IF you don’t like the decisions that the council makes on planning matters, now is your chance to change things, says East Devon District Council as it starts work on a new Local Plan.
While nearly 20,000 people have registered to comment on planning proposals through the council’s website, less than ten per cent of them have opted to receive information on matters such as the new Local Plan, which will decide what and where we allow new developments in East Devon for the next 20 years.
So far, only one person under the age of 26 has shared their views on the new Local Plan, and the council is urging all groups in the community to tell them what they need and want from future developments.
More than 60 per cent of respondents who have so far responded think that the council should identify sites for wind and solar farms, while in terms of new job creation, people have said they want to see more support for entrepreneurs and encouragement for big firms to invest in East Devon.
Residents have also shown support for infilling existing housing areas rather than making completely new developments, with the next most supported option is for small scale, under 50 homes, developments on the edges of existing towns and then building new villages.
Cllr Dan Ledger, East Devon District Council’s portfolio holder for strategic development, said: “You may be asking yourself why we need a new Local Plan when we already have one. But the current Local Plan is now five years old and we are required by the government to review the plan every five years and to keep it up to date.
“If we don’t have an up to date plan showing where we want to see development built then government policy means that we may have to accept development in locations where it is not wanted or appropriate in order to meet their housing targets.
“We need to produce a new Local Plan so that we retain control over the future of East Devon and ensure that the needs of the district for new homes, jobs, communities and green spaces are met by building in the right places.
“Now is your chance: Tell us what you want for yourself, your children and your grandchildren in the new East Devon.”
A council spokesman added: “We want to know your ideas and what you think would be good for your town centres, local businesses and whether you like the idea of wind and solar farms, as well as much more.
“What do you think of new homes and how can they be improved? Do you want to see more affordable housing? Do you want to see more office space for small businesses?
“Where do you want new homes to be built? Do you want us to expand existing towns or do you think another new town like Cranbrook is a good idea, if so where would you put it?
“These are just some of the topics we want your views on before our consultation closes on March 15.”
You can find the Local Plan consultation online at www.eastdevon.gov.uk/newlocalplan