Agenda item

Local Plan Sites - Allocations to Delivery


Ed Freeman, Service Lead, Planning Strategy and Development Management, presented a report which followed a proposal submitted by Councillor Maddy Chapman that was considered by the Scrutiny Committee at its meeting in April 2021. The report explained how sites allocated in the adopted Local Plan have been translated from policy into planning applications focusing on the issues relating to infrastructure delivery and viability that had arisen. The report provided two examples as case studies to illustrate the issues and sought to explain how changes in government guidance should help to address the concerns raised as work on the new Local Plan progresses.  Ed Freeman advised that the case studies were included for illustrative purposes only, as it is not the role of the Scrutiny Committee to consider planning applications which had been granted planning permission.


Particular attention was drawn to the production of the last Local Plan when there was generic testing of viability across different types of development and different broad locations.  This approach had led to a national problem as when planning applications were made, more information would be available which might not be in line with previous assumptions about issues such as infrastructure delivery made at the site allocation stage.  Sites may then not be able to deliver what was expected in planning policies or by the community.


Changes had been made to national planning policy framework which brought in site specific viability testing particularly for large scale allocations.  This set a benchmark of what could be expected to be delivered, against which a planning application could then be measured.  This was a key change to Government guidance which should help to address the concerns raised as the new Local Plan work progresses.


Discussion of the report and questions from Members included the following points:

·        Regarding changes in the production of viability assessments, this had been shaped by case law, and the emphasis is on EDDC to obtain the necessary information at the site allocation stage.

·        Viability assessments had always been required for the Local Plan process and EDDC would use a mix of staff and external consultants for this work.

·        It was noted that issues such as the economic or employment circumstances could change following the allocation of sites in the Local Plan, and that EDDC had no control over such changes.

·        Concern was raised regarding the loss of industrial / employment space in Honiton as a result of the Ottery Moor Lane planning application and development, which, it was felt, had only considered the site and not the wider issue of the town itself. 

·        Regarding the tracking, collection and distribution of S.106 and overage money, it was confirmed that the backlog which had previously been reported is reduced and the system is working well.

·        Concern was expressed regarding the public consultation for the Goodmores Farm development and specifically with delivery of infrastructure such as the school.

·        It was suggested that understanding how problems had arisen on development sites in East Devon could be used to inform work on the new Local Plan.

·        It was noted that there is always a requirement to balance infrastructure priorities when considering planning applications.

·        Going forward, there is a need to have more detailed regard to the topography of a development site in order to understand the cost implications of this for the viability of delivery.

·        Progress with regard to the levelling up fund was noted.


The Deputy Monitoring Officer advised that the Monitoring Officer, Henry Gordon Lennox, had previously commented on whether it was possible to look at the matter of the Goodmores Farm planning application and the consultation process.  The Deputy Monitoring Officer advised that the Scrutiny Committee asks the Monitoring Officer to comment on what he thinks is appropriate for the Scrutiny Committee to consider, before a decision is made as to whether any further reports should be brought back to the Committee.


The Committee then considered the concerns raised regarding the development of the Ottery Moor Lane site in Honiton and the loss of industrial / employment land and its implications for the economic development of the town as a whole.


Ed Freeman advised that this issue was looked at as part of the Local Plan process when all options for Honiton had been considered using a holistic approach.




That the Monitoring Officer be asked to further advise on the ability of the Scrutiny Committee to further consider the Goodmores Farm planning application as a specific case, and the consultation process which surrounded it.




That a more precise and holistic economic evaluation is carried out in relation to proposed major development sites as part of the new Local Plan process.



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