New town confirmed in major Devon housing plan for East Devon

A second new town for East Devon in addition to currently being built Cranbrook is among the proposals as part of a draft new Local Plan reveals potential locations for where new homes could be built.

In the spirit of being open and transparent the draft document, which may change as a result of further consideration and public consultation, will be debated for the first time in public on Tuesday, December 14, by EDDC’s Strategic Planning Committee. (This provides link to agenda, supporting papers, speaking and viewing arrangements – Owl).

Daniel Clark www.devonlive.com

This is the first time in East Devon District Council’s history that it has revealed a ‘work in progress’ draft for a Local Plan, normally waiting until work is further progressed before showing it to the public.

The document, which will help shape East Devon until 2040, builds on the authority’s recently adopted Council Plan and looks at how the district can protect the environment, build employment space and ensure only high quality developments are built.

The Government says EDDC must deliver 918 homes a year. This means the new Local Plan needs to identify land for more than 6,900 additional homes. This is in addition to those already planned for, like at Cranbrook and developments expected to come forward by 2040.

Most of the large scale housing sites will also be expected to provide a range of employment spaces and community facilities and create sustainable communities where walking and cycling are the norm.

East Devon potential housing locations

East Devon potential housing locations

The current preferred strategy could deliver:

  • A concentration of new development on the western side of East Devon to include an additional new town (a further new town in addition to Cranbrook) to provide around 2,500 homes by 2040 but ultimately to grow to around 8,000 homes;
  •  Major strategic developments close to the city of Exeter including new developments off Clyst Road, North of Topsham and expansions to Exeter Science Park and further employment spaces north of Sowton Village and near the airport
  • Axminster – approx. 335 homes in a series of small scale urban extensions providing a mix of housing and employment sites.
  •  Exmouth – approx. 455 homes within a number of sites focused on the north east of the town with some smaller scale allocations to the south and east.
  • Honiton – approx. 228 homes with a large allocation to the eastern edge of the town and a series of smaller applications to the other edges of the town.
  • Ottery St Mary – approx. 250 homes to the western side of the town including an area of employment land.
  • Seaton – approx. 264 homes largely focused on 4 sites to the north of the town including a large allocation between Harepath Road and Colyford Road comprising a mix of housing and employment.
  • Sidmouth – approx. 196 homes comprising a large allocation west of Woolbrook Road and a series of smaller scale allocations to the north and west of the town.
  • Around 400 homes could be built in total across a number of ‘local centres’ including Broadclyst, Budleigh Salterton, Colyton, Lympstone and Woodbury.
  • With a further 500 homes split between the ‘service villages’ including Clyst St Mary, Feniton and Whimple among others.

On the new town, the plan says: “A new town will be a long time in the planning and it is unlikely that any new homes will be built until into the 2030s. On this basis, and at build out rates that if they escalate up to around 300 homes per year, there might be expected to be up to 2,500 new homes built at the new town before the 2040 end date of the East Devon working draft Local Plan.

“The second new town will, therefore, see most of its development happening outside of the life of this local plan and potentially running beyond the mid-point of the 21st Century. There will be a need to build up a long term strategy and vision for the development of this new town.”

If the proposals are endorsed but a second new town is rejected the extra housing that is needed is more likely to be around 3,800 new homes, the plan adds.

The plan adds: “The work on developing a plan strategy (including looking at alternative options) has identified the appropriateness of building another new town close to the City of Exeter.

“There is clearly an option of not planning for a second new town though this would raise fundamental questions about where housing growth in particular would go.

“As a variation or alternative to a self-contained new town there would be the option of planning for a series of separate larger scale new villages in the western part of East Devon. Such villages may have the potential for speedier delivery though are unlikely to secure the range of services and facilities that a new town may provide.”

In green, the outline of the sites for the three potential new towns in East Devon

In green, the outline of the sites for the three potential new towns in East Devon

It continues: “It is proposed that the policy of the new local plan will provide for a second new town in East Devon, though with a specific site still to be defined, on land in close proximity to the City of Exeter.

“The intent is that in the Draft Local Plan, to be consulted on, a specific site (or at least a much more explicit statement on location) will be identified with a proposal that the site is allocated for development.”

Among the submissions were three different proposals for new settlements, in the west end of the district – with a Clyst Valley Garden village on land south of Clyst St Mary and Clyst St George, land around Denbow Farm between the A30 and the A3052, and a site between Crealy Adventure Park and Greendale Business Park known as ‘Greenbrook’.

The first potential ‘new town’ would be for a new ‘garden village’ on land around Clyst St Mary and Clyst St George. The site has been submitted as part of the HELAA process, and maps show that the site would extend to the north of the existing Clyst St George settlement to around where Winslade Park currently lies, before expanding out to the east towards Crealy Adventure Park, as well as out from the east of Clyst St George towards Woodbury Salterton.

The second proposal for a new town is at Denbow Farm. That scheme, which was also suggested during GESP, covers a large area of 660 hectares largely of rolling farmland extending from the A30 to the A3052, before adjoining the Hill Barton industrial area to the south.

It covers the parishes of Clyst Honiton, Sowton, Farringdon, Aylesbeare and could see 10,000 homes built, as well as employment land provided, and could deliver a new route connecting the A30 to the A3052, a self-sufficient, mixed-use garden community and it could deliver a regional hub for sports.

The third is on land south of the A3052 between the Greendale Business Park and Crealy Adventure Park – the proposed ‘Greenbrook’ development. The map shows that the entirety of the land between the two sites is included, with it also stretching slightly further south towards the edge of Woodbury Salterton.

In the spirit of being open and transparent the draft document, which may change as a result of further consideration and public consultation, will be debated for the first time in public on Tuesday, December 14, by EDDC’s Strategic Planning Committee.

A council spokesman said: “It is appreciated some of the proposals are controversial and will cause concern to communities but the proposals may well change following further work and input from councillors.

“Residents have been asked not to submit comments at this stage and to wait until the final draft plan has been published. A public consultation, including workshops, will then be held next summer based on current timescales.”

They added: “The plan showcases EDDC’s aspirations for all new homes to be zero carbon with measures such as better insulation, triple glazing, solar panels and special pumps that extract heat from the air to warm people’s homes as well as district heating systems like the one at Cranbrook, which can be run on renewable energy.

“Policies that minimise the carbon footprint while building developments have also been proposed along with measures that ensure more is put back to create natural habitats, affected by developments, than is taken away.

“Alongside the new homes the working draft plan looks at where employment space can be put to deliver new jobs alongside the homes to create a “…resilient, inclusive, green economy, delivering growth and prosperity for the benefit of everybody in the district”.

The working draft of the plan will be considered by councillors and amended and modified as work progresses over the coming months

Full details of the proposed sites can be viewed at