Backing given by Exeter to consult on major development blueprint for the region

Exeter City Council has become the first of the four councils in the Greater Exeter area to back putting out to consultation a blueprint for development in the region.

The Greater Exeter Strategic Plan will provide the overall spatial strategy and level of housing and employment land required across Exeter, East Devon, Mid Devon and Teignbridge in the period to 2040.

A minimum target of 2,663 homes per year, or 53,260 homes over the 20 year period of the plan, is required to be built, with the overall need for development sites equating to 63,912 homes.

Tuesday night’s executive meeting saw councillors unanimously back putting the GESP Draft Policies and Site Options consultation document out for public consultation later this year.

As well as outlining policies for how development should take place, it includes 39 sites where major housing or employment land could be allocated, although not all of the sites will be taken forward to the final version of the GESP.

Greater Exeter Strategic Plan 2020-40 document
Greater Exeter Strategic Plan 2020-40 document

Cllr Phil Bialyk, leader of the Exeter City Council, said that there was a need for homes in Exeter for the people of Exeter, but that just because they have approved the consultation, it doesn’t mean they have approved the sites chosen.

He said: “We are making our decision and whatever decisions they (other councils) make, we will have to deal with the consequences. We need homes in Exeter for people in Exeter, but we want to do in a responsible and sound way, and we would much rather work in a joined up fashion. We are committed to the process, and just because we have approved the consultation, it does not mean we have not approved all those sites. We have just not done that.”

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Councillors said that they had received correspondence already over some of the sites allocated but said that this was not the time to debate them but that was what the consultation process would be about.

The Greater Exeter Strategic Plan area
The Greater Exeter Strategic Plan area

Teignbridge’s Executive will consider the proposals and decide on 21 July followed by East Devon on 23 July and Mid-Devon on 6 August.

Subject to approval by East Devon, Mid Devon and Teignbridge councils, the eight week consultation will take place between September 21 and November 16, with the responses feeding into a recommendations over which sites to take forward.

The executive also recommended to full council that the GESP team is brought up to eight full time equivalent members of staff and that local planning authority staff resources are provided equitably to the team through equalisation arrangements, and that subject to future confirmation of the additional GESP staff roles that will be required, for Exeter City Council this is likely to equate to a total contribution of approximately £62,000 per annum towards staffing costs.

Devon Live