Agenda item

New Community Options Appraisal


The Committee considered the Assistant Director – Planning Strategy and Development Management’s report that sought a preferred approach for a further new community which Members agreed in principle at the meeting on 1 November 2022 and considered three options in the consultation which ran from December to January 2023.


The Assistant Director – Planning Strategy and Development Management gave a short presentation to the Committee that provided a history of why a new community was needed and an overview of the three options.


East Devon’s key constraints:

·       Just under 60% of the district was in Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty

·       Honiton, Sidmouth, Budleigh Salterton, Exmouth, Seaton, Colyton and Axminster are constrained by AONBs which prevent major development coming forward

·       Coastal Preservation Areas

·       Clyst Valley Regional Park

·       Green Wedges

·       Flood Zones 2 & 3

·       European Protected Habitats (Exe Estuary and East Devon Pebblebed Heaths)



·       To deliver a more sustainable and low carbon development

·       Opportunities on the edge of Exeter to build on growth

·       Delivery at scale makes delivery of new infrastructure easier

·       Access to road network

·       Scope for innovative delivery models to achieve a higher quality place


Following two call for sites in 2017 and 2021 landowners and developers had come forward with potential land for development.  All land options were assessed by consultations on their suitability and viability and as a result the following three options had been identified:


Option 1 – Land to the north of A3052 up to the A30 (east of WestPoint and north of Hill Barton Business Park

Option 2 – Similar areas to option 1 but extends south to the east of Crealy to Greendale Business Park

Option 3 – South of the A3052 and east of the A376 at Clyst St George



·       Climate resilience, future proofing and net zero carbon

·       Biodiversity Net Gain contributions

·       Community ownership of land

·       Townscape, design including open space

·       Relationship to existing settlements

·       Flexible master planning

·       A truly sustainable self-sufficient settlement

·       Sustainable access, transport, utilities and infrastructure

·       Connected and integrated transport infrastructure


Members attention was drawn to the Option Appraisal Technical Assessment – Scoring Summary which detailed the scoring for the three options as follows:

·       Option 1 – total score 38.3

·       Option 2 – total score 31.7

·       Option 3 – total score 37.4


The Assistant Director – Planning Strategy and Development advised that Option 1 had the best potential as it was the close to East of Exeter for sustainable travel and had the potential delivery route from the A3052 to the A30 and mitigation for wider transport impacts.


Discussions included the following:

·       There is a government requirement to build 910 dwellings a year – this would meet the requirement and option 1 is the best viable option although this will not, please everyone.

·       Frustration was expressed about the transport infrastructure.  Buses are constantly late, and this needs to be improved across all East Devon.

·       Clarification was sought on the impact on other areas if the new community was not built.  It was advised that towns and villages would need to significantly increase their numbers for development which would have a substantial impact on some as some tough decisions were already being considered.

·       There was a suggestion for a park and ride to be provided further out of the area. 

·       There are lessons to be learnt from Cranbrook as it still does not have a town centre. The Assistant Director – Planning Strategy and Development Management confirmed that EDDC would be more engaged from the beginning and through a delivery vehicle it will be delivered fit for purpose.

·       It is essential to have a new town for the infrastructure.

·       Support was expressed for option 1.

·       Option 3 was unacceptable.

·       It was suggested that along with option 1 SWW should provide a sewage treatment works.

·       There is a need for a large industrial estate to decrease commuting.

·       It was noted that option 1 did have some higher-grade land.

·       There is a strong possibility that if option 1 was selected there would be a need to extend to option 2 in 5 years’ time.

·       Concerns raised about the scoring summary.  It was advised that Members would need to consider their own weighting of the scoring of the options appraisal technical assessment as individual opinions will differ.

·       Clarification was sought on the low climate resilience figure.

·       Delivery of a new town is a better option than increasing development in other towns.

·       It was suggested for SANGS around Farringdon to help protect it.

·       Transport into Exeter is a major issue and if option 1 is preferred then this will only increase the problem.

·       Clarification was sought on how many other authorities have built two new towns so close together.  It was advised that Cambridge was in the same position as they have 3 new towns.

·       It was suggested that the new town is an easy option and would be developer led.  We are being forced to do this because of the government housing numbers.

·       The lack of a railway line is a concern.  The Assistant Director – Planning Strategy and Development Management reassured Members that DCC Highways and Network Rail were looking at a Transport Strategy.

·       It was suggested that a site visit would be beneficial, along with a transport assessment for the full 8,000 homes instead of the 2,500.  The Assistant Director – Planning Strategy and Development Management advised that a site visit can be arranged if Members preferred but urged caution about the tight deadline.  He also advised that it is not possible to accurately model the impact of the 8,000 homes over the next years in relation to the transport assessment.

·       Clarification was sought on why Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPO) had not been considered for purchasing land.  The Assistant Director – Planning Strategy and Development advised that to purchase land by a CPO would be a time consuming and costly process and would cause many challenges.

·       There is a need to put more emphasis on moving away from travelling by car.



That Members agree to option 1 being the council’s preferred approach for a further new community and the consultant group be instructed to progress their work in master planning this option, developing a preferred delivery model and business case.

Supporting documents: