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The Greater Exeter Strategic Plan “is dead”: long live the East Devon Local Plan!

  • by JW

“Now we move on to develop our new Local Plan as urgently as possible – and you can be sure that this time we will do this in the full light of day.”


East Devon will not be taking part in the Greater Exeter Strategic Plan:

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

In today’s Herald, the leader of the council makes it clear that, instead, they want to focus on their local plan:

A new Local Plan for East Devon will be formed in ‘the full light of scrutiny’ says council leader Paul Arnott:

“Now we move on to develop our new Local Plan as urgently as possible – and you can be sure that this time we will do this in the full light of day.”

East Devon District Council has voted to pull out of the Greater Exeter Strategic Plan | Sidmouth Herald

Which ties in with a pledge “to take positive steps and have in place robust processes going forward”:

District Council determined to improve probity in planning – Vision Group for Sidmouth


Meanwhile, it was expected that Mid Devon would also be saying it didn’t want to take part in the GESP:

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

However, things look a little less clear, as reported by Daniel Clarke on Devon Live:

Mid Devon District Council has been asked to continue to prepare a revised joint strategic statutory plan following the death of the Greater Exeter Strategic Plan. Mid Devon councillors, when they met on Wednesday night, had also been recommended to withdraw from the process, but following East Devon’s decision, the cabinet recommendation had been superseded by events.

Councillors eventually backed an amendment put forward by the leader of council that Mid Devon should commit to prepare a revised joint strategic statutory plan… Putting forward his amendment, Cllr Bob Deed, the council leader, said: “It is very clear, GESP is dead. We will need to get on with discussions with the other councils formerly in GESP, and there is no justification for any delay past tonight. I was in favour of working together in GESP, but East Devon’s withdrawal means the site options document cannot go out to consultation due to the East Devon content of it.“ 

Mid Devon to continue to prepare joint strategic plan following death of GESP – Devon Live

Or as East Devon Watch would interpret the outcome:

Mid Devon shies away from withdrawing from GESP and votes for “Son of GESP” instead | East Devon Watch


The leader of the Mid Devon council was the only member of his cabinet not to reject the GESP some two weeks before:

Agenda item – Greater Exeter Strategic Plan (1-22-46) – MIDDEVON.GOV.UK

With the Liberal Democrats, Green and other independent members of the cabinet all in agreement:

MDDC’s Lib Dems call for Greater Exeter Strategic Plan pause | InYourArea Community

The leader has now taken out the senior members of his team who voted against him:

Council leader removes four senior members from cabinet after row over Greater Exeter plans – Devon Live

Paul Nero of Radio Exe reports on the politicking:

The party with the largest number of councillors on Mid Devon District Council have inched towards achieving some of their ambitions after getting back into the ruling cabinet group. The Conservatives have been frozen out of decision-making since the last set of local elections. Although they have more seats than any other group, their 17 councillors are outnumbered by Liberal Democrats, Independents, and Green Party councillors. 

But now the Lib Dems haven’t been able to reach agreement with the independents about Mid Devon’s participation in the Greater Exeter Strategic Plan. That initiative is all but dead anyway now that East Devon District Council, which is run by a coalition of independents, Lib Dems and Greens, has decided it doesn’t want to ask voters what they think about the plan.  At the last full Mid Devon council meeting, the Liberal Democrats put forward a rival amendment to that proposed by the leader, Bob Deed. That seems to have been the final straw that broke the relationship. Four Liberal Democrat cabinet members on Mid Devon District Council were quickly out of the cabinet… 

Tories back at Mid Devon top table – Radio Exe


But with an independent/Lib Dem-led East Devon saying no, it is difficult to see how a GESP mark 2 can happen:

East Devon pulls out of joint local plan process

East Devon set to pull out of GESP – what does it mean for the plan? | Midweek Herald

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