A former government minister has accused East Devon District Council of being complicit in allowing a home-building ‘free for all’.

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Exeter MP Ben Bradshaw says that because East Devon and Teignbridge district councils have failed to agree a local plan it’s local residents who are paying the price.

Under the coalition Government’s new planning laws, local authorities are supposed to draw up local plans as frameworks for development in their areas - Exeter submitted its plan in July 2010.

But Mr Bradshaw said that there was a ‘growing and justified alarm’ about the planning ‘free for all’ taking place over the city boundary in East Devon and Teignbridge.

He highlighted Pinhoe and Alphington, where developers have put in proposals for thousands of new homes on East Devon and Teignbridge land just over the Exeter boundary.

He said: “Our city council has no power to stop these developments and, because neither East Devon nor Teignbridge yet have their local plans in place, developers are more or less free to do what they want in those areas.”

He added: “Tory run East Devon and Teignbridge have dragged their feet. They finally submitted their local plans in August and June last year respectively, but neither has yet had its plan approved by the inspector.

“So, Exeter can control the nature and size of developments within its own borders – as it did recently by turning down a controversial application at Home Farm in Pinhoe.

“But East Devon and Teignbridge have sparked what is in effect a planning free-for-all in their areas because of their failure to publish and get approved their local plans. And it’s the people of Alphington, Pinhoe and places like Feniton who are paying the price.”

He said that a more sensible way to approach their need for more housing is in a planned strategic way, like the new settlement at Cranbrook.

He added: “A cynic might say what’s happening is rather convenient for East Devon and Teignbridge.

“All this new housing gets plonked on Exeter’s doorstep. East Devon and Teignbridge get all the new council tax income, while we in Exeter get all the new pressure on our roads, schools and other infrastructure and public services.

“It also takes the pressure off councillors in East Devon and Teignbridge to take the politically difficult but necessary decisions to approve new homes in their own towns and villages.”

● See the related link, Our united vision, to read the full response from the leader of East Devon District Council, Paul Diviani.

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