Masterplan to explore expanding Honiton industrial estate into fields

Work is to get under way on a masterplan to explore turning ‘pretty to look at’ green fields near Honiton into an ‘economic driver’ for East Devon.

Daniel Clark 

District council cabinet members in February backed committing up to £20,000 towards the costs of the exercise to look at commercial development at the Hayne Lane plot.

The site is allocated for employment use in the authority’s existing Local Plan.

East Devon District Council (EDDC) owns land to the west of Hayne Lane in Gittisham, close to Honiton’s Heathpark Industrial Estate.

An adjoining plot is owned by Combe Estates.

Costs of the masterplan will be met equally by the council and Combe Estates.

The February meeting of EDDC’s cabinet heard plans to extend the Heathpark Industrial Estate in Honiton have been ‘bubbling away for many years’.

Members were told the joint masterplan exercise will consider the feasibility of undertaking a commercial development on the Hayne Lane site, what opportunities are suitable, and what constraints need to be overcome.

Project manager for place, assets and commercialisation Alison Hayward, told the meeting that the masterplan work will include commissioning a number of surveys and studies to identify relevant site issues and provide evidence for the proposed uses.

Consideration will be given to uses that will support the council’s agenda to tackle climate change, will include a report on the viability of the development and the implications for the respective land owners.

Councillor Susie Bond, whose Buckerell ward the site sits in, said that while it is a visually sensitive plot, the extension of the Heathpark Industrial Estate has been ‘bubbling away for many years’.

She called for representatives from the parish and town councils to be involved in the development.

Cllr Paul Hayward, portfolio holder for economy and assets, added: “The input from the parish and town council will be critical as they are the boots on the ground.

“This is a joint project as they need us to get access to the land, and we need them as they have more land than us.

“This has been a long time coming. The land is pretty to look at, but is doing nothing at the moment, but as an economic driver for East Devon and Honiton, it has huge potential.”