(1) Newton Abbot’s status as a Garden Community be confirmed;
(2) Teignbridge District Council support for the Exeter and East Devon Garden Communities status be confirmed; and
(3) Receipt of associated ‘capacity funding’ from Government be agreed.
Prior notification - Member questions and responses attached to minutes.
The Portfolio Holder for Planning presented the report to confirm support for Garden Community status and for associated capacity funding to be used in planning high quality new neighbourhoods. This capacity funding would help to take forward a plan for the future growth of Newton Abbot and the support and involvement in the Exeter and East Devon Garden Communities would ensure that the district benefited from any impact of urban extensions on the district.
Non-Executive Members noted the excellent work that officers had done which resulted in the successful bid; raised concerns regarding the methodology used for the adopted local plan housing numbers and that these had not been explained; requirement for a root and branch review of the Local Plan; questioned the Council’s sense of ‘emergency’ in respect of Climate Change; referred to a newspaper article that Bicester was not a good example of a ‘Garden Community’.
To address the comments regarding the methodology, the Business Manager - Spatial Planning confirmed that it was not true to suggest that the local plan was based on “no set methodology” as indicated in the Councillor’s question. He referred to an email which had previously been sent to the Councillor. The email had explained that in 2012 the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) had been introduced which required Local Planning Authorities to determine their own “objectively assessed need” (OAN) for housing. There was guidance about how to do this but the government had not required a specific methodology to be used. The Council’s consultants had prepared an assessment of housing need using a detailed methodology based on factors such as projected population change, migration trends, household formation and affordability. The email had included links to the reports on the council’s website describing the methodology in full.
The Leader commented that there would be an all embracing review of the Local Plan and he encouraged all councillors to take a full part in this review; that he had visited Bicester and it was an excellent example of a Garden Community with solar panels, triple glazing, tree planting and good public transport links and that the newspaper article referred to was several years out of date. He advised of a letter of support for the funding from the Newton Abbot Community Interest Company.
It was noted that the Portfolio Holder for Climate Change Emergency and Housing was on the Newton Abbot Community Interest Company Board.
During discussion Executive Members commented that a low carbon policy would be brought to Executive in October; the administration was genuine and serious in the need to address climate change; the new version of the housing numbers were a direct government requirement; need to ensure that Teignbridge members had control over development within Teignbridge within the Greater Exeter Strategic Plan; and the need to build communities.
The Business Manager - Spatial Planning advised that the Greater Exeter Strategic Plan (GESP) would need to be agreed by all four of ... view the full minutes text for item 61