People are being invited to share their views about the future of the Greater Exeter area and the key issues that need to be addressed. The comments received will help to inform a new joint plan that will identify the housing, jobs and infrastructure needs across the four districts in years to come.
To help bring forward a better future for the wider area East Devon, Exeter City, Mid Devon and Teignbridge councils, in partnership with Devon County Council, have teamed up to write the joint Greater Exeter Strategic Plan (GESP), which looks forward to 2040.
A consultation is being held between 27 February and 10 April. The councils want to hear from residents, developers, landowners and other interested organisations about the main issues facing the area, with responses forming part of the first phase of the plan preparation process.
Four exhibitions are being held so people can find out more about the plan:
• Wednesday 8 March: 2pm – 8pm. Mackarness Hall, High Street, Honiton
• Wednesday 15 March: 2pm – 8pm. Mid Devon District Council Office, Phoenix House, Phoenix Lane, Tiverton
• Thursday 16 March: 2pm – 8pm. The Guildhall, High Street, Exeter
• Thursday 23 March: 2pm – 8pm. Old Forde House, Brunel Road, Newton Abbot
People can also visit the website for more information and to respond: https://www.gesp.org.uk/
Across the area there is a need to ensure that enough housing is provided for the future, and that it is the right type in the right places and at prices that suit people’s budgets.
For communities to thrive, jobs and infrastructure are needed but it’s also recognised that the area has special environmental qualities that need protecting and enhancing so it remains a great place to live, work and visit.
This document, which will sit above District level Local Plans and community Neighbourhood Plans, will take a long term strategic view, looking far enough ahead to ensure that important decisions about development and investment are coordinated.
Its purpose is to establish an aspirational and joined-up vision for the area to:
• 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
• Safeguard and enhance the environmental assets of the area
There is also a ‘call for sites’ process running alongside the consultation which provides the opportunity for individuals or organisations to put forward suggestions for sites that may have potential for development in the future. An online form to provide details of potential sites is available at https://www.gesp.org.uk/call-for-si…
Cllr Jeremy Christophers, Leader of Teignbridge, said: “The creation of a strategic plan across a wider geography responds to how people actually live their lives. Combining housing options with job opportunities and providing the proper transport will support our ambition for local people to live the lives they wish for. As councils, we need to work together to deliver better results for the future – clearly, this is the way forward.”
Cllr Paul Diviani, Leader of East Devon, said: “It has been clear for some time that there was a significant gap left with the demise of the Devon Structure Plan and without wishing to re-invent the wheel, we should be establishing a strategic plan for our Greater Exeter area which has input from Exeter, Mid Devon, Teignbridge and ourselves, alongside the County Council. We are the epi-centre of the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership and we need to ensure we have a central, aligned, significant role to play as we take our well-established partnership forward.”
Cllr Pete Edwards, Leader of Exeter City said: “Every weekday 37,000 people commute into Exeter and 11,000 people head out of Exeter. These volumes are second only to Cambridge and it is imperative that we address housing, transport and infrastructure in a joined-up way to respond to this reality.”
Cllr Clive Eginton, Leader of Mid Devon, said: “This is an excellent opportunity to reflect on how our residents and businesses live their lives across council administrative boundaries and to start embedding our shared aspiration for a successful future in plans for the Greater Exeter area.”
Cllr John Hart, Leader of Devon County Council, said: “The emerging relationship between the four local authorities in preparing a single Strategic Plan for the area is a very positive step and will help the planning system to work efficiently to boost the supply of housing and growth required. We are pleased and well-placed to be part of this collaborative way of working, which will improve and streamline our planning system.”
The District and City councils already have their own Local Plans and have been working together on planning issues for many years alongside the County Council. There is now much more expectation from the government that councils will work across their boundaries to deal comprehensively with development needs.