Yesterday Owl posted the news that Mid Devon cabinet had voted to recommend withdrawal from GESP.
Owl also reported on the secret group, including Simon Jupp MP, planning, in the shadows, how “Exeter will ensure that the desired transformational housing agenda known as Liveable Exeter Garden City is achieved” .
Below Owl reports the latest news from Teignbridge – who look to be having second thoughts.
Below that Owl reports on a section of Daniel Clark’s latest article on the GESP, widely reported in the local papers, but which omitted a section discussing what the other Councils have said. (Only reported on Devon Live)
Councillors in Newton Abbot want more info on housing plans
The Teignbridge Local Plan, adopted in 2014 and already in action, demands that 621 new homes are built across the district each year until 2033.
More than 4,200 of the properties are going up in Newton Abbot, Devon.
But the Government has increased the district’s annual build figure to 760 with the plan likely to be extended to 2040.
Where the extra properties could be accommodated is being considered under a scheme called the Greater Exeter Strategic Plan (GESP).
One of the areas earmarked is Houghton Barton West along the A383 Ashburton Road.
The GESP states: ‘The wider Newton Abbot, Kingsteignton and Kingskerswell area is a significant employment and housing location… and there is potential to continue to develop its role with additional homes and employment.”
On July 7 Teignbridge District Council’s Executive agreed to proceed with GESP public consultation starting in September.
Two weeks later, Newton Abbot Town Council voted in favour of creating a task force to consider the draft plan when published.
One Newton Abbot member, Cllr Mike Hocking, told colleagues that he feared Newton Abbot becoming ‘a suburb of Exeter’.
Days afterwards one of the GESP partners, East Devon District Council (EDDC), announced it was withdrawing from the scheme.
Then on July 29 Teignbridge Council declared that its GESP involvement was on ‘pause’ while it considered the implications of EDDC’s action.
But Teignbridge warned that the higher annual build figure of 760 would still have to be met.
The two other GESP partners, Mid Devon District Council and Exeter City Council, have yet to announce their positions.
Now Newton Abbot Town Council has confirmed its intention to scrutinise any further expansion of the town.
Mayor Cllr Richard Jenks said: “We acknowledge Teignbridge’s decision to put GESP on pause but Newton Abbot remains a contender for more homes.
“We will look at the details when available and work to ensure the best outcome for the town.
“Our powers are limited but we will be the voice of Newton Abbot, loud and clear.”
Blueprint for future of Greater Exeter and 39 key building sites (extract)
WHAT HAVE THE OTHER COUNCILS SAID?
Cllr Rachel Sutton, Exeter City Council’s Lead Councillor for the GESP, said: “It is disappointing given the immense work that has been invested in the plan by all the authorities for EDDC to now withdraw from the GESP.
“We are entering into a period of massive uncertainty because of Covid-19, Brexit and probably the worst recession in living memory, and uncertainty in the planning policy framework is not helpful to anyone, especially the development and construction sector.
“We will now need to reflect on what this decision means for the city and our neighbours. ECC will be progressing our new local plan.”
Leader of Teignbridge District Council, Cllr Gordon Hook, said: “We need to take stock of the current situation and pause to consider the implications of East Devon’s full council decision when it is made.
“Depending on this outcome, Members will consider what options are available to them, that best meet the needs of all our residents and meet our statutory obligations. We will review all the options available to understand the benefits and drawbacks so that we can make a sensible, informed and pragmatic decision.
“In the meantime we will continue to work with our neighbouring district council partners to plan and deliver societal and economic benefits for all our residents, such as affordable housing and infrastructure.”
However, Cllr Richard Daws, from the Newton Says No group on Teignbridge District Council, welcomed the move. He said: “Last week we raised exactly the same concerns about GESP to Teignbridge Council, but were lone voices. It is a pre COVID plan no longer fit for purpose for a post COVID world. Alongside that, it ties us more strongly into Teignbridge’s overstated housing numbers. Targets that even the Lib Dems acknowledged are too high, but they seem powerless to even try to challenge (beyond writing a letter to no10).
“We salute the Democratic Alliance in East Devon for showing moral leadership and calling out this reckless plan for what it is. We want to work on a new Local Plan, focusing on sustainable housing in sustainable locations, not large expensive estates on greenfield sites we have been blighted with over the last decade.”
WHAT ABOUT MID DEVON?
Mid Devon District Council has yet to discuss the GESP, with their meeting over whether they take part in the consultation process scheduled for August 6, with the recommendation from officers to take part.
But Liberal Democrat Councillors in Mid Devon will be asking members of the ruling Cabinet to immediately pause involvement in the current Greater Exeter Strategic Plan at the cabinet meeting. August 2020……..[We know the result – Owl]