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East Devon rejects Greater Exeter Strategic Plan: the response

  • by JW

The next step: “to re-make a better and more sustainable Local Plan”


Yesterday, the full East Devon council voted to reject the GESP:

BREAKING: East Devon rejects Greater Exeter Strategic Plan – Vision Group for Sidmouth


With the press release from the council here:

21 August 2020 – East Devon District Council approves withdrawal from Greater Exeter Strategic Plan – East Devon


Today, there has been quite a response…


Daniel Clarke writing on Devon Live contrasts the stance taken by East Devon and Mid Devon with that of Exeter and Teignbridge, who have accepted the GESP:

East Devon District Council has officially withdrawn from the Greater Exeter Strategic Plan. The council on Thursday night voted by 33 votes to 22 to inform their partners that they would no longer be part of the major blueprint for development for the region.

The Greater Exeter Strategic Plan was due to provide the overall strategy and level of housing and employment land required across Exeter, East Devon, Mid Devon and Teignbridge in the period to 2040. But while Exeter and Teignbridge councils had recommended going out to consultation on the draft policies and site options document, East Devon will now no longer be part of the process, and Mid Devon’s council when they meet on Wednesday are recommended to make the same decision…

East Devon votes to withdraw from the Greater Exeter Strategic Plan – Devon Live


The Sidmouth News Nub reports on the next step – which will be to focus on the East Devon Local Plan:

The council will now immediately begin the process to renewing its local plan and the strategic planning committee will meets as soon as possible to explore and define the processes involved.

East Devon votes to withdraw from the Greater Exeter Strategic Plan |


The Herald reports on the event:

East Devon pulls out of Greater Exeter Strategic Plan process | Sidmouth Herald

But also the ‘next step’:

The leader of East Devon District Council (EDDC) has called on councillors to come together to ‘re-make’ the region’s local plan after pulling out of the Greater Exeter Strategic Plan (GESP).

“Crucially, of the 60 members of East Devon council just 22 were prepared to back staying in the GESP. It is to be hoped that the 22 can now move on to work with the great majority of democratically elected councillors who wish to defend our district against the government’s ill-conceived ideas for the Planning system and to help us re-make a better and more sustainable Local Plan.”

East Devon leader Paul Arnott reaction to GESP withdrawal | Sidmouth Herald


The East Devon Watch news blog has several pieces in support of the decision:

Cleaning the Augean stable – Last night’s statements | East Devon Watch

A Correspondent’s view of last night’s debate including the Statement from Chairman and Leader | East Devon Watch

RIP GESP – Owl’s summary of last night’s debate | East Devon Watch


In one EDW post, exactly who voted is considered:

33 Councillors voted to leave and 22 Councillors voted to stay in GESP; there was one abstention, three Councillors sent their apologies and one was absent.

Essentially those voting to stay, were all the Conservatives present and all the self-styled “Independent Group”. These are the remainder of Ben Ingham’s group of “Independents” who did not join the Majority Group or form Cranbrook Voice. The other unaligned “Independent” from the Ingham Group, Cllr Peter Faithfull, also voted to stay in the GESP.

GESP – How your Councillors voted by Ward | East Devon Watch


Interestingly, members of the Independent Group who led the last regime at East Devon include Susie Bond of Feniton, who wrote this piece on the GESP last month:

The Greater Exeter Strategic Plan. What will it mean for Feniton? | Susie Bond

And on Twitter today, she retweeted opinion from the former leader of the council:

Susie Bond on Twitter: “Silencing opposition!” / Twitter

Susie Bond on Twitter: “Couldn’t have put it better myself! #GESP #planmaking” / Twitter