Sunday, 26 June 2016

Fears communities will block development are unfounded, experts say

Neighbourhood plan seen as pro-development

The first community-produced development plan to reach examination stage shows that fears the government’s localism agenda will lead to widespread nimbysim are unfounded, experts claim.

Get on our land

People in Dawlish, a seaside town in south Devon with a population of around 13,000, have drawn up England’s first neighbourhood plan which recommends the development of 900 homes in the area over the next 20 years - the same number as the council recommended in its draft core strategy.

Despite fears that giving communities planning powers would lead to battles over house building, people in Dawlish have maintained the level of development suggested by Teignbridge Council, albeit in different locations.

Cameron Watt, head of neighbourhoods at the National Housing Federation, said: ‘It’s positive that these first neighbourhood plans are demonstrating that local people do seem to be getting a real say on the nature and location of development but that they’re accepting the scale of housing need.’

Dawlish’s plan has emerged just weeks after the national planning policy framework, which sets out how communities can get involved with planning decisions, was published.

Elizabeth Boyd, associate director of planning consultancy Tetlow King, said: ‘There was some concern from developers that neighbourhood plans would block development but it has been made clear [in the NPPF] that that is not going to be the case. The plan in Dawlish has reflected that.’

Dawlish was one of 17 areas chosen by the government to pilot neighbourhood planning in April 2011. The consultation for its neighbourhood plan received more than 400 responses from the community.

The plan will be examined by Christopher Balch, professor of planning at the University of Plymouth, later this month. If Mr Balch decides the community’s proposals are valid, it will go to a referendum. If more than 50 per cent of the turnout vote in favour of the plan, Teignbridge Council must adopt it.

Rosalind Prowse, chair of the Dawlish neighbourhood plan steering group, said the changes the community had made to the council’s proposals showed ‘real democracy in action’.

Inside Housing is calling for more public land to be available for house building through our Get on our Land campaign.

Readers' comments (6)

Comments are only open to subscribers of Inside Housing

Already a subscriber?

If you’re already a subscriber to Inside Housing, your subscription may not be linked to your online account. You can link your subscription from within the My Account section of the website and clicking on Link My Account.

Not yet a subscriber?

If you don't yet subscribe to Inside Housing, please visit our subscription page to view our various subscription packages.

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

sign in register

Newsletter Sign-up



  • The world as seen by Google

    17 June 2016

    Google has something important to teach housing associations about fostering creativity and innovation, says David McQuade

  • Associations defy development fears

    18 March 2016

    The largest developing housing associations have added 7,377 homes to their pipelines since last June, defying expectations that thousands of homes would be left unbuilt in response to the 1% rent cut.

  • Associations plot joint development

    4 March 2016

    Four housing associations are looking to step up their consortium-led affordable housebuilding programmes, after being appointed to Transport for London’s 10-year framework agreement. 

  • Development - 2015 highlights

    25 December 2015

    Over the 12 days of Christmas, we will be reflecting on the best of our news, analysis and opinions coverage on the website since 1 January 2015. Each day we will have a different topic. Today we kick off with development

  • Starter Homes plan 'will hit association development'

    8 October 2015

    The development of affordable rented housing is likely to decrease as private house builders seize on David Cameron’s new planning flexibility to build homes for sale.

IH Subscription