“The Poisoned Chalice” a vivid illustration of the Tory housing target legacy

Development for the Avenues in Exmouth is impossible to reject, see article below.

The 2013 Tory administration set East Devon an eighteen year target to build a minimum of 950 houses/year (17,100 in total by 2031).

This binding target is what the Lib Dem, Independent and Green Coalition inherited, and they are lumbered with it. Worse, under government rules, they have to ensure a five year rolling plan to supply these houses.

EDDC currently can only demonstrate that it can bring forward development sites to provide 4.68  (including a 5% buffer) years worth of development. 

Under government rules, which keep changing, unless a local authority can show a 5 year supply, a presumption of development will apply to all development irrespective of neighbourhood plans, built-up area boundaries, green fields etc.

The main drivers in the overly complicated calculations are:

The eye-watering 17,100 new homes minimum target imposed by the Tory administration in the 2013 to 2031 local plan, This “objectively assessed” need was 65% more than the homes to meet demographic and normal economic growth. It was driven by an economic growth assumption that has not materialised.This averages out at 950 homes/year.

In 2020 Covid, unsurprisingly, resulted in a fall in housing completions and EDDC now has to play catch-up. But developers may not be playing ball.

Big developers can hold local authorities over a barrel by “land banking”, developing sites as and when they can maximise their returns.

Affordable homes are among a new development for the Avenues in Exmouth

Local Democracy Reporter eastdevonnews.co.uk

Affordable homes will be among a new development in the Avenues in Exmouth recently given the green light by the district council.

A final decision for the application by developer Littleham 2010 Ltd for the houses on Douglas Avenue, demolishing one home in the process to make room for construction vehicles, has been delayed though, writes local democracy reporter Rob Kershaw.

Councillors on East Devon District Council’s (EDDC) planning committee needed more time to visit the site to check out the viability of the scheme, which had already been denied several years ago – although they accepted the council’s lack of a five-year housing land supply makes it impossible to reject the development.

Several residents at a meeting on Monday (April 24) complained about the demolition of a home in the upmarket ‘Avenues’ area of the town, as well as what they claim will be pressure on local surgeries, an increase in traffic and lack of affordability.

An agent on behalf of the developer insisted that 11 of the 44 homes will be classed as affordable.

Image of the site: East Devon District Council report.

Green Cllr Olly Davey warned that the location of the new homes will discourage the use of public transport and bring more cars into Exmouth, while Conservative Cllr Richard Lawrence criticised South West Water (SWW) for not attending the meeting to address sewage concerns.

Ultimately though, decisions to refuse applications need to be made based on breaches of policy, and because none were found by officers, Devon County Council or SWW, not enough valid reasons were presented to turn it down.

Lib Dem Cllr Eileen Wragg said the district council would have received a “hiding to nothing” at an appeal hearing if the committee were to reject the scheme.

Five members of the committee voted in favour of the application, one voted against and three abstained.

ALL DUE TO TORY DECISIONS and will all this building provide affordable homes, so far the record of providing affordables in Exmouth has been abysmal? – Owl

PS Click on the link to Littleham 2010 Ltd above to discover who the directors are and their affiliations.

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