To consider a report of the Head of Planning, Economy and Regeneration with regard to the Greater Exeter Strategic Plan Draft Policies and Site Options consultation document and its Sustainability Appraisal Report and Habitat Regulations Assessment Report.
Cabinet are also requested to recognise the views of the Scrutiny Committee who considered the report at its meeting on 20 July 2020 with regard to:
o The democratic process
o Lack of scope including neighbouring authorities
o Over complexity
o Overly Exeter focussed
o Hierarchy of plans
o Infrastructure concerns
And that any delegated authority given should be for minor editorial changes only.
The Cabinet had before it a * report from the Head of Planning, Economy and Regenerationwith regard to the Greater Exeter Strategic Plan Draft Policies and Site Options consultation document and its Sustainability Appraisal Report and Habitat Regulations Assessment Report.
The Leader stated that the concept of the GESP had been supported by the previous administration and by the Council as a whole, it was now time to approve the draft policies and plans for consultation. The report before the meeting contained a list of draft policies and a site options paper with indicative plans. Of the recommended site options, 5 were in Mid Devon although no formal allocation had been made. There was a need to look at the options and consider the recommendations in the pack. He outlined the other authorities in the partnership which was being supported by Devon County Council. He reported that East Devon were considering withdrawing from the partnership and that a decision would be made by its Council on 20 August but that it wanted to continue to liaise with other authorities. He hoped that Mid Devon would continue to work with other authorities in respect of the GESP.
The Planning Officer (Forward Planning) addressed the meeting highlighting by way of presentation:
· The importance of the document before members and it being the culmination of a very significant volume of work by officers from partner councils following a significant evidence gathering process
· The involvement of members throughout the process
· Not all the site options within the documents would be required
· The involvement of the reference forum and the PPAG in formulating the draft plan
· The further opportunities to shape the GESP post consultation
· The reasons for the plan in line with the NPPF, joint plan making encouraged by central Government, the existing and growing functional link between the administrative boundaries which included the travel to work area, the economic area and the housing market area.
· By working together additional funding could be sought from Government
· The need for the GESP – so that a overarching strategic plan could be formed, the coordination of growth across the 4 areas and the duty to cooperate required constructive, active and ongoing engagement with partners
· The relationship of the GESP with other individual plans, the contents of the plan with the strategic overview, the overarching vision for the area, policies which referred to the climate emergency, prosperity and homes, movement and communication, nature and infrastructure.
· 39 sites had been identified with 5 site options in Mid Devon
· The timetable for approval of the plan.
The Head of Planning, Economy and Regeneration then answered the questions posed in public question time:
· With regard to the economic development needs, she was aware that things had moved on with regard to Brexit and the Covid situation, however the consultation responses would be help to bring things up to date
· With regard to the growth survey, people were asked to think about their local areas and what was important to ... view the full minutes text for item 215
To consider the Joint Statement of Community Involvement for the Greater Exeter Strategic Plan (GESP).
The Head of Planning, Economy and Regeneration explained that the Committee had two reports before them the * Joint Statement of Community Involvement for the Greater Exeter Strategic Plan (GESP) and the ** Greater Exeter Strategic Plan Draft Policies and Site Options consultation document.
She informed the Committee that the Greater Exeter Strategic Plan Draft Policies and Site Options consultation document was being presented across all four authorities and had previously been considered by Exeter City Council and Teignbridge District Council.
The Forward Planning Officer then gave an overview of the GESP by way of a presentation which highlighted:
· Maintained Member engagement in formulating policies
· Sustainable development
· High level strategic plans
· Site options
· Evidence documents
Members then discussed the GESP in detail and raised various concerns including:
· The relevance of GESP to the Local Plan which was due to be formally adopted
· What was the definition of a larger development
· Why a Statement of Common Ground could not be considered in the place of GESP
· If signing up to GESP would address employment opportunities in Mid Devon
· GESP was too Exeter centric
· That Okehampton was not included as it fell outside of the district boundary of the GESP
· The effect of the GESP on property prices within Mid Devon and that the GESP appeared to be to solve Exeter’s housing problems
· The numbers of new houses proposed by the GESP seemed to high to sustain employment opportunities
· Not enough time for Members to consider the documents and to make comments and that the GESP would take precedence over the MDDC Local Plan
· Previously rejected development sites had reappeared on the GESP
· The lack of provision for increased secondary education in Tiverton
· The current capability of digital networks and could it cope with more development
· The 8 week timescale of the initial public consultation was not long enough and how this would be presented to the public
In response to the concerns raised the Head of Planning, Economy and Regeneration and the Forward Planning Officer provided the following responses:
· The GESP plans sat alongside the Local Plans and dealt with cross boundary issues such as climate change and how people lived and worked in the area
· GESP was focussed on development of 500 houses or more. As part of the GESP local landowners and developers had been asked to identify possible future development sites
· The Council had a duty to co-operate and would always need to engage with neighbouring authorities but the GESP could tackle the wider picture such as climate change, transport policy and the economy. It was an opportunity to coordinate the big issues and there was strength on working together
· The were more opportunities for employment in Exeter but the plan sought to address local employment across the districts
· A number of the districts had a rail network but Okehampton was not included as it fell outside the plan. However, there was still a duty to co-operate with neighbouring authorities and the GESP would be working with ... view the full minutes text for item 53