Pickles approves 430 Exeter homes

The communities secretary has approved outline plans for up to 430 homes at a site on the edge of Exeter after concluding that the proposals would help meet local housing need.

Communities secretary Eric Pickles
Communities secretary Eric Pickles

East Devon District Council had refused planning permission for the development in March 2012. Following an appeal an inspector recommended that the plans be approved.

A decision letter issued on behalf of Eric Pickles this week said he agreed with this recommendation.

The letter said that the scheme "would result in the loss of some good quality agricultural land and an area of countryside", but Pickles agreed with the inspector that "this carries limited weight as the land has no protective designation and the views are relatively localised".

The letter said Pickles noted that council cannot presently demonstrate that it has a five-year supply of deliverable housing sites as required by the National Planning Policy Framework.

It said that Pickles therefore agreed with the inspector’s conclusion "that the proposed development of the site would contribute to the short term housing land supply deficit".

The letter also said that Pickles agreed with the inspector that the principle of housing on the proposed land had been accepted by the council, despite it not being currently allocated for development in local planning documents.

Overall, the letter said that Pickles concluded that the benefits of the appeal proposal "clearly outweigh any harm".

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