Local Plan Update April 2015
The updated Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) was released at the beginning of March. This is the document that should give the “objective assessment of need” for housing. EDDC also commissioned two further reports to look at how the numbers would be altered by differing economic growth rates and increased job creation at Cranbrook. They are complex documents. There are several warnings in these reports about the dangers of assuming a high economic growth rate throughout the 18 years on the Local Plan (now 2013-2031), but despite this EDDC have chosen the highest rate of growth, and consider that we should be building 950 houses / year – giving a total of 17,100 between 2013 and 2031. In fact, with all the developments given approval already, and those in the pipeline that are on allocated sites, they expect the total to be around 18,200
Along with this, EDDC is now confident that it can prove it has a five-year supply of housing land, which is a requirement under the NPPF. This means that policies which restrict housing, such as the Built-Up Area Boundary (BUAB) can now again be enforced.
There is some more positive news for the villages of East Devon, including West Hill. The main focus of development is at Cranbrook and the West End. The 5% target for growth in villages has been deleted. Instead, larger villages which are deemed “sustainable”, like West Hill, will be suitable for limited growth to meet local needs.
The BUAB will be reviewed following discussion with parish councils and community organisations, but the starting point will be the existing BUAB. The amount and shape of future development will be determined through Neighbourhood Planning. This underlines the importance of getting our Neighbourhood Plan in place, to reflect what our community wants. These more detailed policies will be in the Villages Development Document, which will be a much simpler affair than the first draft last year.
The amended Local Plan has now been submitted to the Inspector for Examination, and there is 8 weeks for public consultation. WHRA will be making a consultation response. The Inspector will then re-convene the hearings, and compile his report. We are still on course to have the Local Plan adopted by the end of 2015.
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