Mid Devon joins EDDC committee in recommending pulling out of GESP development plan

The Greater Exeter Strategic Plan area. Picture: LDRS

The Greater Exeter Strategic Plan area. Picture: LDRS - Credit: Archant

Mid Devon’s cabinet has joined an East Devon committee in recommending withdrawing from what was due to be a major blueprint for development across the Greater Exeter region.

The Greater Exeter Strategic Plan (GESP) is set to provide the overall spatial strategy and level of housing and employment land required across Exeter, East Devon, Mid Devon and Teignbridge in the period to 2040.

But while Exeter and Teignbridge councils had recommended going out to consultation on the draft policies and site options document, East Devon District Council’s Strategic Planning Committee has proposed pulling out of GESP, with its full council to make a decision on August 20.

And going against the recommendations of officers, Mid Devon’s Cabinet voted in favour of recommending withdrawal from the GESP.

Putting forward his call to withdraw from the process, Cllr Luke Taylor said: “As we understand what our involvement will actually be, there are grave concerns.

“There could be a significant number of more houses in Mid Devon than what we are legally required to build and you only have to look at some of the sites in Exeter, many of the sites are largely unachievable – such as Marsh Barton and Sowton – and seem to be plucked out of thin air.”

He said that he ‘could not support GESP as it stands’, and recommended that cabinet agree that the GESP presents Mid Devon with an unacceptable risk of housing numbers not supported by any housing needs, and that they recommend to full council for it to withdraw from the GESP.

Most Read

Leader of the council, Cllr Bob Deed, said that the 39 sites included in the site’s option are only indicative at this point, but have obviously generated a considerable amount of interest.

He added: “I would hope the Mid Devon will not be seen as a local authority that cannot work with other authorities and any decision generally comes with advantages and disadvantages.

“As leader of this council I’m extremely keen to ensure that any decision on GESP does not have an exceptionally negative effect on the district.”

The cabinet voted by seven votes to one to recommend to full council that Mid Devon does withdraw from GESP.