“East Devon residents’ top priorities as part of the Local Plan review include small scale developments infilling current towns and villages.”
The District Council is asking people what they’d like the Local Plan to look like:
East Devon Local Plan: Issues and Options Consultation January 2021
They’ve been really pushing for some input these last days – to the extent that some think it’s a bit too much:
However, there clearly is an interest in getting as much input as possible – especially at this stage where the exact ‘issues and options’ are being looked at:
And the area for comment the council has been pushing in particular is on provision for homes and employment:
Housing developments and jobs for town centres among priorities
East Devon District Council has issued one last appeal to residents to share their views on new developments and where they think new jobs should be located and what those jobs should be
East Devon residents’ top priorities as part of the Local Plan review include small scale developments infilling current towns and villages, support for entrepreneurs and jobs in town centres.
This is according to the latest answers in a consultation on the New Local Plan, which finishes in just one week on March 15.
East Devon District Council has issued one last appeal to residents to share their views on new developments and where they think new jobs should be located and what those jobs should be.
This is what the Town Council’s input says on housing in its submission:
3. Meeting future housing needs. To provide high quality new homes to meet people’s needs.
We do not wish to see any extension of the Built Up Area Boundary (BUAB). Sidmouth’s situation,
surrounded by open countryside, is part of its great attraction.
We do not foresee any problem in Sidmouth in meeting the housing requirement in the existing local plan of 150 dwellings. Indeed, much of the allocation has already been completed. However, the most significant shortfall in the Sid Valley is affordable housing for young people and this represents the priority area to be addressed.
There is limited potential for new residential development within the BUAB because of the tight constraint of the boundary. Where development is proposed it should not be in such numbers as to overwhelm the existing built environment, infrastructure and services. Nor should it damage access to, or the amenity of, the open countryside of such areas as The Byes and the East Devon AONB. It must include a proportion of affordable housing as detailed in the Sid Valley Neighbourhood Plan.
If, however, the local or national pressure to allocate additional land for housing proves irresistible, then the only possible site appears to be the land adjoining the B3176 Bulverton Road to the North of Higher Woolbrook Park. This should be combined with a park and ride scheme into the town.
Outside, but immediately adjacent to the boundary, we would be prepared to accept small development(s) of “Exception sites”. These should not be specifically allocated. There should be strict criteria before any applications are approved and strict control involving a test of “local connection” regarding the occupants.
There is a noticeable number of second homes in Sidmouth and we suggest that this is a topic which should be addressed in the new local plan.
This is from the VGS’s own draft submission:
How many new homes should we plan for each year?
The current government requirement to build at least 928 new homes should be followed; although this does fall short of the affordable housing needed in the District, simply increasing the commitment to new-builds will not necessarily lead to more affordables being built, as admitted in the Issues and Options report.
Besides, “East Devon has over-delivered by 37%, 5% and 28% over the past three years (average 22%); by 33% overall over the past five years (1,155 excess houses).”
Sites for small scale housing developments
The only limit to the new LP policy is not that at least 10% of new homes should be built on such sites, but that each site should be no more than 1 hectare, which could allow for several small-scale sites being developed in the Sid Valley.
These criteria would match the Sid Valley NP Policy 10 which allows for small-scale housing development, with a maximum of 15 dwellings as ‘exception site’ residential development of land bordering the BUAB.
Further criteria are detailed in the attached pdf document on SVNP Policies.
Planning for housing for people at all stages of their life
The VGS would support these very strict requirements, as they reflect the criteria in the Sid Valley NP Policy 12:
“The requirement for property size in the intermediate housing market is mainly one and two-bedroom units to meet the needs of concealed households and those who are unable to access the market sector as a first-time buyer. There is a small level need for some three-bedroom units from existing households often due to relationship breakdown. A property size target of 50% one bedroom, 40% two bedroom and 10% for three-bedroom units should be set to meet the requirements of households in this sector. (Second Household Survey: Q34)”
Additional housing policy objectives
Many of these policies could be furthered by supporting:
– ‘Passivhaus for the mass market’ [eg: Norwich The energy-saving, social housing revolution > Passivhaus for the mass market – Vision Group for Sidmouth]
– the creation of housing cooperatives [eg: Brighton www.eastsuffolk.gov.uk/assets/Housing/Community-led-housing-case-studies/Hedgehog-Self-Build-Co-operative-Brighton.pdf] ; and
– broader, more innovative approaches [eg: Lammas — Pioneering Sustainable Living as part of the Welsh government’s ‘One Planet Development’ policy One Planet Council | Supporting One Planet Developments]