We learned recently that the current Stagecoach depot opposite the bus station in Exeter is going to be turned into a massive block of student housing – 557 units.
Now we hear that there are plans for the site of the Honiton Inn, on the roundabout opposite the bus station to be another student block of 101 flats with their own private gym and cinema – opposite a public gym and cinema!
What effect will this have on East Devon?
Well, “Greater Exeter” – whose “Visioning Board” like all such development and regeneration boards in “Greater Exeter” meets in secret – is making arrangements to do the next revision to its 3 Local Plans (Exeter, East Devon and Teignbridge) together.
It will be totally evident (in fact it is already) that Exeter’s main growth in housing will remain student housing. So, where will housing for other people go? Obviously East Devon and Teignbridge.
Cranbrook has natural boundaries beyond which it will soon make its further expansion much more difficult than heretofore. Therefore, it will be towns such as Exmouth, Honiton and Sidmouth – and the green fields in-between – that must be expanded to take in the commuters into Exeter, with a possible massive impact.
None of this is being put before the general public in any of the three areas nor is adequate infrastructure being planned for this big change (or at least we cannot be allowed know of any). And, of course, our Local Enterprise Partnership will “own” the business rates of the Exeter “Growth Area” and will have its fingers in the many development pies.
Time to start talking about the NEXT revision of the Local Plan which may well see even more massive development in East Devon on a much bigger scale than we could ever have imagined and could dwarf the extra numbers already agreed..