Meeting to consider sites for new homes this evening.
“Members understood that in recent years East Devon had been growing faster than almost any other area in the Country and there was a feeling that we had already done more than our share to meet the Government’s target for new homes.”
The District Council meets up tomorrow to look at proposed sites for new housing – including in the Sid Valley:
The Town Council is meeting up this evening – and will be looking at these proposals:
In particular, it will be considering a report put together by its planning committee last month:
Report of an Informal Meeting of Sidmouth Town Council’s Planning Working Group held at Woolcombe House on 17th August 2022
Members held a wide discussion about the requirement to allocate such a large number of houses in the District. There was sympathy for EDDC in that regard as the number was driven by the Government and, unless EDDC can show the requisite number of new houses, the new Local Plan will be non-compliant and without a valid Local Plan there will be a presumption that any new planning applications for housing will be approved. However, Members understood that in recent years East Devon had been growing faster than almost any other area in the Country and there was a feeling that we had already done more than our share to meet the Government’s target for new homes.
The Town Council has been striving to promote tourism in Sidmouth which is of paramount importance to the local economy. Tourism itself is largely dependent on the landscape and there was concern that the quality of the landscape was being eroded with so much development proposed, particularly in the AONB. If we continue to nibble away at the AONB we will kill the goose that lays the golden egg.
Members were extremely concerned about the lack of infrastructure which was being proposed to cater for the allocation of new housing. There was already felt to be a shortage of doctors, dentists, hospitals and schools and existing problems with road traffic. Regular discharges of sewage into the sea at Sidmouth indicates that the sewerage system is inadequate to cope even with the present population let alone any increase. It was likely that these concerns about infrastructure were shared with other towns and parishes in East Devon and there could be merit in working with them (along the lines of the Towns Together tourism initiative).
The new and amended sites were considered. It was noted that EDDC’s report recommended against allocating all but one of these sites. Members could find no good reason for recommending any of them as well, or instead, of any of the sites currently proposed.
Sidmouth Town Council had previously objected to the allocation of the 3 sites in Sidmouth and that remained the position, although Members could see the logic of including Sidm_01 at Woolbrook.
The Working Group made the following recommendations to the next Meeting of the Town Council:
6.1 Because of the effect on the landscape and the strain on local services to continue to resist the allocation of housing on the sites proposed.
6.2 To explore convening a meeting of representatives of the main towns together with Devon County Council, East Devon District Council and local MPs to discuss the strain on local services and infrastructure which the proposed housing allocation will only exacerbate.