Town could get greater say on planning


- Credit: Archant

Budleigh could take control of its own destiny when it comes to housing development, after civic leaders agreed to investigate a Neighbourhood Plan for the town.

Neighbourhood Plans give communities a say in where developments in their area should go, but must conform with assessments of housing need by East Devon District Council.

Budleigh Salterton Town Council has now been approached with the idea by the Otter Valley Association (OVA), which said it was “concerned” a plan did not seem to be in the pipeline.

OVA chairman Roger Saunders told the council: “Thirty-one towns and villages in East Devon have initiated the Neighbourhood Plan process.

“Although Neighbourhood Plans are subservient to the East Devon Local Plan, they do allow localities to establish some control over planning and development.

“The OVA would be very happy to help with the development of a Neighbourhood Plan. We hope that the town council will now consider the development of a Neighbourhood Plan, as this would be an opportunity to set a clear vision for the town’s built environment.”

Town councillors expressed support for the OVA taking steps to pursue the idea.

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Town and district councillor Steve Hall said: “I am warming to the idea that, despite the cost, this is something we should seriously consider.

“We have spoken before, perhaps scaringly, that it could cost £30,000. I don’t actually think it would be that much.”

Deputy mayor Chris Kitson said: “I would like to propose we say to the Otter Valley Association we would like them to start this off.”

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Saunders said: “We are going to come up with an outline of what has to be done, but it’s a long process.

“It wouldn’t be appropriate for the OVA to do a detailed plan on our own, so we will seek help, and talk to Cllr Kitson, who is liaising with the town council, about what the next steps will be.

“It shouldn’t just be the OVA deciding what Budleigh looks like. It should be the whole town.”