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Published on 24 June 2021

1000 plus local people needing homes to rent or buy

Identifying possible sites for new housing is always controversial. 

Few people want open land built on, many do not want new developments close to where they live and there are often understandable concerns around the potential for traffic congestion and increased pressure on public services such as schools and GP practices.

Apprehension over new developments is fuelled by the need for the council to meet government set house building requirements which for Teignbridge is 751 new homes a year.  This requires us to identify enough land to achieve this number for the next 20 years.

But it is easy to overlook the fact that developments often enable new infrastructure to be built. Since the current Local Plan was introduced in 2014, the area has benefitted from more than £200 million of infrastructure investments with a further £120 million announced relating to upcoming schemes.  Successes include Dawlish Countryside Park, two new schools, extensions to various GP surgeries, lots more cycle paths and the A382 road corridor improvements at Newton Abbot. 

Millions of pounds are made available to support community improvements as part of the planning process which also requires developers to provide a percentage of affordable houses.  As a result, 1,100 affordable homes have been provided through the current Local Plan.

For those with homes it is easy to forget that more than 1,000 households in the district are in need of an affordable home to rent or buy and with house prices soaring to more than 10 times the average household salary, owning a home is currently beyond many people. The number of people on the affordable housing register doesn’t reflect the full extent of the need for homes.

Between 2011 and 2018, Teignbridge’s population rose by around 8,500 people and forecasts show that this growth is likely to continue.

Not only is our local population increasing but it is also getting older. By 2039 one in three Teignbridge residents will be 65 years or older and one in eight will be aged over 80 meaning that more homes are needed for elderly people to live independently for longer.

Demand is further increased by the fact that many people now live alone so more houses are required to accommodate the same number of people compared to the past when more people lived in family units.

Executive member for Housing Cllr Martin Wrigley said:  “While we disagree with the Government imposed housebuilding target, we do have to identify sufficient land for it.  That is best done with local residents’ input to the process.

“If we don’t identify the options, we will lose any control we have and allow the location of development to be determined by developers through the planning appeal process and also potentially risk provision of affordable homes for local people.

“What we must do is look at the sites presented to the council and objectively decide which ones would be best to build on and what form this development should take, and exclude those which are less suitable or where there are good planning reasons to exclude them.”

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