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Proposed Submission Local Plan 2020-2040

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9. Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

What is a Local Plan?

A Local Plan guides decisions on where and how development takes place. Local Plans contain a set of rules, called ‘policies’, which are used to guide decisions on applications for development. 

Purchasing paper copies of documents 

Paper copies of the Local Plan Proposed Submission consultation documents can be purchased on request. If you require printed copies of the consultation documents, please contact the Local Plan Team at with a list of the documents you require and we will provide a quote.

Why are you preparing a new plan?

National Government requires us to review our Local Plans every 5 years to reflect the changing needs of our area and make sure they continue to be effective for our communities. Since our current plan was prepared, various changes have been made to national planning policy which need to be reflected in our plan, including a different way of calculating housing need and a stronger emphasis on achieving better design.

What will happen to the current Local Plan?

Many of the existing policies and site allocations of the current Local Plan will remain unchanged and will be incorporated within the new Local Plan. Once the new Local Plan is adopted, it will replace the current Local Plan. Until then, the current Local Plan (2013–2033) will still be used in the determination of planning applications.

My community is currently preparing or has a Neighbourhood Plan, so how will the Local Plan affect it?

We fully support Neighbourhood Plans and existing and proposed allocations in Neighbourhood Plans for development, such as employment or housing sites, have been reflected in the draft Local Plan 2020-2040 (Part 2). Where a Neighbourhood Plan conflicts with the Local Plan, the most recently adopted plan will take precedence, unless the policy in the Local Plan is listed as a 'Strategic Policy'.

When does the Local Plan 2020-2040 come into effect?

Please see the Local Development Scheme

Why do you need to keep building more houses?

As our population continues to grow, we need to build more houses of different sizes to meet the varied needs of local people. National Government has committed to building 300,000 houses each year and has set targets for the number of houses each local authority in England has to provide land for. Our housing need continues to grow as a result of smaller households, an ageing population (which reduces the turnover of available homes), inward migration, and local population growth.

How many houses do you need to build in Teignbridge?

The national formula for calculating housing need gives a figure of 720 homes per year for Teignbridge. This target is calculated based on household formation projections and the affordability of local housing and is updated on an annual basis.

What would happen if you did not provide enough land for housing or did not build as many houses as the government wants us to do?

If we do not allocate enough land for the number of houses that the national formula requires us to build, the Local Plan would be found “Unsound” when examined by the Independent Inspector.  In addition, the absence of an up-to-date Local Plan would lead to the pressure to allow development on sites that are not allocated for development in a Local or Neighbourhood Plan.  Even if the Council refused planning permission, there is a high likelihood that developers would win planning appeals because we would not have enough sites to meet our housing need.

By allocating enough sites for housing, we have more control about where and how new development takes place.

Where are you going to build new homes?

The Local Plan 2020-2040 sets out all possible and suitable development sites within the district.  These sites are within the towns and villages and are not the final site choices.  The final choices are contained in the Proposed Submission Addendum Local Plan, which is due to be published in November 2023. The sites chosen to be included within the Local Plan have been informed by the comments received in response to the many stages of consultation on the Local Plan 2020-2040, as well as other technical evidence and considerations.

Why are there more sites in the draft Local Plan 2020 - 2040 Parts 2 and 3 than we need?

We have included more sites than we need for two reasons

  1. By consulting on more sites than we need this gives communities the opportunity to let us know information and opinions about the different possible development of sites in their area. This will help us to choose the sites that will be allocated for development in the next version of the Local Plan, the Proposed Submission Local Plan 2020-2040.
  2. In order for the Local Plan to be found “sound” by the Independent Inspector, we need to show that we have assessed and considered all reasonable alternatives to the sites that are finally chosen. This makes the Local Plan less likely to be challenged.

What is the Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment (HELAA)?

The HELAA is a “catalogue” of all sites that have been submitted to the Council in response to the “Call for Sites” in 2017 and 2018.  It comprises a 2 stage assessment of each individual site in relation to technical constraints, such as flooding, topography, wildlife, access and heritage, and assesses the development potential of each site. 

Can I submit land to be considered for development, or is it too late?

It is too late to submit a site for the current Local Plan Review. 

How will you choose the sites that will be allocated for development in the final version of the Local Plan?

The choice of the final sites was informed by consultation responses received on the draft Local Plans, along with Sustainability Appraisal, Habitat Regulation Assessment and many other technical documents and evidence such as flood risk assessment, availability, distribution strategy, input from elected Members, and viability evidence.

How will I know that my comments were taken into account?

We will also publish a Consultation Statement.  This explains how comments submitted on previous versions of the Local Plan have been taken into account, or if they have not been, the reasons why they have not.

Why can’t you just build affordable housing?

It costs a lot of money to build homes and provide the infrastructure needed to support them (roads, schools etc.). If all housing was offered as affordable housing then it would not be viable for developers to build. Therefore, we ask for a proportion of new houses to be affordable.

Why do you build on greenfield land?

We looked at brownfield regeneration opportunities, including in Newton Abbot as part of the Garden Communities work.  We don’t have enough brownfield land to provide all the homes we need. The brownfield land currently available for development will only provide for a small proportion of homes. As we need to provide land for 740 homes per year we do not have sufficient brownfield land to meet our housing or other development needs and therefore need to develop on greenfield land as well. 

How are you going to provide/support more jobs?

The Local Plan cannot directly provide jobs, but it can make land available and support business development. The draft Local Plan 2020-2040 (Part 2) contains all possible employment development sites that could help to provide sufficient employment land up to 2040.

Where will the new employment development sites be located?

The Local Plan cannot directly provide jobs, but it can make land available and support business development. The draft Local Plan 2020-2040 (Part 2) contains all possible employment development sites that could help to provide sufficient employment land up to 2040.

How do you make sure the Local Plan doesn’t have an impact on the environment?

It is a legal requirement that all Local Plans are scrutinised through environmental reports, called the Strategic Environmental Assessment and Sustainability Appraisal and Habitats Regulations Assessment. These reports consider the impact of the plan on the environment/wildlife, people and the economy and set out how any negative impacts will be addressed.

How will wildlife be protected from development pressures?

A large part of the district supports rare species of plants, animals and habitats, which are currently protected under a combination of European and English law. Ecological sensitivities have been taken account of when assessing individual sites and the proposed submission Addendum Local Plan 2020-2040 has been subject to Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA). The Plan also includes various policies which require new proposals for development to protect existing wildlife and promote biodiversity, including better networks for wildlife across the district.

What are you doing to tackle the climate emergency?

The Draft Local Plan 2020-2040 (Part 3) identifies 27 potential sites for wind turbine development.  In addition, each residential, employment and education site has been assessed in relation to its impact on climate change through the HELAA process.  Those sites that would have resulted in a significant harmful impact on climate change have not been included in the draft Local Plan 2020-2040 (Parts 2 or 3).  The draft Local Plan 2020-2040 (Part 1) includes various measures to tackle the climate emergency, the biggest of which is to require all new development to be carbon neutral. We are also requiring electric vehicle charging points in new developments, supporting renewable energy schemes and requiring all larger developments to show how the majority of trips can be made by walking, cycling or public transport.

How will people who do not have or use a computer get involved?

We have considered how people without access to a computer will be made aware of the consultation and how they can access a paper copy of the draft Local Plan 2020-2040.

  • We have sent paper copies of the Local Plan to each Town and Parish Council – these could be made available to local residents;
  • We have sent posters to each Town and Parish Council, asking that they be displayed in prominent public places;
  • We have sent paper copies of the Plan to public libraries;
  • Paper copies are available to view at Forde House;
  • We have advertised the Consultation in the local press;
  • Paper copies of the Plan are available to buy.