EMPLOYMENT land remains the ‘loose end that needs tying up’ in a blueprint for the future of Sidmouth until 2026.

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East Devon District Council (EDDC) is preparing for the next stage its long-running Local Plan process.

EDDC members are set to discuss views received during a six-week consultation that ended on January 31.

Residents have also called for more school places, health facilities and homes for local young people. Planning experts have been analysing feedback and will take any fresh points to a meeting of the Local Plan panel when it re-convenes on Tuesday.

Five hectares of employment land and 150 new homes for Sidmouth were suggested in the plan that went out for consultation.

A report to Local Plan panel members reveals: “There was some concern that too much employment land was proposed and that existing land at Alexandria Road should be optimised.”

A call for more school places and health facilities was also highlighted and a consensus that the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty should be protected.

The report adds: “There was some support for affordable houses, but a greater feeling that too many houses were proposed. More uses should be made for affordable homes and new houses should be for young local people.”

It also reveals that Sidmouth Chamber of Commerce has branded employment land allocation methodology as “unsound” and has called for the proposal of five hectares to be abandoned. A final version of the draft Local Plan will be discussed on March 20.

The document will then go to EDDC’s Development Management Committee and full council for endorsement before its submission to Government in June.

An EDDC spokesperson told the Herald: “At Sidmouth the only major loose end that needs tying up is the allocation of employment land that needs to be allocated to ensure local people have the option of local jobs, whilst enabling affordable homes to be built for young families.”

As many as 17,000 new homes have been proposed for East Devon.

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