New Council Plan focusses on housing

” Prepare and promote robust policies in our local plan to address the need for more and better quality homes and communities for all.”
“Deliver more social housing and explore new ways to build more affordable homes.”

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The District Council has just published broad-stroke ideas for its longer-term planning – as reported in the local press:

Plans to boost East Devon after the pandemic | Midweek Herald

The leader of the council makes the point that they need to be focussing on housing:

“We have quite rightly prioritised delivering on our promise to get more social and affordable homes built, as we face a housing crisis across the country.”

Plans to boost East Devon after the pandemic | Exmouth Journal

With the council’s press release from earlier in the week stressing the same:

Better homes and communities for all:
A total of £500,000 has been set aside for a housing task force to push the building of better quality new homes, which includes more well-maintained, social and affordable housing. The authority will be focused on using its resources and influence to ensure developments are in appropriate areas where residents have everything they need to live happy, healthy and safe lives with access to the amenities they need – like open spaces, healthcare, job opportunities and leisure facilities.

21 October 2021 – New council plan focuses on greener East Devon, housing and recovering economy – East Devon

And with more detail here from the full Council Plan:

Promoting better homes and stronger communities:
– Prepare and promote robust policies in our local plan to address the need for more and better quality homes and communities for all.
– Deliver more social housing and explore new ways to build more affordable homes.
– Deliver on the commitments in our Housing Strategy and Housing Service Plan.

Council Plan 2021-23 | East Devon District Council

Of course, this is not going to be easy, but there are some ways ahead.

HOUSING ABOVE CAR PARKS:

The leader himself suggested one possible way ahead last month:

Could building above car parks help solve housing issue? | Sidmouth Herald

Which echoed similar ideas reported over the years by the VGS news blogs:

Should we build affordable housing above car parks? – Vision Group for Sidmouth

This posting was shared across the social media in Sidmouth and the Sid Valley – and the response was huge and mostly favourable:

SIDMOUTH community for the people | Good idea or not | Facebook

Sidmouth Community | Good idea or not | Facebook

Sidmouth Plastic Warriors | Good idea or not | Facebook

BETTER INFRASTRUCTURE, BETTER NEIGHBOURHOODS:

One of the interesting points of the Council Plan is the determination to ensure that there is the right infrastructure:

The authority will be focused on using its resources and influence to ensure developments are in appropriate areas where residents have everything they need 

21 October 2021 – New council plan focuses on greener East Devon, housing and recovering economy – East Devon

Because the traditional set-up in local planning has been to allow for lots of large isolated housing estates – where there are few facilities and lots of roads needed to get to them:

More housing estates = more roads = more traffic – Vision Group for Sidmouth

Which has been largely what happened in Cranbrook, which was once trumpeted as an ‘eco-town’:

Proposing more new towns for East Devon: will lessons over Cranbrook be learnt? – Vision Group for Sidmouth

On the other hand, the new East Devon council plan seems to be looking to the concept of the 15 or 20-minute neighbourhood, which is growing in interest internationally:

How it can “promote activity, a strong sense of place, boost local economies and provide (almost) everything you need for life within walking distance.”

The 20-minute neighbourhood – Vision Group for Sidmouth

GREEN HOUSING:

The new plan also looks to ‘a greener East Devon’:

EDDC is focused on achieving carbon neutrality by 2040, looking after the area’s towns, villages, countryside and coastline for future generations. The details of this work is included in its Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan.

21 October 2021 – New council plan focuses on greener East Devon, housing and recovering economy – East Devon

The Centre for Sustainable Energy posted a warning that this won’t be easy:

“Most of the Local Plans we reviewed … do not acknowledge quite how radical and challenging the 2050 zero-carbon commitment is for planning and place-making.”

Local Plans, housing and carbon commitments – Vision Group for Sidmouth

Although East Devon’s neighbours might have a thing or two:

Exeter the ‘accidental pioneer’ in eco-housing – Vision Group for Sidmouth

Exeter affordable Passivhaus homes win award – Vision Group for Sidmouth

And there are all sorts of great ideas out there – if there is indeed a proactive council:

The slow uptake of small-scale renewable energy in housing – Vision Group for Sidmouth

How to make houses greener – Vision Group for Sidmouth

RetroFirst: “the greenest building is the one that already exists” – Vision Group for Sidmouth

WRONG HOUSING, WRONG PLACE:

Finally, there are fears that predatory developers are circling for sites:

What is the housing quota for the Alexandria Housing Estate? – Vision Group for Sidmouth

With the latest reports on the latest supermarket looking to build:

Lidl and Aldi go head-to-head for new store sites in Devon – Devon Live

Aldi announces ambition for new stores in four East Devon towns & Exeter

 – which will in turn have a knock-on effect on suddenly making former sites ‘available’:

Supermarkets on industrial estates: Would Fords moving to Sidford free up Alexandria for Lidl? – Vision Group for Sidmouth

Supermarkets on industrial estates: Would Lidl moving to Alexandria take Woolbrook back to square one? – Vision Group for Sidmouth

Supermarkets on industrial estates: Could Lidl move to Sidford? – Vision Group for Sidmouth

   
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