‘Impossibly high number’ of new homes for East Devon scrapped after government U-turn

The Government has announced a U-turn decision on the number of new homes that must be built annually in East Devon.

Proposals to build 1,614 houses in the district each year have been cut by almost 700 after The Government announced its decision to shelve original plans.

East Devon District Council (EDDC) today (January 4) welcomed the changes, which will see an annual reduction of 686 new builds – a 42.5 per cent decrease.

The district council had raised concerns with The Government over the proposed numbers – similar to other authorities – with councillors saying the proposals ‘lacked any rhyme or reason’ and would have been ‘impossible’ to achieve without putting pressure on East Devon’s protected landscapes and habitats.

The council also raised fears of the ‘immense pressure’ original numbers would put on services and infrastructure such as schools, hospitals and roads to accommodate the increase in population.

In a report to the council’s strategic planning committee meeting, on 16 September 2020, councillors declared ‘no logic’ to The Government’s proposed approach other than to deliver the 300,000 homes nationally per year and reach targets.

Councillor Dan Ledger, EDDC portfolio holder for strategic planning, said: “This is great news and I am massively relieved that we do not now need to plan for an impossibly high number of new homes in the district for no good reason.

“Instead, we can focus on delivering a new Local Plan which delivers an appropriate balance between protecting everything that makes East Devon so special while delivering the new homes and jobs that our communities need.”

Last August The Government consulted councils across the country on the changes to the way it calculated the number of new homes that must be built.

The Government has now published a response to the findings, taking EDDC’s comments on board, along with that of other local authorities.

Consultation results included deciding to scrap the proposed changes and keeping unchanged the way Westminster calculates the number of homes that must be built in each area.

In a bid to deliver more homes, numbers are to increase by 35 per cent on previously-developed or brownfield land

As a result of The Government’s findings, more home will be built in Plymouth and Bristol.

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