• Hundreds of industrial units stand empty across East Devon

    3rd August 2011 | News | Claire
  • The panel met to debate future strategic development in the district, including numbers of houses and land to be used for industrial or commercial premises.

    Over 400 units are currently sitting empty and almost 300 of those have been empty for over a year.  It is vital that we (EDDC Local Development Framework) take this information into account when assessing the amount of land for industry or commercial purposes.

    Some of the units – which are huge – have never even been occupied.

    The information comes from EDDC’s list of taxed properties, which receive a discount when they become empty. 

    Proposals for industrial land in the Local Development Framework are frankly off the wall.  One directive extends Heathpark Industrial Estate at Honiton by half a mile towards Ottery St Mary and this is a small part of the overall plan!

    East Devon also has a higher than average proportion of warehouses than nationally.  According to P34 of 2 August LDF Panel agenda papers, 20 per cent of East Devon’s commercial land is taken up with warehousing, compared with 16 per cent nationally.

    These statistics date back to 2009.  There have been many more applications approved for industrial use since then, including alongside the A3052 and a massive retail distribution centre, which will be built near Cranbrook.

    Of course some development will be necessary for economic reasons, but on a far more modest scale. 

    Even halving the current outrageous LDF proposals would still mean around 140 football pitches of countryside could be converted into concrete, tarmac and steel.

    It is obvious we need to think really carefully about how we want East Devon to look over the next 20 years.  Poorly planned development that is out of keeping with East Devon’s rural nature could have a negative impact on our primary industry – tourism.  There is no economic sense in putting this at risk.