Speaking on BBC Radio Devon this morning, Cllr Diviani told reporter, Jenny Kumah (who asked whether he was determined to get the local plan in place by next May’s council and general elections) that he “hoped” EDDC would have it ready” as soon as we possibly can.”
The 11,000 houses refers to the latest housing assessment undertaken by consultants, for East Devon, Mid Devon, Exeter and Teignbridge Councils, following planning inspector, Anthony Thickett’s rejection of EDDC’s local plan.
Cllr Diviani declined to comment on whether he would try to get the local plan in place before the elections.
EDDC cannot say when the most fundamental piece of work will be finished, which is the housing assessment. Once this is complete there will probably need to be further public consultation, because the housing numbers for towns and villages are likely to change.
It is inconceivable that the local plan would be anything like approaching ready by next May. And as Jenny Kumah pointed out, if the government changes there could be more adjustments to be made.
Jenny Kumah asked whether EDDC was at risk by not having local plan in place, given the presumption in favour of development.
Cllr Diviani replied that this presumption in favour of development would enable the council to “bring forward what we need.”
This response sounded suspiciously as though Cllr Diviani was trying to suggest that a lack of a local plan in place might be a good thing for the district!
Cllr Diviani finished by saying that government changes had delayed the local plan by two years and the new figures might be wrong too. We need to include other evidence and “just have to go with the flow,” he added.
Just have to go with the flow?
So it seems that he is still “relaxed” about the local plan then.
It is my understanding that East Devon is the only council in the local area (Mid Devon, Exeter, Teignbridge and Dartmoor National Park) not to have an up-to-date adopted local plan or a five year housing supply in place.
East Devon Alliance chair, Paul Arnott, who was also interviewed, said he was “extraordinarily disappointed and very worried” by the East Devon conservative leadership’s failure to sort out the local plan.
It is completely baffling why the EDDC (which has far more to lose than the other local councils involved in the housing review ) has not imposed a strict deadline on the consultants, so that their work is completed by a particular date.
I am sure that the East Devon conservative leadership is above putting controversial matters on the backburner until after the elections for political reasons, because that would be deeply irresponsible …. but it does make you wonder.
Here’s BBC Radio Devon piece, starting at 02.06 – http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p024pn5v
See more commentary on the East Devon Alliance website here – http://eastdevonalliance.org/2014/08/26/eda-chairman-1-leader-of-east-devon-district-council-own-goal-and-a-stunning-revelation/