We reviewed the Torbay Local Plan 2012/2030 (the Local Plan) in November 2020 to consider whether the plan needs to be updated. This is something that all local authorities with local plans are required to do at least every five years. Cabinet resolved that, while much of the plan remains up-to-date, Local Plan policies for the supply of housing need to be updated.

The first step in updating housing supply policies is to determine how many homes need to be planned for. On 18 February 2021 Cabinet resolved to accept the Government’s Standard Method of calculating housing need, although concerns about this method were noted. The Standard Method, which uses a formula based on population projections and housing affordability, is stated in government policy to represent the minimum number of homes needed in an area. Using this method, Torbay’s housing need is around 560-600 homes a year.

We ran a ‘Call for Evidence’ consultation from March to May 2021 in which we asked local people to submit their views on: (i) whether you agree with this housing need figure and the method used, (ii) whether there is environmental and market capacity to meet this housing need, and (iii) which sites you think might be suitable for housing or employment. This document is available below. 

Housing and Economic Needs Assessment (HENA)

The 2022 Housing and Economic Needs Assessment (HENA) assesses the need for housing in Torbay including the standard method and other aspects of housing need including size, type and tenure needed by different groups in the community, as required by paragraphs 61 and 62 of the (2021) National Planning Policy Framework.  The document will be kept under review, particularly when updated demographic projections become available.

Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment (HELAA)

Need is different from capacity to meet that need. The next step has been to identify land that could potentially be used to meet Torbay’s housing need. This process, known as a Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment (HELAA), involves identifying potential sites and broad locations, and assessing whether they are suitable, available and achievable for housing. The HELAA has included a ‘Call for Sites’ in which we have asked local people, land owners and agents to notify us of sites which may have development potential. It is important to note that this assessment is an evidence base document which highlights potential and does not set out any commitments.  It supports the work on growth options.  This document can be found below in background documents.

The HELAA may be viewed on the Torbay Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment page.

Growth Options Consultation

We have used this HELAA and the consultation responses received to develop five potential growth options for Torbay which we are seeking views on.

The broad options we have set out are:  

Option 1: No further greenfield allocation beyond already allocated or approved sites. This is estimated to provide between 190-250 dwellings a year.    

Option 2: Limited further greenfield development. As per option 1 plus a limited number of greenfield sites deemed as having relatively minor constraints. This is estimated to provide between 250/300 dwellings a year.  

Option 3: One or two further urban extensions. As per option 2 plus one or two further urban extensions. Several possible “sub-options” for the location of the potential urban extension exist. However, further expansion at the west of Paignton appears to be the most likely area. This option is estimated to provide between 320/380 dwellings a year.  

Option 4: All sites that have not been ruled out in principle. This includes sites which have significant environmental constraints. This option could provide between 470/500 dwellings a year.  

Option 5: Meeting full needs (as required by Government). To achieve a growth rate of around 600 dwellings per year, all sites including many rejected by the HELAA as unsuitable for development would need to be allocated.   

We are also seeking views on whether there is scope for a hybrid option that would allow us to set a minimum housing requirement, but also have a more ambitious target for urban regeneration sites.

These options are described further in the consultation document below. Each option has advantages and disadvantages and will impact on poverty, inequality, affordable housing, employment, and the environment in different ways. We have also carried out a Sustainability Appraisal in which the social, economic, and environmental sustainability of each growth option is assessed. This document is available below in background documents.

The maps below show each of the five options, along with three ‘town centre inset’ maps. The bay wide maps are to show the spread of sites rather than boundary detail for each site. These can be seen on the map titled ‘Option 5 Map Showing Categories’ which can be zoomed in to see sites at a larger scale, with their relevant HELAA reference number. Please note that although the HELAA was used as a basis for forming the options, there are some differences between HELAA scoring and the options.

Have your say

The consultation is now closed.

We will carefully consider the feedback and use the comments received to help us develop a 'Preferred Option'. This will include proposed updated policies, site allocations, and headline growth rates. We intend to publish this Preferred Option later in 2022 for further public consultation, before submitting it to the Secretary of State for examination by a planning inspector.

The stages of the Local Plan Update are set out below.  However, these are indicative and may change, for example as a result of consultation responses

Review of local Plan (November 2020) > Issues, paper for evidence (Reg 18) this stage > Consultation plan (Reg 19) > Revisions to plan > Submission version of plan (Reg 22) > Submission of plan for examination