Simon Jupp criticises EDDC local plan proposals, now out for consultation, as being unimaginative by proposing to “dump” the majority of new development in the west quarter of the district. (See below)
“Councillors should not be allowing historic towns and villages to merge into one another, nor allow homes to be built without adequate infrastructure in place first.” He says.
But isn’t this what Cllr Phil Skinner, current Leader of the Conservative minority group in East Devon, advocated in 2019 when he said this about a proposed network of linked villages: “I am bang up for seeing this come forward in the right way.” …?
Result of 25 years of Tory “Build, build, build”
The fact is that it’s the legacy of Tory development policies over a quarter of a century in EDDC coupled with the Tory government housing targets that have left the current Council facing options, none of which are attractive. Most of East Devon outside the AONB has already been over-developed.
In the past twenty years, the local Tories have:
- “Persuaded” the residents, through an opaque process under the leadership of Sara Randall Johnson followed by Paul Diviani, to accept the new town of Cranbrook, built on grade 1 agricultural land. It started by aiming for a population of 2,900 in 2012 and is now projected to reach 22,000 eventually, swallowing up nearby rural villages in the process. It was claimed at the time to relieve future development pressures;
- Produced a local plan 2013 to 2031 (adopted in 2016) based on an aggressive jobs led, “policy on” growth scenario requiring more than three times the number of houses needed to satisfy demographic and historic growth trends;
- and were enthusiastic supporters of the Greater Exeter Strategic Plan (GESP) seeing it as an opportunity to use the green fields of East Devon to ease Exeter’s chronic inability to find a five year land supply. One of the main GESP enthusiasts is none other than the current leader of Tories in EDDC, Cllr Phil Skinner. Those who voted to stay in the GESP can be found here. Not a single Conservative voted to leave GESP!
Who set the ground rules that EDDC have to follow in their plan?
The government you claim to be a small part of, Simon.
Right now these policies are in a state of flux because the housing requirements they impose on District Councils, like EDDC, result in just the sort of proposals you are criticising. These requirements bear little relationship to local need. I.e “to help people stay in their own communities, reduce travel to help the environment, or keep families close together” (To quote a phrase of yours).
Yet Owl cannot find any evidence that you were among the 60 rebels that have forced this U-turn on Michael Gove and the PM.
It is too early to tell what this U-turn will mean in practice but it should give EDDC an opportunity to establish the genuine local need.
This opinion article of yours looks like humbug to Owl.
Maybe you could help by working constructively with the elected Council as the MP for Tiverton and Honiton does for his constituents?
New homes need to be built in the right places
Simon Jupp www.sidmouthherald.co.uk
East Devon is a great place to live, work and explore. Naturally, we want our children and grandchildren to feel like they can lay down their roots here, too.
Homes to buy and for long-term rent are increasingly out of reach for people who grew up here or who work locally – including for key workers in the NHS, social care or schools.
Home ownership needs to be a reality for a new generation. That will only come about by ensuring homes are built in the right places.
Sadly, East Devon District Council’s new Local Plan is woefully unimaginative. It dumps 9,000 new homes in the far west of the district – stretching from Cranbrook to Clyst St Mary and Exmouth. That is a lot more than the 2,500 planned for the rest of East Devon.
It is not a proper plan to help people stay in their own communities, reduce travel to help the environment, or keep families close together. It’s a missed opportunity.
Ministers want decisions about homes to be driven locally. The government sets targets, councils decide where houses are built. Councils do so by producing Local Plans which help decide on planning applications and other planning related decisions.
As an MP, I have no formal role or jurisdiction in the local planning process – but I will continue to hold East Devon District Council to account. After all, councillors decide how our district is designed for generations to come. It is really important to have your say, too.
Councillors should not be allowing historic towns and villages to merge into one another, nor allow homes to be built without adequate infrastructure in place first. I am acutely aware of the concern among residents in north Exmouth and Lympstone about the alarming volume of development proposed.
The government is introducing a new Infrastructure Levy to help ensure new homes are supported by appropriate infrastructure and services. However, we do need to get the right plan in place. Make sure you have your say on the East Devon local plan by visiting eastdevon.gov.uk. The consultation closes on Sunday, January 15th 2023.
I am forced to admit to a certain admiration for Simon Jupp – for this is perhaps the boldest and most imaginative piece of gaslighting I have seen in a long time.
Successive Tory governments have worked tirelessly for decades to reduce the influence that local councils have over planning and development, tying their hands and restricting just how little they can say no to developers.
And now he has the effrontery to blame a lack of localism on a local council?
In the annals of local Tory MP hypocrisy, this has got to be in the top 10.