A plan that could mean thousands of new homes and a sports stadium near you

PUBLISHED: 15:31 01 February 2019 | UPDATED: 16:11 04 February 2019

The Greater Exeter Strategic Plan area. Picture: LDRS

The Greater Exeter Strategic Plan area. Picture: LDRS

Archant

A master plan which will affect where you live, work, shop, enjoy leisure and travel for next two decades is in the pipelines.

The Greater Exeter Strategic Plan (GESP) is the major strategic blueprint for the area around Exeter.

Mid Devon, East Devon, Teignbridge and Exeter City Council will all be working in partnership with Devon County Council, teaming up to create the GESP.

It will only look at where housing developments larger than 500 homes could go, with the aim of building 57,000 new properties cross the four council areas.

Across the Greater Exeter Area, 2,661 new homes a year will need to be built, with 885 in East Devon, 777 in Teignbridge, 636 in Exeter and 363 in Mid Devon.

There are also ideas to include where an indoor sports stadium and concert arena with a capacity for 20,000 people could be built - Click New sports stadium and concert arena for 20,000 people could be coming to Devon to read more.

It will look at transport with aims to increase the number of trains running and build high-quality cycle routes between Exeter and key towns.

Another big focus will be infrastructure - possibly including new primary and secondary schools, improvements to the A30/A303, new park-and-ride sites and healthcare facilities.

GESP will be a formal statutory document will provide the overall strategy for housing levels, job creation and employment land to be provided.

Here is everything you need to know about it:

Where is the Greater Exeter area?

Greater Exeter is the area covered by East Devon, Exeter, Mid Devon and Teignbridge District councils (excluding Dartmoor National Park).

What is the Greater Exeter Strategic Plan trying to achieve?

By working together across local authority boundaries we are seeking to develop a plan which responds to how people live in the area.

The purpose of preparing the Greater Exeter Strategic Plan is to:

• Have a joined-up vision and aspirations for the area.

• Meet the area’s housing needs in the right locations.

• Secure economic growth and increased prosperity.

• Provide transport and infrastructure improvements needed to support sustainable growth.

• Conserve and enhance the area’s environment.

What is the Greater Exeter Strategic Plan for?

The Greater Exeter Strategic Plan will be a new formal statutory document, providing the overall spatial strategy and level of housing and employment land to be provided in the period to 2040.

When adopted, it will sit above Local Plans for each area which will continue to be prepared to consider local level issues.

Neighbourhood Plans will also be promoted so communities can continue to be empowered to make the detailed planning decisions for the benefit of their area.

So who is involved?

Writing a planning document is an inclusive process. It will need the involvement of the general public, statutory organisations including councils, infrastructure providers and government bodies or otherwise appropriate, groups representing place or interest groups, local businesses, voluntary and other organisations and developers and landowners.

So when is all this happening?

The first stage happened between February and April 2017 when a consultation took place.

Comments on the scope and content of the plan and key issues facing the area were invited and are being taken into account. A fuller response in a revised report will be published alongside the draft Greater Exeter Strategic Plan.

What happened next?

A consultation on the vision to decide specific issues, with the aim to prepare a draft plan for consultation in the summer of 2019 was due to take place last October.

But East Devon Strategic Planning Committee unanimously rejected the current document, saying it was ‘simply not fit for purpose’.

The Greater Exeter Strategic Plan consultation document, titled ‘Our New Vision and How We Make It Real’ includes the new vision for the area, explains what the Government has said the housing need is, with a target of 57,000 new homes to be built across the four council areas by 2020. It asks what the most important infrastructure projects are that they need to invest in and includes the main points for a transport strategy for the area.

But East Devon councillors felt it lacked any kind of detail and was ‘just a PR document’.

Where are we now?

The original timetable for the GESP and Teignbridge Local Plan Review sought to adopt both plans by June 2020 and July 2021 respectively, but the plan has been delayed.

Each of the four councils are now being asked to approve the revised timetable for the GESP.

If approved, the timetable will come into force on February 14.

East Devon’s Strategic Planning Committee have already approved the new timetable.

The timetable is:
• June 2019 – Draft policies and site Options. This will include draft policies, potential development locations and supporting information and the public will be invited to comment on the contents of the draft GESP.
• November, 2019 – Full draft plan – it will be revised in light of the responses from stage two and further evidence gathering.
• February, 2021 – Proposed submission.
• July, 2021 – Submit plan.
• September, 2021 – Examine plan.
• April, 2022 – Adopt plan.

What happens to the existing Local Plans?

If approved, then the Greater Exeter Strategic Plan would supersede and sit above the existing Local Plans, but they would not be scrapped.

The GESP would be looking at larger scale strategic sites, while the Local Plan will provide policy to implement the strategy set out in the GESP.

There will be many detailed policy considerations, and some topic matters, that GESP will not address, and it is not intended to do so.

What size of land will the GESP look at?

The GESP will be looking at sites where an allocation of 500 houses upwards can be delivered (100 homes in Exeter).

Allocations smaller than this will be looked at in the Local Plans that are being reviewed at the same time.

A call for sites for the Greater Exeter area ran from February 27 to April 10, 2017.

This call for sites provided an opportunity for agents, developers and landowners to promote land for housing or economic development within the Greater Exeter area through the planning process.

Over 700 submissions were received and are being assessed.

Why do we need to build more houses?

Partly, because the Government says so, but partly, because there is a demand for more housing that needs to be met.

Across the Greater Exeter Area, 2,661 new homes a year will need to be built, with 885 in East Devon, 777 in Teignbridge, 636 in Exeter and 363 in Mid Devon.

The draft GESP will be published in the summer of 2019 and will include the strategic site allocations and district figures.

What may the GESP include?

The consultation document was due to outline new vision for the area, explains what the Government has said the housing need is, and ask people what the most important infrastructure projects they need to invest in are and includes the main points for a transport strategy for the area.

What happens next?

Subject to Teignbridge, Mid Devon and Exeter councils agreeing to the timetable, a draft plan will be published in the summer and there will be a series of public consultation events on the plan.

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