As usual, it was been a busy month! We are currently writing ACT’s response to the Local Plan consultation, so this newsletter is a little shorter than usual.
Thank you to those of you who have responded to the Local Plan Consultation. This could be our last chance to influence where development happens in Teignbridge!
If you haven’t yet commented on any sites, you have until midday on Monday 9th August. Here is some guidance on how to comment on ecological impacts.
Two groups of Wildlife Wardens visited Ambios’ rewilding project at Lower Sharpham Farm. We saw how they are using small numbers of Belted Galloway cattle and Mangalista pigs (an old Hungarian breed) to mimic natural grazing and disturbance. As we walked around the site we were lucky to see some of the wildlife that is benefiting from rewilding, including a group of swifts flying over the Dart and some interesting peacock butterfly caterpillars.
In collaboration with the Woodland Trust and Rewilding Britain, Ambios is hosting the Devon rewilding network, which you can join here. It is a place for people to share news and upcoming events about rewilding in Devon.
You have until noon on Monday August 9th to give Teignbridge District Council (TDC) your views on the 100 plus sites around Teignbridge proposed for new development. If you don’t respond to this consultation you won’t get another opportunity. It is difficult, if not impossible, for plans to be changed further down the line.
Government proposals for a new approach to planning rules will prevent even the local authority from making adjustments in response to changing circumstances in the future. It’s our last chance to influence where new homes are built. You may think your views won’t count. They definitely won’t if you don’t make them known. The more people who respond the better.
The current Local Plan Part 2 consultation follows on from Part 1 in 2020, which focused on the policies that guide developments. The two parts will together form the Local Plan 2020-2040, which will replace the current Local Plan adopted in 2014.
How to respond
The consultation is online at teignbridge.gov.uk and is available chapter by chapter. You can comment using the online survey or the downloadable response form. The survey looks technical, but if you have local knowledge about particular sites it’s vital you share it. You can only comment on one site at a time and give comments in relation to eight criteria, although there is an opportunity to comment on “anything else”. You may want to prepare your comments before you go online and then copy and paste them in. Make sure you go all the way to the end of the survey, even if you don’t give all the personal information requested, and press the Submit button.
The printable pdf form only asks for comments, with no prompts for specific criteria, but you have to print it out to use it or convert it from a pdf to a word document or similar.
It is also possible to download the questions and send your comments by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by letter to Spatial Planning & Delivery, Teignbridge District Council, Forde House, Newton Abbot Devon TQ12 4XX. All comments made in writing will be considered.
What to say
The number of homes proposed for each town or village is stated at the beginning of each ‘Housing Site Options’ chapter. If a town or village has several sites on offer, which together are able to more than cover TDC’s suggested housing numbers for the settlement, then stating in your comments which site/sites would be better is helpful. The suggested general comments below may be useful here.
If you think your village has no allocated sites, make sure it hasn’t been included in Chapter 4 of the consultation, the Heart of Teignbridge. This is true for several proposed sites in Ogwell and Kingskerswell, for example. Check this map to see where all the proposed sites are. You will also need to look at Chapter 9, Employment Site Options, for land which may be developed for employment.
If you have local knowledge of a proposed site, check the information given about it in the relevant consultation chapter for accuracy and omissions. If you have the time and inclination, it is also worth looking at TDC’s assessment of the sites in the appendices to the consultation. Appendix D(a) is for town sites while Appendix D(b) is for villages. To understand the scoring and colour coding for the sites, you will need to go to page 14 of the Stage B Report – Sustainability Appraisal (SA) and Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA). To dig further into the scoring assumptions, check out Appendix A. You might need a stiff drink or two to see you through all this!
Here are some examples of the sort of comments you could make on issues relating to wildlife:
It is essential that mitigation measures taken to protect wildlife habitats and avoid extinction of local species are completed before site clearance and building starts.
All the hedges around this site are biodiverse and should be protected and buffered.
A wide buffer strip is needed alongside the public footpath beside the stream, to ensure habitats are connected’.
Protect Greater Horseshoe Bat flyways and ensure there is no artificial lighting on the development.
Protect the nearby SSSI/ CWS (Site of Special Scientific Interest/County Wildlife Site) from polluted run-off from the new estate.
These are more general comments you could make on the subject of climate change and greenhouse gas emissions:
New developments should be about meeting local needs in the most sustainable way. Delivering a pre-set number of housing units to boost the economy should NOT be the driver.
Many of us nowadays live in one or two-person households, so the need is for smaller homes than the three to five bedroom houses typical of new developments. Building on a smaller scale would deliver lower greenhouse gas emissions as well as the housing numbers required.
Greenhouse gas emissions for people living in urban areas in Teignbridge are typically 30% lower than for those who live in rural ones, as is true throughout the UK. The benefits of housing people within, or close to, urban areas are clear. The emissions associated with the provision of goods and services, as well as travel, can be minimised.