The baseline housing target the EDDC coalition has inherited is 64% higher than needed to satisfy demographic growth trends and “normal” levels of inward migration
This is the consequence of the Tory “Build, build, build” strategy pursued by Conservative controlled EDC for decades.
The late Paul Diviani, alongside the faithful Philip Skinner, was the architect and driving force behind the current Local Plan, adopted in 2015, which was based on an aggressive development target of 950 houses/year, driven by a “jobs led policy on” scenario.
In fact only around 580 houses/year were required to satisfy purely demographic growth trends.
This is a Tory uplift of 370 or 64% and is the “poison chalice” that the coalition has inherited.
If the council goes is to go back to the drawing board, as you suggest, then you might like to “have a conversation” with Blue Leader Cllr Philip Skinner.
Simon Jupp MP www.sidmouthherald.co.uk
The Conservative government wants decisions about homes to be driven locally. Councils should therefore be working hand-in-glove with the communities they serve to ensure homes are built in the right places with the right infrastructure.
Last month, the Secretary of State set out some welcome breathing room. Councils will be able to calculate housing need as a starting point but ultimately must consider how to protect the characteristics of each area – be that precious countryside, the character of an area, or heritage. There is no truly objective way to calculate how many homes are needed in an area and, since becoming an MP in 2019, I’ve repeatedly told Ministers that East Devon’s housing figures were the product of fanciful Whitehall algorithms.
Too often, it feels like communities have to grin and bear new housing development. My postbag has been full of complaints about East Devon District Council’s proposals for where homes should be built because they won’t help people stay in their own communities, reduce travel, or keep families close together. We must build new homes, but they must compliment the area, not concrete all over it.
That’s why as your local MP I have responded to East Devon District Council’s Local Plan consultation – particularly to reflect concern among residents of north Exmouth, Lympstone, Farringdon and West Hill. I’d warmly encourage you to have your say too. Visit eastdevon.gov.uk. The consultation closes on 15 January.
Residents in north Exmouth and residents in Lympstone are extremely alarmed by the volume of development that is getting proposed, effectively merging the two historic towns together. I’m meeting with the Northeast Exmouth Residents Group again this week to look at the plans in depth.
Farringdon villagers stand to have a new town of 2,500 homes built a stone’s throw away. The parish is the most severely impacted of all in East Devon. I’m sitting down with residents here too, because I want to make sure their voice is heard.
The council should go back to the drawing board. The power is now in their hands to make the right calls, thanks to the Conservatives.