Agenda item

East Devon Local Plan - Timetable and Local Development Scheme


The Committee considered the proposed timetable detailing the key stages of work which included a series of reports that would be made available for public comment under the Regulation 18 stage in respect of matters including Green Wedges and additional employment sites.


Members noted that the timeline leading to the adoption of the local plan was extremely tight and the Assistant Director – Planning Strategy and Development Management advised Members to be mindful for the possibility of additional meetings to help keep on track with the timeline.


It was emphasised to Members that a significant key risk that could hinder keeping to the timetable was the current staff resourcing issue and despite advertising the team currently had a vacant Planning Officer post.  To overcome this issue the team were considering exploring the option of sending work out to consultants to assist and a further report would be brought to Committee to address any budget implications.


Comments received included:

·         It was suggested that the committee could link up the redrafted chapters together to help speed things along.

·         A concern was raised about the staffing issue and the possibility of costly consultant fees and the need to address the issue long term.  In response the Assistant Director – Planning Strategy and Development Management advised that there was no immediate solution as although the council had undergone a pay review there was still high competition between the public and private sector.  Long terms solutions could involve exploring further apprenticeships within the team but this would not help in the short term.

·         It was suggested for the timetable to be made a standard agenda item and to be brought back to Committee every other meeting to update Members.

·         Clarification was sought on what the implications would be if Members failed to meet the June 2025 deadline.  It was advised that the evidence gathered would be carried over to the new local plan system and that the proposed substantial changes to the new local plan are designed to make it quicker and easier to complete. However any new system comes with uncertainty and it was still desirable to proceed under the current system as quickly as possible.

·         Reference was made to the series of reports and whether Built up Area Boundaries would be added to the list of subject matters and whether settlement boundaries would be revisited.

·         It was questioned whether discussing two or three chapters per meeting would be feasible.

·         A concern was raised that Planning Committee Members are being asked to approve applications without answers to the lack of jobs and infrastructure.  The Assistant Director – Planning Strategy and Development Management reminded members of the lack of a five-year housing land supply and the need to apply the tilted balance.



1.    That the timetable and approach to local plan making work set out in the committee report be endorsed.

2.      That the proposed new Local Development Scheme, appended to this report, be endorsed and that it be recommended to Council for adoption.

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