Torbay’s new Local Plan Approved by Planning Inspectorate

Torbay’s Local Plan, the blueprint for housing and jobs growth in Torbay up to 2030, gained approval from the Planning Inspectorate on Monday.

This approval was received in the latest report along with final recommendations from the Local Plan Inspector Keith Holland, who is one of the Planning Inspectorate’s most senior and respected Inspector’s.

In his report the Inspector supported the delivery of 5,500 new jobs and 8,900 homes in Torbay and, in doing so, acknowledged the Bay’s sensitive and valuable environment. It was also stated that the council will need to review the pace of development on a regular basis and revise the plan every five years if necessary.

The Inspector also recommended a number of changes which are required for full Council to adopt the Plan. These include a recommendation for the council to produce new site allocation plans, which show the location and type of development over the medium term. This only needs to be done if the Neighbourhood Forums cannot deliver satisfactory formal draft Neighbourhood Plans by the end of March 2016.

The Inspector rejected calls, by the housing industry, for much more housing development above that identified within the Plan as he believes that the quantum called for was unrealistic in such an environmentally sensitive area. The Inspector also said that the level of demand from the market does not justify increased levels of growth.  He also firmly rejected the Neighbourhood Forum’s calls for less growth and said it was right for the Local Plan to be ambitious for new jobs and homes.

The Inspector has confirmed that the Plan includes enough land for housing for the next 5 years.

Mayor Gordon Oliver said: “The Inspector has agreed with the Council’s ambitious approach and its proposals for growth. This will attract new interest and investment in the Bay and underlines the need for us to keep encouraging new jobs to the area. The timing of this report, with the completion of the South Devon Highway, is perfect.”

Councillor Mark King, Executive Lead for Planning, Transport and Housing, said: “This is the news we have been waiting for since the Hearing last November.  A huge amount of hard work, including by my predecessor, has gone into producing this document. The council has done everything it needed to do to produce a sound plan. The Inspector’s report shows how important it is for Torbay to grow, not only for the economic success of the Bay and to secure new homes, but also to support the services the council wants to provide.”

Vince Flower, Chair of the Torbay Development Agency (TDA) Board, said: “The TDA works closely with the business community. We understand the significance of this announcement and are pleased to learn of the Inspector’s decision. We know the importance of a clear planning framework for investors, developers and our local business community.

“The new Local Plan provides the certainty and clarity necessary for businesses wishing to invest and grow. We look forward to working with the council on the delivery of Masterplans in Torbay. These Masterplans will provide a framework for growth in our Town Centres especially and in other parts of the Bay, such as Edginswell. The council and TDA, working closely with business, have put in place the tools for success. I am confident that we will see increased interest in the Bay, from other parts of the UK and overseas, once the Plan is officially adopted.”

The Plan, with the Inspectors recommended changes, will now go to full Council in December to be officially adopted. When adopted the new Plan will be advertised and there will be a six week period in which the adoption can be challenged in the High Court.

The Inspector’s report is cab be viewed here: www.torbay.gov.uk/newlocalplan 

For further information please contact: Jo Penhaligon, Communications Officer on 01803 207048.