There was a public meeting in Ide on Friday to discuss the proposal to allocate land at Markhams farm for housing development in the new Teignbridge local plan.
The meeting went well, I think. It was civilised, rational and helpful. TDC officers talked about the plan as a whole and the site in detail, People were able to ask sensible questions, and share views on the proposals.
Many agreed that traffic Is a big problem and we have been raising that as a primary concern throughout, along with the exceptional quality of the land being lost. We did try pretty hard to persuade Devon County Council to withdraw Markhams farm. Councillor Alison Foden’s petition gained over 2000 signatures and was presented to John Hart, leader of DCC but he is adamant he wants to sell the land and buy more land elsewhere for the county farms.
When I bought my first house, average house prices were 2-3 times average salaries, and there were huge stocks of council housing. Now average house prices are around 8-10 times average salaries. This is not sustainable and it’s not fair on young people and future generations. There is a real need for house building, and legal requirements on the council. If Teignbridge does not allocate enough sites, Developers can use this to appeal, and in effect build anything anywhere. We would lose the protection of the good policies in the local plan, and the quality would drop.
The objections from Exeter City Council are relevant. Ide and TDC will get all the CIL money, but Exeter will get all the traffic.
I think we should approach this realistically. Where we have concerns, we should raise them, but let’s also talk about how we want to influence the development if it does go ahead. If we identify the good things like the huge amount of publicly accessible green space, the walking and cycling connections, and the affordable housing. We can ensure that these don’t get removed or watered down later. That does not undermine any objections to the site as a whole.
The final consultation on the local plan is still open and runs until noon 13 March 2023.