Venue: Council Chamber, Blackdown House, Honiton
Contact: Wendy Harris 01395 517542; email firstname.lastname@example.org
Information on public speaking is available online
Councillor Geoff Jung spoke on the East Devon local plan update report in his capacity as Portfolio Holder for Coast, Country and Environment. Members were asked to consider a further recommendation referring to the second bullet point from paragraph 3.8 that read ‘to present a case that there are such fundamental constraints in a local planning authority area that the required numbers cannot be acceptably accommodated’.
The reasons for the further recommendation would take into consideration the following:
· It has been shown that this council had increased its housing stock by over 13% in the previous 10 years whilst the national average was only 6%.
· East Devon is a coastal area where infrastructure is more costly. Inland communities are connected by their neighbouring communities with interconnecting roads, rail and utilities. However, coastal communities only have half a circle of influence as the other half of the influence is the sea.
· 75% of East Devon has designated areas including large areas of Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the Exe Estuary.
The minutes of the Strategic Planning Committee held on 7 March 2023 were confirmed as a true record.
Declarations of interest
Guidance is available online to Councillors and co-opted members on making declarations of interest
Minute 6. East Devon local plan update report.
Councillor Olly Davey, Other Registerable Interest, Exmouth Town Councillor.
Matters of urgency
Information on matters of urgency is available online
There were no matters of urgency.
To agree any items to be dealt with after the public (including the Press) have been excluded. Thereare no itemswhich officersrecommendshould be dealtwithin thisway.
There were no confidential/exempt items.
This report seeks to give a gentle reminder to the past, ongoing and future work on producing the new local plan.
The Assistant Director – Planning Strategy and Development Management presented an update report on the East Devon local plan that provided Members with an overview of the work that had been done to date on the local plan and an explanation to why the standard methodology for housing numbers figure had changed since the committee had last met.
Members were advised that the draft local plan was currently at the Regulation 18 stage in which the council needed to prepare its strategy and approach following the public consultation earlier this year. Members noted that a further detailed report on the issues raised during that consultation would be brought to Committee in July for further consideration.
The Assistant Director – Planning Strategy and Development Management also addressed the housing numbers confirming that the present standard methodology housing number figure for East Devon now stood at 910 homes per year compared to 946 homes per year as previously advised. This was a consequence of an update to the affordability ratio between house prices and household income. Members were warned that there was a high possibility that these figures could change due to further updates in the future and potential changes to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and to the Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill.
In relation to these potential changes Members’ attention was drawn to the current local plan making timetable detailed in paragraph 6.1 of the report where Members were advised that these dates were no longer achievable and that an updated timetable would be brought to committee in July or August 2023.
Questions raised by Members included:
· Clarification was sought on the proposed NPPF changes. Members were guided to a useful summary detailed in the 14 February 2023 agenda.
· There was a need for the Council to change its attitude when considering its housing stock to ensure that all houses built over the next 10 years address housing need and climate change. In response the Assistant Director – Planning Strategy and Development Management advised that the council was bound to current government planning guidance and legislation in terms of its planning process and that suitable land was needed first before housing stock and this depended on landowners bringing forward land for development. The Assistant Director – Planning Strategy and Development Management referred to Councillor Jung’s statement and advised Members that although East Devon was heavily constrained the Inspector, when examining the local plan, would not be likely to consider this as sufficient justification for not meeting our housing need.
· Several members expressed a view that they did not want to accept the Government’s Standard Methodology figure and that the council should take a stand and say no.
· Reference was made to the significant number of houses being developed in Cranbrook and a question was raised about how that would fit in with the five year land supply figure. The Assistant Director – Planning Strategy and Development Management advised that housing numbers can only be counted if they had either been ... view the full minutes text for item 6.
This report advises that the Government has consulted on two sets of proposals about short-term let guest accommodation.
The Committee considered the Assistant Director – Planning Strategy and Development Management’s report outlining the proposed response detailed in appendix A to the Government consultations on short-term lets which if imposed would impact on East Devon District Council by the following planning issues:
· potential new policies on short-term lets;
· changes to the Use Class Order and to permitted development;
· impacts to access and affordability of housing;
· impacts on tourist accommodation;
· Implications for delivering corporate plan objectives on housing, economy and communities.
The proposed changes would relate to:
· the introduction of a new Use Class (C5) for short-term let accommodation without the requirement for planning permission;
· new Permitted Development Rights to change a C3 Use Class (residential accommodation) to a C5 Use Class;
· flexibility for homeowners to let out their home for a number of nights per year (consultation on 30, 60 or 90 nights per year).
Questions and concerns raised by Members included:
· Clarification was sought on the impact on the hospitality sector. Members were advised that the consultation came about from concerns raised about the housing stock and was not related to potential competition.
· A concern was raised that if implemented this could be expensive and a lot of work for the council to adopt. In response the Assistant Director – Planning Strategy and Development Management confirmed there would have resource implications and a burden on the council. It was advised that the suggested alternative planning approach to make the permitted change from C3 to C5 subject to a prior approval process would be better. This would still not be ideal but would at least generate an income for the council to help cover the administrative cost of dealing with the issue and negate the need for an article 4 direction.
That the assessment and the detailed responses to the Government consultations on short-term lets that are set out in the report be noted.