Following the Local Plan Inspector’s recent reports Torbay Council has now made changes to its new Local Plan.

The revised plan will be published on the 9 February 2015 for six weeks, during which businesses, residents and other organisations can comment on the changes.

Following a hearing in November 2014, Keith Holland, one of the Planning Inspectorate’s most senior and respected inspectors, stated that he supported Torbay Council’s levels and locations of growth that had been set out in the new Local Plan.

The Inspector confirmed that the planned growth of around 300 jobs and 500 homes per annum, over the next 20 years, is the appropriate level of growth for Torbay and agreed it is difficult to be precise about the level of growth in jobs. He believes 6,000 new jobs is reasonable and reflects the ambition of the Local Plan and acknowledges that planning for 10,000 homes is also acceptable on sustainability grounds. He asks the Council to show, in its Local Plan, where 10,000 homes can be delivered.

But the Inspector is concerned about Neighbourhood Plans and whether sufficient land will be allocated to provide necessary development in the Bay. He also expressed concern regarding the mechanisms, in the Local Plan, for reviewing levels of development and enabling more development, if necessary. He has also set out some concerns about the implications of the Churston Covenant.

There is a very clear message for the Council in the Inspector’s reports. The Local Plan could be rejected, if Torbay Council cannot find space for 10,000 new homes, put in place clear review processes and have a fallback position in case neighbourhood plans do not do enough.

Councillor David Thomas, Executive Lead for Strategic Planning, Housing and Energy, said “The Inspector has been very sensible and reasonable. He recognises the value of Torbay’s environment and that we haven’t got capacity for more than 10,000 homes. But, he’s also set us some challenges, for example to find space for another 900 homes. We have responded positively to this, because it’s essential to get the new plan approved. If we don’t put a new plan in place quickly, then we will find it difficult to stop development of some of Torbay’s most environmentally sensitive assets.”

In response to the Inspectors concerns, the council have made a number changes. These include a new future growth area south of White Rock for around 450 homes, jobs and new infrastructure. It has also identified a range of sites, which could provide around 500 homes, across Torbay for Forums to consider as part of Neighbourhood Plans. In addition, the Local Plan now commits the council to producing site allocations plans if, by October 2015, any neighbourhood plan has not reached its formal consultations stage.

The Plan now also includes a review process which monitors job creation, market signals of unmet housing supply and the number of working age people in the Bay. This monitoring will indicate whether the council needs to accelerate development or not.

The changes to the Local Plan can be found at: www.torbay.gov.uk/newlocalplan. Paper copies will also be available in local libraries and Connections offices.

The council is also taking this opportunity to consult on its proposed community infrastructure levy charging schedule and on a new local validation list for planning applications. These documents can also be found at www.torbay.gov.uk/newlocalplan and in local libraries and Connections offices.


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