Exmouth landowners respond to EDDC over building plots

EXMOUTH-based land with a combined size equivalent to 226 football pitches has been earmarked for potential development as part of a housing database launched by East Devon District Council.

More than 180 hectares of land in and around the town has been recorded as ‘deliverable’ and ‘developable’ by the local authority, enough to develop thousands of new homes, under its Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment.

The evaluation shows areas which landowners would be happy to see developed.

The database highlights around 500 sites in East Devon – of which hundreds of plots are identified in Exmouth and its neighbouring areas.

They include land on Marley Road, Spiders Lane, Hayley Close, Partridge Road, Pankhurst Close and Douglas Avenue – to cite a few.

Concerned campaigners have clashed with the council over its assessment, fearing sites would be developed without consultation.

But, councillor Graham Brown, EDDC’s deputy leader, and the man responsible for the district’s environment, said building proposals would always be subject to several checks and balances before any decisions were made.

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He said: “It is patently untrue that this council has already set aside hundreds of acres of potential building land without consulting the public.

“What we have done – as part of a task imposed by the last Government and endorsed by the new coalition – is conduct a survey of land-owners to see who owns land that might one day be the subject of a planning application.

“We’ve cross-checked this with agencies responsible for highways, the environment and other aspects of planning before creating a database of possible sites for further discussion.

“If you look at six different designs of wallpaper before decorating your home, it doesn’t mean you’re going to use all six. You end up using the one that’s most suitable and affordable.”

Cllr Brown added: “That’s called doing your research.

“This is the kind of thing any responsible council needs to do, so that it can have some clues as to where new homes might be built.

“Any building that might eventually take place will need to be in an area agreed by the council through another exercise – the Local Development Framework (LDF) – which is a task we are currently asking the public to help us with.

“Even when the general siting of new development has been agreed in principle, any specific application has to go through the normal planning process, at which time the public are free to support or oppose the plans and influence the decision.”

To view the database, visit the following website address at: http://www.eastdevon.gov.uk/planning-strategic_housing_assessments