North Devon Council and Torridge District Council have jointly published a new report which will re-establish a five-year housing land supply for northern Devon.
The report, published on Friday, 28 April, shows northern Devon to have enough available land to meet the area’s housing requirements equivalent to 5.9 years.
Councils are required by national planning policy to show there are enough sites earmarked for development to deliver the amount needed to meet housing requirements for the next five years – a so-called five-year housing land supply.
If councils are unable to show a five-year land supply, they are required to look more favourably on housing proposals that would not usually be considered appropriate. In recent years, this has resulted in the granting of planning permission for housing on sites across northern Devon that were not envisaged for development through the area’s plan for the future.
Re-establishing a five-year housing land supply allows the councils to support only the proposals that contribute towards the long-term vision for northern Devon and the area’s local plan, whilst being able to better resist proposals that fail to do so.
The report comes after more than six months of intensive work by officers at both councils to establish in detail the amount of land available for housing over the coming years, and the number of homes it may deliver. The process has to be backed by robust and detailed evidence and has required officers to engage proactively with developers of individual housing sites to understand and document what their expectations are for delivery over the next few years.
Planning Manager at Torridge District Council, Helen Smith, says: “Torridge and North Devon district councils lost the ability to demonstrate a five-year housing land supply back in 2020 following the approval of a particular housing development at appeal. The disruption caused by COVID, the associated lockdowns and impact on construction activity meant that it hasn’t been possible to re-establish the supply until now. We recognise the impact this has had on many communities and that this will be welcome news to many.”
Head of Place, Property and Regeneration at North Devon Council, Sarah-Jane Mackenzie-Shapland, says: “We are really pleased to be back to a position of being able to demonstrate a five-year housing land supply, affording our respective councils much more control to manage the consideration of proposals for housing. We will still aim to support proposals for the delivery of much needed housing to meet the needs of our local communities but will be in a better position to resist development that doesn’t meet with northern Devon’s plan for the future of our area.”