly population.

The 2010 poll asked young people whether they would still want to live in their home town in 10 years’ time, and results showed that, in Sidmouth, 63 per cent thought they would stay. In Ottery, 68 per cent expected to up sticks.

“The most common major concerns young people expressed were the ageing population of the area, limited facilities for them, a lack of suitable shops, inadequate public transport options and poor employment prospects,” said an EDDC spokesman.

Most Read

The LDF Panel has asked for a further study to take place on the needs of those in their late teens and early 20s.

Members also heard there are currently 37,400 people aged 65 or over living in East Devon. That number is predicted to increase to around 57,500 by 2031.

Study findings revealed the district can be divided into a number of market value areas with varying levels of viability for affordable housing.

A typical three-bedroom semi-detached home in Sidmouth costs around �280,000, while the same type of property is around �190,000 in Axminster.

“These values can influence the proportion of affordable housing that can be achieved in each area,” said the spokesperson.

LDF Panel Chairman, Councillor Mike Allen, added: “We have to strike the right balance between government expectations to see a surge in new buildings, and our own desire – shared by the population – to conserve and enhance our beautiful district.”