THE first stamp of approval has been given to the draft North Devon and Torridge local plan.
The plan was brought before Torridge District Council’s community and resources committee on Monday.
Kate Little, joint head of strategic development and planning for both district councils, said it was “probably the most important document” members would see in the next couple of years.
“We must endorse it,” she continued. “This time it is not going to be enough to allow it out for consultation. We need to accept this is the document we will submit to the secretary of state.”
Councillor Gaye Tabor, lead member for the natural and built environment at Torridge, said she felt members from both councils had worked together very well.
“We have challenged on many occasions and looked very carefully at rural and urban areas,” she said.
Councillor Barry Parsons raised questions over the disparity in housing allocation between Torridge and North Devon.
“There is significantly more housing coming Torridge’s way,” he said. “Proportionally Torridge is getting a great deal of that but economically we are getting a lot less.”
Kate Little responded saying Torridge had only allowed for the housing it needed and not for additional growth, as North Devon had.
“It is just that Torridge is more popular for in-migrants,” she added.
Councillor John Himan questioned the ability of housing applications to be granted outside of the plan area once it is adopted.
Mrs Little responded: “We are slightly hampered by the five-year land supply and the National Planning Policy Framework requirement that we are sympathetic to sustainable development.
“Even if we haven’t allocated it and a site comes forward that is suitable we would probably have to agree with that.”
Councillor Mike Edmunds, executive member for strategic planning at North Devon, said: “People don’t want development in their back yards, but we have come up with developments that are acceptable and I am quite happy with the figures.”
Members unanimously approved the plan, which will now go before North Devon’s Executive and a joint meeting of both district councils.