Roger Tym and Partners, who were the consultants drafted in by EDDC to check the facts and figures over the highly contentious Local Development Framework planning strategy, have told the council it does not need more than 10,800 houses between 2011 and 2031.  This figure, translated into the plan period – 2006-2026 is 9,792 houses.  The consultants warn that if more houses are built than recommended, there is a danger that there will not be enough jobs to go around. 

But in a controversial move, EDDC has agreed to build 4,500 houses within its boundary for Exeter, which must be added onto any housing allocation for the district.

In line with advice from Devon County Council, the consultants have advised EDDC to radically cut the amount of warehouse and office space for the district.  The recommendation is to more than halve the amount of this type of development to 32 hectares.*  The language is quite strong with the word ‘excessive’ being used frequently. 

They advise that the danger is that over-providing for this in the plan, will reduce the potential number of jobs.  Not increase them.  Jobs are not necessarily linked to allocations of this land and the recession will mean more empty units in any case.  Over-provision will saturate the market.

Roger Tym reveals that Langage Business Park in Plymouth has been trying to attract occupiers for five years.  In that time it has not found a single business to occupy its premises.  How, it argues, will Honiton be able to sustain 15 hectares of this land, if Plymouth, with all of its connections and profile as a major city, cannot sell its space?

For the ‘west end’ – the area around Cranbrook, J29 and along the A3052, the advice is to slash 30 hectares of land from the plan.  EDDC is proposing to build 169 hectares of warehouses and offices here. 

The next LDF Panel meeting is the final one.  On Tuesday 1 November the panel will meet for the last time and vote on recommendations for the final document, prior to it being sent out for consultation on 21 November for eight weeks.  Before consultation, the Development Management Committee will also vote on whether they support it.

At today’s panel meeting I asked that Roger Tym come to next week’s meeting to present, which had a slightly lukewarm reception.  Given that this report was billed as the backbone of the work we are doing I consider that a presentation from them is absolutely essential.  There are many questions to ask.

All eyes on the recommendations for panel for Tuesday 1 November. 

Members of the public are welcome to come and listen or make representations.  This meeting – as it is the last one – will start at 9am and finish around 3pm.

*One hectare is equivalent to around two and a half acres.