East Devon on track to deliver surplus of new homes

PUBLISHED: 11:44 10 May 2016 | UPDATED: 11:44 10 May 2016


‘Healthy’ land supply puts region in robust position

East Devon now has a ‘healthy’ five year housing land supply, putting the region in a strong position to guard against inappropriate development.

A target of 17,100 homes to be provided over the period of 2013-2031 was set out in the newly adopted East Devon Local Plan, which provides a blueprint for future planning across the district.

This equates to 950 houses per year – a number already exceeded in the period from April 1, 2015, to March 31, 2016, when figures show a total of 1,047 net completions.

The latest Housing Monitoring Update (HMU) report presented at East Devon District Council’s development management committee meeting today (Tuesday) reveals the authority continues to demonstrate a 5.54 year supply of housing land.

Councillor Andrew Moulding, EDDC’s portfolio holder for strategic development and partnerships, said: “The fact that we have been able to demonstrate a healthy five year land supply means that our Local Plan policies can be given full weight when we are assessing planning applications.

“But it is important that we don’t become complacent, as the projected surplus could be quickly reduced if appropriate windfall sites or allocated sites are not developed.

“We must not forget that up until the adoption of the new Local Plan, East Devon was unable to demonstrate a five year land supply as the housing target within the Local Plan had not been examined in sufficient detail, and therefore could not be viewed as correct.

“Now, because we have a sound Local Plan, we can move forward with greater confidence that we will meet (and may even exceed) the 17,100 new homes target, enabling us to deliver our planned levels of development and growth.”

The figure in the HMU report takes into account a 20 per cent buffer that is required by the National Planning Policy Framework for authorities who have previously under delivered.

EDDC says a grand total of 18,391 net new dwellings are now projected to have been completed over the full plan period – well above the minimum figure for housing need.

The report shows that over the five-year period, if completions were averaged out, a surplus of 617 net new houses are projected to be built over the district as a whole.

This ‘healthy’ excess means that if certain sites were unable to deliver, there a comfortable buffer of homes to meet this deficiency.

An EDDC spokesman said: “The 5.54 years housing land supply clearly demonstrates that the council is delivering above the required amount of housing, which shows that its Local Plan policy is working.

“This puts East Devon is a strong position, enabling it to rely with certainty on housing restraint policies within the recently adopted Local Plan. Ultimately, this will help protect East Devon communities, as well as the outstanding natural and built environment, from the threat of inappropriate development outside built up area boundaries.”

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