People asked big questions about land and development


What land should be built on and what should be protected as green space – those are the big questions to be asked in a massive consultation across Plymouth and South West Devon.

A total of 30,300 homes need to be built in the next 16 years and Plymouth City Council, South Hams District and West Devon Borough Councils are working together and with the public, to look at where new homes, employment space and infrastructure such as roads, schools and power supplies should be.

The majority of these homes will be built on land in and around Plymouth with residents benefiting from the existing jobs, services and infrastructure the city has.

This is the first time residents from all three council areas are being asked to comment on a joint local plan that will shape development for years to come.

Over the last 10 years, Plymouth has seen 8,575 homes delivered and 92 per cent were built on land that had been already used. Building is underway on a further 644 properties and 4,741 have permission to be built but work is yet to start.

 In Plymouth 340 sites from an initial 900 have been assessed for their development potential. This has now been whittled down to 149 sites that people are being asked to comment on. Criteria included whether the site was of economic importance to the city, had good access to transport, size, closeness to community facilities, for instance.

Of 168 sites put forward by the public as green space, the Council agrees 106 of these should be designated for protection and put forward a further 109 sites.

Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Strategic Housing, Transport and Planning Patrick Nicholson said: “The first part of the Plymouth Plan gave us a sense of what we want this city to be about and the direction it could take.

 “This is crunch time. We want people to look at where they live and to see if land near them has been earmarked for development or is to be protected and tell us what they think. It is as simple as that.

 “We also want them to look at the three areas – which will go through the most change – to see if we have put forward the right ideas for these important locations.

 “All the sites put forward have been assessed on how well their use would fit into the city we want Plymouth to be. Some tough decisions will have to be made but we want to get the balance between building homes, encouraging business and the infrastructure needed to keep a city running with the incredible environment in this area.”

In South Hams and West Devon the consultation focuses on the six major towns of Dartmouth, Ivybridge, Kingsbridge, Okehampton, Tavistock, Totnes, and the smaller rural centres of Bere Alston, Lifton, Hatherleigh, Modbury, North Tawton, Salcombe, Stokenham / Chillington and Yealmpton.

In total, South Hams and West Devon assessed over 600 sites that have been put forward by communities, developers and landowners. Now they want to know how suitable residents think these sites are.

South Hams Executive Portfolio Holder for Strategy and Commissioning Cllr Michael Hicks said: “When looking at where housing could go, it is really important for residents to realise the important relationship between our towns and villages and the city of Plymouth. People do not live within administrative boundaries, but they may live in the South Hams or West Devon and travel, work and visit the city.

“This is particularly true of the residents who live where the city and the rural areas meet.”

To help people see where and what is being discussed, Plymouth City Council has created a huge colour-coded map so that people can see more easily where the land in question is.

A booklet about the joint local plan in Plymouth and a booklet for the Thriving Towns and Villages has  been produced to give more information about the sites as well as more detail about the numbers of homes needed, the infrastructure and detail about of how the city will look after its green space – i.e. fields, parks and greens.

This consultation follows on from previous work carried out separately by the three councils on the Plymouth Plan, South Ham’s ‘Our Plan’ and West Devon’s ‘Our Plan’. The outcome will be a single strategy for the area – the Plymouth and South West Devon Joint Local Plan.

No decisions have been made yet about any of the sites. The final allocations will be included in the draft Plymouth and South West Joint Local Plan due for consultation in Autumn 2016.

The consultation starts on July 1 and will continue until 12 August. To view the documents visit www.plymouth.gov.uk/plymouthplan

Plymouth Octopus Project and Planning Aid are hosting training events for community groups and neighbourhoods in Plymouth. For more information email plymouthplan@plymouth.gov.uk or pop@zebra.coop

Engagement events are being held across South Hams and West Devon with local Towns, Parishes and Neighbourhood Planning groups.  Officers will also be popping in in local shopping areas, libraries and at community events to sign post residents to more information visit www.southhams.gov.uk/jointlocalplan and www.westdevon.gov.uk/jointlocalplan