Devon's Future Housing Needs
Peter Hall, Budleigh Salterton
In October, CPRE held a symposium to present and discuss the independent study they had commissioned to assess Devon’s future housing needs. CPRE undertook this unusual action so that they, and their members, aresuitably prepared to comment on the next round of Local Plan reviews which will happen in the next couple of years. OVA subscribes to group membership of CPRE, many of you may be individual members.
For the last few years East Devon District Council have achieved their own Local Plan agreed target of 950 dwellings per year. However, proposals to build at an even higher level of growth are under discussion. Exeter is unable to provide the housing land required to sustain the expected growth of the city, and the rural areas and towns in the neighbouring areas will be required to increase their housing requirements if they are to meet their aim. This could be achieved by what is called a “Growth Deal” with Central Government where a group of Councils agree to build more housing in return for the “carrot” of infrastructure investment from central funds. Such a proposed “Growth Deal” is currently being prepared by the Councils of East Devon, Exeter, Teignbridge and Mid Devon through the Greater Exeter Strategic Plan or “GESP”.
The CPRE’s independent study is the first to allow all Devon’s Local Plans to be compared on a consistent basis. The key messages are these:
- Far too many homes are already being planned for Devon in the next 10 years. Only 4,300 a year are needed against 5,800 planned – that’s a 35% uplift.
- Two thirds of these will be occupied by inward migration.
- Vacant and second homes are becoming a problem across the County.
- We in East Devon are taking a disproportionate share of development. Our Local Plan annual housing target is the highest in the Greater Exeter Area: 58% higher than Exeter, 53% higher than Teignbridge and nearly three times that of Mid Devon. Only Plymouth is building more houses than us.
- Whilst we are planning too many houses, we are failing to plan for enough homes of the right type in the right location, especially for locally generated households.
The study will have a wide distribution, it’s free to 1,000 individual members and 45 group members, including Town and Parish councils.
Sir Hugo Swire gave a positive summing up and has taken the evidence back to central Government and promised to make a noise about it.
In his words: “Let’s follow the facts and build the appropriate number of homes to meet the true need.”
Public consultation scheduled for the autumn, just passed, has slipped but could happen any time in the New Year. So we have hurriedly organised this additional OVA Winter Talk where Penny Mills CPRE Director for Devon will present the study to us.