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Councillors gathering to discuss crucial 20-year plan

By Herald Express  |  Posted: September 20, 2012

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ALL Teignbridge councillors will meet tomorrow to debate the district's 20-year plan for homes, jobs, schools, roads and community facilities.

A fresh set of possible updates to Teignbridge's Local Plan will go before a special full council meeting at 10am.

The crucial meeting will finalise the all-important Plan Teignbridge before it is put forward for a final round of public comment.

Plan Teignbridge proposes allocating sites for 12,400 homes over the next two decades as well as space for employment land, schools and roads.

It was discussed at a special meeting of the council's ruling executive last Thursday.

They considered recommendations put forward by the overview and scrutiny committee which inspected the document at its meeting the previous week.

They then made 33 recommendations, all of which will be considered by the full council tomorrow before deciding whether to approve the current draft as its final version.

It will be the final time councillors debate the plan before it goes out for its second public consultation.

The executive debated the original recommendations of overview and scrutiny and proposed new updates.

New changes include:

Reinstating Penns Mount, Kingsteignton, as a site for homes.

Former Kingsteignton mayor Beryl Austen secured enough votes at overview and scrutiny to get Penns Mount taken out the plan.

Executive members later agreed a recommendation to keep it in after the authority's spatial planning officer Simon Thornley expressed 'significant concerns' about its exclusion because there were no other alternative housing sites available elsewhere in the town.

Taking Conitor Copse, Abbotskerswell, out the plan as a site which could be developed in the future.

Cllr Mary Colclough proposed including the site, a recommendation Mr Thornley had 'extremely significant concerns' about and said, if included, it could render the entire plan unsound.

Conitor Copse is a key site for the Greater Horseshoe Bat, a protected species, and a cave there is used as a breeding, roosting, foraging and hibernation site for the bats.

Cllr Colclough claims the site is suitable for development. Council officers disagree and point to European protection regulations which support that.

Removing part of Osborne Street car park in Newton Abbot as a site for 40 homes.

Amendments in Dawlish to reduce the size of a site south of Shutterton Lane and west of Southdowns Road and concentrating housing on a site north west of Secmaton Lane.

Removing a site at Bradley Bends, Bovey Tracey as allocation for housing.

A new monitoring framework to check progress against the plan's goals and a five-yearly plan review to take account of progress and new information was also agreed.

Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Philip Vogel, Teignbridge Council's executive member for housing and planning, said: "We are confident our recommendations strike a balance between the technical planning considerations and the views of the public and councillors.

"We are grateful for the hard work done by the overview and scrutiny committee, and for the views of the public who helped inform where we are now.

"I am sure the plan will be subject to a whole-hearted and even-headed debate at full council as councillors do their best to create a strong, technically sound and well-balanced plan which benefits local people and our economy for many years to come."

The full council meeting is in Forde House, Newton Abbot. Public places in the chamber are limited to 50 spaces.

A big-screen live feed will be available in neighbouring Old Forde House.

If agreed, the plan and its changes will be subject to a six-week consultation period before it is being submitted to an independent Government planning inspector for examination, anticipated for next summer.

The inspector will weigh up the evidence and make a decision on its soundness.

If Plan Teignbridge is declared sound, it could be adopted by the end of 2013.

See all the recommendations at www.teignbridge.gov.uk/planteignbridge

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