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Fact not Fiction

Developing a planning framework at Wolborough

1. Introduction

Councils work within a rigid framework of law, planning policy, government guidance and regulations. The Teignbridge Local Plan 2013-2033 sets the policy framework for how land is allocated. It draws on national planning policy, technical evidence, community involvement and is shaped through formal stages including decisions by councillors. These varying factors are balanced and then the plan is subject to examination by an independent Inspector before it’s formally adopted by Council.

The Local Plan was adopted in 2014 and since then, areas have been brought forward for development in line with policies in the Plan.

Land at Wolborough (Policy NA3) was allocated for development in the Local Plan. Teignbridge is now considering how the development should be guided and controlled there.

Teignbridge appreciates people are interested in development and may have concerns about it. To alleviate these concerns and provide reassurance, the Council is keen to ensure people have factual information. 

When land that is allocated is brought forward, any planning proposals are subject to lawful and democratic processes including public consultation. Decisions are then made by elected members or are delegated to officers.
This means local people can get involved and take part in a considerate, democratic debate. We are always willing to debate policy and people are welcome to make representations. We ask and expect that this is done respectfully.

Details of the planning applications submitted can be found on the Wolborough Planning Application and Next Steps page and information on the Masterplan itself can be found on the Wolborough Masterplan page.

2. Where we are today

The Teignbridge Local Plan was widely consulted on, examined and adopted by Teignbridge on 6 May 2014. At that time, Wolborough was allocated for development through the Local Plan policy NA3. It covers an area from the A381 Totnes Road to Kingskerswell Road, next to the South Devon Highway and immediately south of Decoy Country Park.

The Local Plan allocation is for 120 hectares of land in this area for a high quality development of at least 1500 homes including 20% affordable homes, combined with community facilities such as a community building and local shops, a road linking the A380 with the A381 and a network of walking/cycling routes. Around half of the space will be green, open spaces, complementing the award-winning Decoy Country Park, not encroaching on it.

3. Why are these homes needed?

The national picture
Government population data and household projections show that people are living longer, the population is growing and the need for more homes is increasing.

• The population of the UK at 30 June 2017 exceeded 66 million people, an increase of 392,000 people since mid-2016.
• The number of one-person households in England is projected to increase by 26% by 2041 because more people aged 65 years and over are living on their own.
• The number of people aged 90 years and over living on their own is projected to more than double, over the next 20 years.
• Government has set a target to build over 300,000 new homes per year by middle of the next decade. Current figures are approximately 160,000 per year.

What this means for Teignbridge
Through its existing policies, proposals and actions, Teignbridge is committed to meeting the environmental, social and economic challenges facing the area and its people.

Teignbridge is working hard to meet the need for homes and in the last 6 years, the number of homes in Teignbridge has increased by 4,512.

The need for homes is intensified by the cost of homes relative to wages, where the price of homes in Teignbridge is approximately eleven times the average wage.

Drawing on its population data, Government sets house-building targets for councils across the country, click to see how it’s calculated.

Currently, the Teignbridge Local Plan identifies 620 extra houses are needed each year.

From May 2019, Government data for Teignbridge points to a housing requirement of 760 per year, which exceeds the current figure in the Local Plan.

What happens if we don’t fulfil these targets
If we don’t provide these homes (in line with a new ‘housing delivery test’) or if we don’t have a 5 year supply of deliverable housing sites (assessed against the house building target), national planning policy requires planning decisions favour the provision of new sites for homes. This could result in unplanned development proposals coming forward across the whole of Teignbridge, including the Newton Abbot area.

4. Protecting nature and history

All of the areas allocated for development across Teignbridge are in the Local Plan which is publicly available at  It shows all the safeguarded green spaces and habitats.  At Wolborough, green infrastructure will amount to the size of approximately 60 rugby pitches (60 hectares), which is half of the total area being developed.

A specialist assessment of the setting of the church is being prepared together with Historic England. Natural England have contributed to an outline monitoring strategy that will be needed to overcome potential impacts on Wolborough Fen SSSI to ensure it is protected and retained for wildlife and recreation.

The Local Plan requires a bespoke Greater Horseshoe Bat mitigation plan for Wolborough to be approved and in place before planning permission can be granted. The plan must demonstrate how the site will be developed to overcome any potential harm to internationally protected Greater Horseshoe Bats. Development will not happen if the requirement falls short.

5. Infrastructure

The Newton Abbot area is a focus for development because it is where most community facilities already exist. We recognise the pressure on infrastructure, that’s why we’ve facilitated £180m in infrastructure over the last 5 years and continue to do so. The Local Plan identifies projects for a new leisure centre, new schools and community facilities over next 15 years.

Teignbridge receives funding from Government and developers for building new homes.  That money is used to help pay for infrastructure and services for local communities but it’s not enough on its own. It is not the reason new development needs to be planned for.

A proposed road connection will link the A380 South Devon Highway with the A381 Totnes Road.  We are listening to concerns from residents and Councillors about the road.   We continue to work positively with partners including Homes England for the timely provision of this new street which will connect people living and working there.

6. Perpetual housing myths – or fake news!

We – and many other authorities – are often accused of buying up homes to give to people from Birmingham, Manchester or other large cities or towns. Teignbridge does not hold housing stock and does not buy and sell homes so this is a perpetual myth! There is no truth in the rumour.

National migration statistics from June 2018 show that in 2016/17 a total of 8,097 people moved into Teignbridge. Of these, over 80% moved from elsewhere in Devon (48%) and the rest of the South West (33%). Over 1,200 (15%) of these moves were made from just across the border in Torbay (ONS 2018). 6,359 people also moved out of Teignbridge in 2016/17, resulting in a net migration of 1,738 people.

It may be the case that people want to live and work in Devon – and why not? It’s a beautiful place.

Teignbridge surveys the occupiers of newly built homes every year. The results show the majority of new homes are occupied by local people:

• Over the past 5 years, Teignbridge’s rate of housing development has doubled but the proportion of new homes sold to people from the TQ and EX postcodes has remained constant at around 75%.
• In the case of new affordable housing, more than 95 per cent of homes are occupied by people from Devon.

This shows that there is a real local need for the homes that are being built and that’s why the land at Wolborough was allocated for development following extensive public consultation on the Local Plan and examination by an independent inspector.

When this content has been updated

Last updated 7 July 2021