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Published on 4 January 2023
Councillors urged to approve consultation on draft local plan
Residents will have a final opportunity in the coming weeks to give their views on a new draft Local Plan, published today (4 January), which would shape development in Teignbridge until 2040.
Ambitious and forward-looking, the draft plan aims to help generate growth, provide homes and jobs for local people, protect valued environments, create more open spaces, tackle climate change and promote the importance of meeting future energy needs.
It also meets current government housing supply requirements for a least the next 15 years while aiming to substantially reduce our carbon footprint by ensuring all developments in the district are net zero by 2028.
Councillors were scheduled to consider the plan last month but an announcement by Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities, on proposed changes to housebuilding targets led to a delay to allow time to consider any implications for the Local Plan.
Councillors will be asked next week (12 January) to approve the draft for a minimum six-week consultation starting on 23 January which will provide residents with the fifth and final opportunity to comment on the plan’s proposals before its submission for examination in public by the planning inspectorate.
A report to Council concludes: “The proposal by the Secretary of State is only to consult, there is no guarantee which changes will be implemented, or by when.
“It is considered that the letter from the Secretary of State does not raise new issues that would justify pausing the process or would undermine the ‘soundness’ of the Local Plan that has been developed”.
Councillors are being advised that to reject or delay the plan could leave the council less able to control the siting of new homes with planning applications being governed increasingly by national guidelines and through the planning appeals process.
Executive Member for Planning, Cllr Gary Taylor said the latest version of the plan has been shaped by the feedback from the previous four consultations, which attracted over 7,000 responses. “There has been a huge amount of engagement since the preparation of the plan first started in 2017 - contributing to a more sustainable development framework in which jobs and homes for local people can be provided while also helping protect and enhance our much-loved local environment”, he said.
Cllr Taylor said the draft plan was in two parts – the first sets out the policies and the design code for development, while the second identifies the sites where development will take place, whether that is for homes, jobs, traveller sites, solar energy or wind turbines.
“In preparing this new Local Plan, our priority has been to make sure that people have access to the homes, jobs, green spaces and services they need while improving energy security and reducing our carbon footprint” said Cllr Taylor.
“We now need to get this local plan in place as soon as possible, to enable the council - and not developers - to determine where future development in Teignbridge takes place.”
Under the draft local plan, brownfield sites would be prioritised to help regenerate town centres while most new homes would be located close to jobs, services and sustainable transport. Some small development sites are also identified in larger villages where new homes would help sustain essential local services.
The draft plan sets out new land allocations for 4,560 homes, with about a quarter of all new properties to be affordable and more homes built for people with mobility issues. About 65 hectares of land is allocated in the draft plan for employment sites while two sites are identified for gypsies and travellers.
Minimum standards for low and zero-carbon development are included in the draft plan as well as a requirement to provide infrastructure for electric vehicles. Solar energy would be allowed within designated areas and an estimated 15% of the district’s energy demand could be met by the 10 sites identified for wind turbines. Under the plan, the district’s tree canopy would be increased by 25% by 2040 and the plan also envisages a 50% increase in walking, cycling and public transport options on major developments.
If this month’s proposed consultation proceeds, all comments submitted would be sent to the planning inspectorate for public examination in the summer and if approved the plan would come into force in early 2024.
The four previous consultations on different aspects of this plan took place in 2018 when residents were asked for their views on the planning issues facing the district; in 2020 on draft policies to guide decisions taken on proposed new development; in 2021 on possible residential, employment and education development sites; and finally on small site developments, wind turbines and gypsy and traveller sites.