Planning Inspectorate gives thumbs up to Mid Devon’s Local Plan

Mid Devon’s Local Plan, which includes the development of Junction 27, has been given the thumbs up by the Planning Inspectorate.

Mid Devon District Council received a report from the Planning Inspectorate, confirming that the Mid Devon Local Plan Review 2013 – 2033 provides an appropriate base for the planning of the district and with a number of main modifications (MMs), is sound and capable of adoption.

The MMs all concern matters that were discussed at the examination hearings and which were subject to public consultation over six weeks, together with an updated Sustainability Appraisal (SA), Habitat Regulations Assessment (HRA), and Equalities Impact Assessment. The Inspector has amended the detailed wording of the MM and made consequential modifications where necessary in relation to the provisions for Gypsies and Travellers, and Junction 27.

The current Local Plan allocation includes a site of approximately 71 hectares adjoining the southbound carriageway of the M5 motorway adjacent to junction 27 and is identified for major development.

The allocation makes provision for an agronomy visitor centre, 1,000 square metres of ancillary retail, an outdoor adventure zone including a surf lake, lagoon, beach, high ropes adventure area, and an outlet shopping village.

Sir Tim Smit, the man behind the Eden Project as well as promoter Malcolm Dudley Williams, have backed plans to create a £200million surf lake and a ‘mini’ Eden Project. It is a partnership project by the Eden Project and investors Friends Life, part of the Aviva Group.

The Eden Ark will be at the centre of the scheme that will be split into four zones and will include a hotel, a visitor hub, an artificial surfing lake, a food hall, outdoor play areas, cafes and restaurants, shops for small businesses and a designer clothes outlet discount shopping centre.

The surf lagoon will be at the heart of the outdoor adventure zone, similar to Surf Snowdonia, Wales.

The Inspector’s Report and adoption of the Plan and SA (with the Strategic Environmental Assessment), will be considered by the Council at a meeting to be held in the near future. Further information about this will be provided as soon as it becomes available.

Councillor Graeme Barnell, cabinet member for planning and economic regeneration said: “Receipt of the Inspector’s report and his positive conclusions is excellent news for Mid Devon.

“It marks a major milestone in the planning and examination process, in which many people have participated or contributed their views. We’re delighted that the Inspector has confirmed that, with the addition of the stated main modifications, the Local Plan is sound and we can now proceed to adopt it.

“Having a sound plan will help us move forward to achieve our ambitions for sustainable development, rebuild and strengthen our economy, secure the jobs, homes and infrastructure we need and improve the vitality of our towns and villages. Last but not least, we need to protect those places across the district that we cherish most.”

Devon Live