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Mid Devon set to reject Greater Exeter Strategic Plan: analysis

  • by JW

But will this be superseded by the proposed abolition of district councils?


The latest news on what’s happening with the GESP has been widely reported:

Mid Devon set to reject Greater Exeter Strategic Plan: reports – Vision Group for Sidmouth

With more news reports from other media:

Mid Devon and East Devon councils recommend GESP withdrawal | Exmouth Journal

Mid Devon become second council to recommend pulling out of the Greater Exeter Strategic Plan | News | Crediton Country Courier

Now thoughts are turning to the consequences…

It is now a fortnight ago since East Devon’s cabinet rejected the GESP:

Greater Exeter Plan in doubt with East Devon set to pull out of the ‘monstrosity’ – Devon Live

This has attracted the attention of national commentators:

East Devon Pulling out of ‘Monstrosity’ Joint Plan Proposing growth in most Obvious Place shows what would happen if you abolished DTP without Statutory Strategic Plans | Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

Devon joint strategic plan dealt blow after council committee votes to withdraw from process | Planning Resource

Locally, there have been a lot of pieces in the Exmouth Journal arguing for or against this decision:

Eileen Wragg column: District council could pull out of GESP | Exmouth Journal

Local correspondence on GESP conducted in the Exmouth Journal | East Devon Watch

Meanwhile, there has been some blogging going on from councillors:

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

Proposals for thousands of houses in East Devon, as part of new plan to 2040 – Claire Wright

Now there is talk of plans to ‘reorganise’ local government, although how long that will last is unclear:

Already there are signs of something amiss: the transcript of the speech by the minister for local government, Simon Clarke, in which he set out his devolution plans, was mysteriously taken down from the government’s website soon after it was put there.

Why does No 10 want to ‘devolve’ local councils just as they are needed most? | Polly Toynbee | Opinion | The Guardian

But Devon County councillors are not keen, as this report from a fortnight ago points out:

“To blow everything up now would be an act of political vandalism to our local communities, and a terrible barrier to making the progress that we need to make across the whole county.”

Senior Devon councillors have reiterated they have no desire to ‘lead the charge towards becoming a Unitary’ and reopen the arguments over Local Government reorganisation. The Government are set to publish a Devolution White paper this Autumn with speculation it would see county and district councils – the top tiers of authority – be invited to propose merging their powers and become Unitary councils.

Devon will ‘not lead the charge’ to become a Unitary council ahead of looming Local Government reorganisation – Devon Live

Then what would happen to local planning decisions?

Who exactly would make them – under other proposals to shake up local government?

Would the County Council hold all the cards, or would some powers be repatriated to Town Council level?

County elections will be held next May:

2021 United Kingdom local elections – Wikipedia

Election timetable for scheduled local government elections in England | Electoral Commission