Small scale housing and jobs top East Devon residents’ wish list

Small scale developments infilling current towns and villages, more home working, support for entrepreneurs and jobs in town centres are among residents’ top priorities.

This is according to the latest answers in a consultation on the New Local Plan, which finishes on Monday (March 15).

[Below this article Owl posts a summary list of the questions and link to the EDDC web site. Closing date for submissions is 15 March (Monday). This Council is listening to you, don’t waste the opportunity to have your say. Remember that two thirds of the District lie in two AONBs which severely constrains where new development can take place.]

Daniel Wilkins, Exmouth Journal

East Devon District Council (EDDC) is urgently appealing to residents to share their views on new developments and where they think new jobs should be located and whit those jobs should be.

So far, hundreds of people have had their say In the consultation although there have been few comments from young people.

The Council is keen to hear from all groups in the community as the new Local Plan will affect everyone who lives, works and plays in the district.

This week the authority has revealed a number of randomly selected suggestions from residents who have shared their views on jobs and homes.

When asked about sties for housing developments: 25 per cent favoured one in 10 houses being built on small sites.

A further 16 per cent of respondents thought up to a quarter of new houses should be built on small sites and 29 per cent favoured options of more than a quarter of new houses being on small sites.

So far residents have said that it is important not to swamp smatter communities, especially without providing the necessary infrastructure

Other suggestions included building on small sites near towns and villages on unsightly unused brownfield sites – In the hope it would be better for town centre regeneration, with less car use. When asked where developments should go the majority of people favoured infilling in towns and larger villages over building new communities.

As part of the consultation residents have been asked how many new homes East Devon should plan for.

Overall, 29 per cent of respondents favoured an annual average of 922 this is a Government ‘minimum’ level. A total of 31 per cent favoured higher levels of growth. Residents also suggested that affordable housing should be ring-fenced for local families and not be allowed as second homes and there should be a levy/tax on existing second homes and holiday lets so the demand for these is reduced.

When it comes to jobs, residents have also been asked their thoughts on where they think future jobs should be located. The highest-ranking answer was for ‘more home working’. In order, thereafter, were ‘more jobs in towns’, jobs ‘close to Exeter – excluding the West End’ more jobs ‘at the West End’ and at the bottom of the list was jobs in ‘villages and countryside’.

Another hot topic of discussion has been the support for differing job sectors. The highest-ranking answer was for ‘more local entrepreneurs’.

In order, thereafter, were more jobs in traditional sectors, more high-tech jobs and lowest of the options was attracting inward Investment by large firms.

Among the views shared by residents were that employment creation across the whole of East Devon was important but different areas have different needs so schemes needed to be planned for sensitively.

Other views included support for home working now Cov id-19 had shown it was possible for a large proportion of people to do so and should be actively encouraged. Residents said that home working encouraged local community development as people see each other when going for their daily walk.

Cllr Dan Ledger the EDDC Portfolio Holder for Strategic Planning said: “The current Issues and options consultation asks how EDDC should look to achieve this. Through your feedback. we will try to gain a consensus on how the district wish to see employment development come forward, where job creation should be focussed and how we should perceive the future working enviromnents for all of our residents.”

The Questions – Have your say

You do not have to answer all the questions but this summary list is intended to get you started.

(Some questions that allow more detailed comment on a previous topic have been omitted from this list)

Have your say in the New Local Plan consultation here:

Q 1 Are the objectives right

Q 3 How to make best use of Neighbourhood Plans

Q 4 Planning for Health and Wellbeing

Q 5, 6 & 7 Climate emergency and related topics

Q 8 How many new homes each year

Q 9 Sites for small scale developments

Q 10 Planning for all stages of life

Q 12 Where to create jobs

Q 13 What emphasis on which job sectors

Q 15 What policies for future Town centre use

Q 17 How important to design beautiful spaces and buildings

Q 19 Importance of conserving and enhancing Heritage Assets

Q 20 Development in protected landscapes

Q 21 Gaining biodiversity

Q 23 Promoting access to walking and cycling facilities

Q 25 Score the importance of facilities from post offices to pubs, places of worship, and bus services

Q 27 Should we retain and refine the existing settlement hierarchy

Q 28 How to distribute new housing development

Q 29 Future options on the type and location of development

Q 30 Should we create a Development Corporation

Q 31 Should we start planning beyond 2040

Q 32 Have we missed anything