TDC Local Plan publication and consultation

Sorry this post is long and involved, but the new local plan is important and complex.

There is a shorter post here :`lan-short-version/

The Teignbbridge local plan is published in the agenda for full council of 12 Jan including the final list of sites chosen for inclusion.

All documents are at :

The local plan itself is at :

There is an interactive policies map which helps to see the exact locations and boundaries of these developments:

Concept plans of larger sites at


The current TDC local plan is going out of date. The allocated sites are running out, and TDC is required to provide 741 houses per year, when the old plan assumed 620. This has escalating consequences for Teignbridge planning. TDC is required to show that it has a “land supply” i.e., enough sites allocated in the local plan to provide the house building numbers. If the plan is out of date, or there are not enough allocated sites, or not enough houses have been completed by developers, this can be cited as grounds for appeal, so applications will increasingly be granted disregarding the local plan policies: “Planning by appeal”. Teignbridge is now dangerously close to the 75% threshold where further penalties start to apply. Getting the new local plan will ensure local control with protection from these punitive measures. The new plan is important to avoid this in future.

Getting to this stage has included a “call for sites”, inviting landowners to put sites forward, several consultations on sites and policies. Councillors have been able to discuss and visit sites with officers and explain any local factors and community concerns, so that officers can assessed the relative merits and constraints, then write a plan with the best policies and select sites to meet the required housing numbers.

Housing numbers

For years we have been reminding people that housing numbers are imposed by government using the standard formula. The new local plan has been prepared assuming that these are required. In December just days before the local plan was put forward for the final consultation, Home secretary Michael Gove announced that the number would be ‘advisory’, so why is the plan going ahead?

Importantly Michael Gove has not changed the law. He also said that the standard formula would remain as the number expected, but that councils might be able to request reductions under certain circumstances. He did not suspend the three-year delivery test, and if we had stopped the plan, Developers would use this in appeals. He did say that if plans were in the final consultation stage that we have just reached now, appeals would be refused on 5-year land supply.

This uncertainty in the future rules makes preparing a 20-year plan very difficult. Michael Gove explicitly told the Newton Abbot MP that TDC should push ahead with the local plan, but our (Teignbridge Lib Dem group) big concern is that if we had approved the plan with government numbers, then the law changed later, it would be too late for us to look again at the numbers.

A lot of work went on behind the scenes before the council meeting on 12/1/23 to bring in “Recommendation 10”. This very important paragraph means we can submit the plan in line with current law, but it provides that if the law changes, we can review the plan, and have the option to adjust the numbers in line with genuine local need, and local constraints.

How many houses SHOULD we allow?

It’s an important question, and until December it was irrelevant. People need homes, and it is very difficult now for your people to get on the housing ladder. Average house prices are 8-10 times average salaries. Thirty years ago, they were 2-3 times salaries. We definitely do need to be building houses but we need more affordable homes. Under this government’s laws we can only do that by the council building them (which we are now) or by allowing the expensive high profit housing and requiring a ratio of affordable housing to goes with it (which we do).

The “standard formula” for required housing numbers, uses affordability. The logic runs like this. Teignbridge is an attractive place to live. People move here bring money from affluent areas, and house prices are high. Industry, and employment is limited in our rural area, and salaries are, on average, low. This imbalance means that in Teignbridge houses are less “affordable” than in other areas. The standard formula seeks to reduce house prices by increasing our required number of houses. TDC has a 41% affordability uplift over the underlying need. Some other areas do not have this uplift. CPRE (Campaign for the Protection of Rural England) estimates that Teignbridge needs 540 houses per year, not 741 as currently required.

The problem with this is that the link from requiring more site allocations to actually having more affordable houses is extremely tenuous, and the damage inflicted by the uplifted numbers is real and urgent. Having more sites allocated does not mean developers are required to bring them forward. There are no constraint or penalties on developers delivering houses quickly. Developers may want to keep prices high, and some claim they slow their delivery to maintain prices. Teignbridge has no control over that but faces consequences if developers do not deliver.

Once houses are built, they may be bought by local people, or they may become second homes, holiday or short-term rental accommodation. Government policies do not address this, but TDC are seeking policies such as escalated council tax for empty properties to counter this. I do not believe that the 41% uplift is effective. I would scrap it and seek other methods to ensure houses are available and affordable for genuine local need. Recommendation 10 should enable us to do this in future.


There are also many very good policies in the new local plan. We have achieved a phased approach to carbon neutral housing, in a much shorter timescale than building regulations or government legislation. There has been push-back from developers on this.

We have specific policies to encourage renewable energy provision. In effect there is a chapter on climate change measures where the old plan had a policy.

There are improved policies on environment and biodiversity. Policies encourage publicly available green space, wildlife corridors and inter connections to future sites. The concept plans for sites show these features too.

I am pleased to have argued successfully for a cut and fill policy. Development generally results in export of surplus soils and DCC try to meet demand for such waste. There have been 3 large applications for inert waste landfill in our ward in 3 years. This is a major issue for our communities. For the first time the local plan states (in GP1 sections 12 and 14) that developers must minimise the export by accommodating surplus soil and inert building waste on site as much as possible. This means it would be a valid planning reason to object to an application if it would generate excessive unnecessary exported material.


Where development occurs, the developer pays “Community infrastructure levy” CIL which funds the provision of the services needed for the new population. If development is within a parish a proportion goes to the parish council to use to benefit the community as they choose.

It is difficult to calculate CIL payments in advance. The CIL is calculated based on the net increase in floor area of new housing (we don’t know how big they will be) at a rate determined and varying year by year (we don’t know what the rate will be when the payments come due) And depending on the zoning, with higher rates for rural development than urban. When houses are built on greenfield, the land is clearly rural before, and urban after, but the payment will be different if it is calculated before or after the reclassification. If the Parish council has a neighbourhood plan, as Ide does, the Parish keeps 25% of the CIL. The other parishes which do not have local plans will keep 15%. These rules may change in the coming years. In comparison to parish council budgets, CIL payments are often very large.


In preparing the plan Teignbridge have taken a view that new housing should be close to the facilities, employment and transport networks of Newton Abbot and Exeter. While I support the excellent new policies and emphasis in the plan, and I understand the urgent need to Teignbridge to have an updated plan, I do not agree with the target numbers  and supporting the plan does not indicate that I support every allocation in it.

Where we or the community have concerns about a site, we have represented these to officers in the hope of persuading them another site is more appropriate, but also so that if the site is allocated the outcome is the best it can be for the existing and future communities. I have drawn out key features from the site proposals and summarised here.

EE1 Markhams farm

This site attracted strong objections. The land is part of the county farms estate, and is very high quality agricultural land. There are constraints on the vehicle routes especially Alphington road. A petition to save the county farms started by Cllr Alison Foden attracted over 2000 signatures but DCC have not withdrawn the site.

900 homes providing a housing mix which delivers a minimum of 20% affordable.

A minimum of 20% affordable housing and a wide range of housing needs, including a 50-bed extra care housing scheme

The policy includes a central square, village green or similar public space, and community building. A new convenience store of no more than 280sqm net floorspace closely related to the neighbourhood hub.

A new 2 form entry primary school including early years, on a 2.3-hectare site with the potential to expand to 4 form entry in the future, closely related to the neighbourhood hub.

At least 12 hectares of public open space across the 74 hectare site (for comparison northern fields is 7 hectares)

It will avoid development of the upper slopes and ridges of the site.

Linked green spaces and corridors through the site up to West Exe Countryside Park, which shall be located to the south of Markham Lane

36 full sized or 72 half sized allotment plots.

Extension of existing bus services

vehicular access to the site to be taken from the Shillingford end of Markham Lane, and from Ide Village Road with a new access road emerging at the old Springwell Nursery.

Low traffic neighbourhood built with full site permeability. modal filtering will prevent through journeys.

Markham Lane and Polehouse Lane downgraded and to be restricted to access for farm vehicles only.

New and/or improved safe and attractive pedestrian/cycle links with safe road crossing points through the site. This will include improvements for pedestrians and cyclists at the Alphington roundabout and Crabbe Lane. Also improved connections to Shillingford Abbot; A377 to east of A30 roundabout, Waybrook Lane and Sustainable Travel Route E15, West Exe Countryside Park.

EE2: Peamore and West Exe

99 hectares in total. Land west of A377 is Shillingford parish, East is Exminster parish.

  1. Peamore – A 75 hectare area that will include approximately 750 residential units
  2. West Exe Business Park – a 24 hectare area that will include approximately 150 live/work and/or essential worker dwellings and about 20 hectares of employment land.

50 bed extra care.

A convenience store and other retail units.

A new 2-form entry primary school including early years, on a 2.3 hectare site with the potential to expand to 4-form entry in the future, closely related to the neighbourhood hub on land to the east of the A379.

At least 11 hectares of public open space across the site.

at least 17 hectares of SANGS to be provided on site and/or within the area allocated as West Exe Countryside Park, to create a series of linked green spaces.

A low traffic neighbourhood built with full site permeability by foot and bicycle.

A segregated pedestrian and cycle route along the A379 connecting to existing routes to Kennford and Marsh Barton.

Cycle links to: To Matford Brook Academy; either side of the A379; the Shillingford St George Bridleway on site SANGS, Waybrook Lane; Ridgetop Park.

Additional passing points along Days Pottles Lane from the eastern edge of the site to Exminster at various points along its route.

9.16 The site lies within Exminster Parish – but in fact the A379 is the boundary between Shillingford and Exminster parishes

EE3: West Exe Countryside Park SANGS Opportunity Area.

SANGS is Suitable Alternative Natural Green Space. Where development occurs within 10 miles of the Exe Estuary protected habitat, this places extra load on the habitat, so SANGS sites are provided to draw the extra recreational users away from the sensitive habitat, to mitigate the extra population.

This will initially serve developments at Markham Village and Peamore. The SANGS has good design criteria, a mix of formal and informal paths, secluded areas, ridgetop access.

EE4: Attwells Farm

This is a site that attracted strong opposition from the community in Whitestone.

The main concerns as I understand it are loss of green space, and vehicles accessing the Whitestone roads.

The proposed policy for Atwell’s farm is a development on 15 hectares within a wider site of 39 hectares. It will be approximately 300 homes.

There will be provision of land within the development adjoining Exwick Heights Primary School for uses associated with the school.

At least 4 hectares of public open space across the site. The site is currently used as public green space but as I understand it, no access rights exist. Only part of the site is to be developed leaving most as public green space WITH access rights.

At least 6 hectares of SANGS to be provided on site including linked green spaces and corridors through the site to connect with Whitycombe Way Valley Park and Kinnerton Way County Wildlife Site.

Low traffic neighbourhood (no through traffic).

New vehicular access taken from Kinnerton Way. No vehicle connections to be provided onto Rowhorne Lane, with the exception of an access for emergency vehicle use only. No vehicles will be accessing the Whitestone road. All vehicles will access the site from Exwick via Kinnerton lane.

Walking and cycling routes to Kinnerton Way, Exwick Lane and Exwick Heights Primary School; Rowhorne Lane, extending the active travel network of Exeter into and through the new development.

Extension of existing bus services.

Part of the site lies within the boundary of Exeter City Council. Whitestone parish will only be entitled to CIL Payments for houses that are in the parish, and we don’t know exactly where the houses will be.

The final consultation

The plan now has one final stage of consultation. Feedback from this final stage will be sent with the plan to the secretary of state for the final decision. It is important to submit your views, and comment on any aspects, good or bad. The consultation will end at 12 noon on Monday 13th March 2023. Please make your views known by then. At the time of writing the consultation is not yet open and the link to post feedback is not yet available.

Please feel free to email us and respond to the consultation. Thank you.

Andy Swain, Alison Foden, Charles Nuttall and Alan Connett

Attendance at Parish councils

District councillors normally attend Parish council meetings, though they are not required to. Ours is a large district ward covering 8 parishes, meetings often clash. To spread the workload in larger wards there are more councillors. We have 3 district and 1 county councillor in Kenn Valley. We share the work and try to have someone from our team at each meeting.

Building a relationship with the parish councils is important and one of the more satisfying aspects of the job. I am very proud to work alongside parish councillors who, like us, are committed to doing a difficult job but trying to make things better in the community. In most cases we have built a really good relationship with the parishes.

We were very disappointed therefore recently find information published on a parish council web site that gives the false impression that we are not attending their meetings. In response to this misleading information we have reported back to the Parish council as follows…

Report on Kenn Parish Council attendance and Meetings


It has been brought to our attention that the Kenn Parish Council web site home page has a prominent feature regarding District and County Councillor attendance at Parish Council meetings in 2022. This item has higher billing than any other parish matter, even than the proposed landfill application at Lower Brenton Farm.

The Data is presented in a way that implies an expectation that every district and county councillor will attend every Parish Council meeting. This is not consistent with enlarging the ward and allocating more councillors to cover the additional workload.

As the Parish chair and clerk are aware, meetings often clash with other councils Kenn PC and Shillingford PC and Holcombe Burnell and Starcross for example. It is therefore not possible for us all to attend all meetings. We work together as a team to cover these parishes and we do not undertake to have multiple representatives at any meeting.

The data presented on the Parish Council web page is clearly cherry-picked showing attendance only in 2022, when a range of factors affected attendance and the parish council’s own ability to hold valid meetings.  Below, a more useful summary of overall attendance is presented.

The information below is drawn from the published minutes on the Parish Council’s website except for January and December 2022 when we have relied on the agenda information for the January 2023 meeting.

2019County and District representationNotes
May Not yet elected 
JuneYes (Alan, Andy) 
JulyYes (Charles) 
SeptemberYes (Alan) 
OctoberYes (Charles, Alan) 
NovemberYes (Charles, Alan) 
DecemberYes (Charles, Alan) 
2020County and District representationNotes
JanuaryYes (Alan) 
FebruaryYes (Charles, Alan) 
MarchYes (Charles, Alan) 
April Cancelled: Covid
MayYes (Alan) 
JuneYes (Alan, Andy) 
JulyYes (Charles, Alan) 
SeptemberYes (Alan) 
OctoberYes (Alan, Andy) 
NovemberYes (Charles, Alan) 
DecemberYes (Charles) 
2021County and District representationNotes
JanuaryYes (Alan, Charles, Andy ) 
FebruaryYes (Charles) 
MarchYes (Charles, Alan) 
AprilYes (Charles, Alan) 
MayYes (Alan) 
JuneYes (Charles) 
JulyYes (Alan) (**) 
August No Meeting
OctoberYes (Charles, Alan) 
NovemberYes (Charles, Alan) 
2022County and District representationNotes
JanuaryYes (Alan, Charles, Andy) 
FebruaryYes (Charles, Alan) 
MarchYes (Charles, Alan)Parish Council Inquorate
June Parish Council Inquorate
JulyYes (Charles) 
AugustYes (Charles & Andy) 
  Overall Attendance    30/40 

There is no requirement for district and county councillors at attend parish council meetings. It should also be noted that Parish Council meetings may clash – Kenn PC and Shillingford PC and Holcombe Burnell and Starcross for example.

It is also the case that councillors may be engaged on other council-related business, seeing constituents, involved in other meetings, or dealing with work/family matters.

Some of the Parish council data appears inaccurate. For example, Alan was not recorded in the Minutes as attending the July 2021 meeting. However, the minutes record a contribution he made during the meeting. (**)

In August 2022. The minutes record that Charles and Andy both attended for part of the meeting. This appears to be the first time the Parish Council has noted attendance for ‘part’ of a meeting. However, in the Parish Council note for the meeting on 10 January 2023, it is recorded that Andy was not present in August 2022.

The March and June 2022 meetings of the Parish Council were not quorate and could not proceed. This was because too few parish councillors attended, and it appears apologies were not given in advance.  

The March meeting was attended by Alan and Charles. They were there and waited… but the meeting had to be cancelled due to lack of parish councillors.

It is not correct to say there were no meetings in those months. There were properly called meetings of the Parish Council.

The Minutes of the May 2022 meeting note that the Clerk was to contact the District and County Councillors about attending meetings. We do not recall this contact being made.

The July 2022 minutes record that Charles attended. There was a discussion about ‘attendance’ and Charles explained the reasons why some councillors may not be present. As explained above, we work as a team.

It should also be noted that in September 2022, many councils cancelled meetings as a mark of respect following the death of HM The Queen, and as part of the period of National Mourning.

Kenn Parish Council continued to meet with the Clerk advising Alan:

“..Thank you for your apology. I will note it for the Council. We have taken the very difficult decision to proceed with the PC meeting. On balance the lack of many members of the public if any that attend meetings, we could quietly hold the meeting without impacting on this period of national mourning”

The Parish Chair and Clerk also know that that one of our team was diagnosed with cancer, has undergone major surgery, and is still undergoing a course of radiotherapy which may also prevent them from attending some further meetings.

In summary, although a small number of recent meetings have been missed, we will continue our endeavours to be represented at meetings of Kenn Parish Council and will continue, as we have for over the past three years, to take up issues for the community and parish council with Teignbridge and Devon County Council.

Councillors Alan Connett, Charles Nuttall, Andy Swain & Alison Foden

06 January 2023

A Bonfire of our rights

Published in Mid Devon Advertiser January ’23, and in Western morning News Jan ’23

Sometimes we don’t notice our fundamental rights until it is too late.

For example, the Government’s Retained EU Law bill will automatically revoke all EU laws, unless ‘preserved’ by a minister. Our rights which could be silently discarded include the 48-hour maximum working week, maternity and paternity rights, equal pay for women. Even annual paid leave is under threat. If employers exploit the new powers they will have, the right to industrial action is also being undermined by new laws.

Sweeping changes in the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act make it near impossible to plan a legitimate protest that is legal and still effective.

The Human Rights Act is something the UK should be proud of. We helped create a no-nonsense safety net against the atrocities of an extreme right-wing nationalist regime during the second world war. It includes the right to life, the right to a fair trial, and freedom from torture. It makes no sense that British human rights should be different to the rights of other humans. It is not broken but our government wants to remove those rights.

Locally, the legal right to wild camp on Dartmoor is threatened by a hedge fund manager who owns 4,000 acres (equivalent to eighty-six thousand average sized gardens) of Dartmoor. (Hedge funds use “High frequency trading” to make money at the expense of longer-term investors e.g. our pension funds). I think the fundamental rights we all have should be protected.

Government has dismantled the legal aid system so that legal protection is only available to those who can afford it. This may seem unimportant until until we, or someone we care about, is the victim of injustice or fraud, or falsely accused.

Even the right to vote now depends on having a suitable ID. The fraud they claim to stop is barely happening at all, and the numbers of people who will be prevented from voting is shocking. As fraud prevention this is madness but if the purpose is to cling on to power, it makes total sense. Wealthier and older people with driving licences or passports have no problem. Young people and renters are more likely to be prevented from voting. Over 60s travel passes are accepted, student travel passes are not. This amounts to a targeted attack on the groups least likely to vote Conservative.

This Bonfire of our rights is a disgrace. This government serves only itself and its chronys. It is time for a change of government, and a rethink on this most disastrous of all possible Brexits – before it is too late.

Andy Swain

Liberal Democrat Councillor on Teignbridge District Council

Update on the bins

Bin collections are still behind, despite the teams working really hard. Post Brexit it is still extremely difficult to find HGV drivers. There are 9 open vacancies, and 2 more drivers are long term sick. That’s about 20% of the fleet.

Update on the local plan

The draft local plan is expected to come to the Full council meeting on 15th December. The requirement to build 760 houses per year is handed to Teignbridge by government along with many of the rules to select sites. The government has an ambition to make development easier, so getting the Plan in place before that changes should keep more local control over the policies that will shape development for another 20 years. This draft will include the final list of sites chosen for allocation in the plan and will include more details of how developments might look. It will be published around the 8th. December.

The Emperor’s new clothes

Remember the story about the con artists who promise to give the emperor beautiful amazing new clothes. The clothes will give him a better future and elevate his empire above all others. Anyone who can’t see the fabulous clothes is stupid.

We were promised a glorious future. We were told only Conservatives can be trusted with our country’s finances. We were promised fabulous things from Brexit and the Tories own that. Anyone who can’t see the benefits is ignorant, or (re)moaning. It’s just “project fear”. Or is it project reality?

Our new PM was elected by almost as few people as the emperor.

In just a few days our currency went into free-fall. Some say that doesn’t matter, but it does. It means our neighbours have no faith in Britain’s future or trade, it is bad news and we see it in food and energy costs.

Our national debt is double what it was before these Tory governments, and they are not fixing it. This emperor sees that the poorest can’t afford to stay warm and fed, and so tries to cut tax for the richest.

Company insolvencies have hit a 13 year high. There is talk now of rolling power cuts, it is straight out of “project fear” except it is real.

Funding cuts, and the brexodus of skilled staff have put the NHS in crisis. Our bins are not emptied because we sent the lorry drivers home. It turns out Europeans weren’t stealing our services, they were delivering them.

Europe is weakened and Putin is emboldened and we now have war in Europe. Project fear.

Last week’s Mid Devon Advertiser saw two open letters from major organisations, condemning the government’s “wholesale attack on nature”.

The emperor has a new consultation on “how to achieve net zero while maximising growth”. It’s obvious, the emperor wants an excuse to bin the already inadequate measures to avert catastrophe by pretending it is too expensive. If you care about the future you are “anti-growth”. Never mind the cost of failure.

Who would have thought the Conservative empire could find a leader even worse than the last one. This is utter madness. The emperor is parading down down the street with no clothes on and we all look stupid. It is time to recognise reality, change direction AND our government.

Council tax freeze

Our group of councillors intends to freeze the Teignbridge share of council tax next year in response to the cost of living crisis. The council tax you pay is collected by Teignbridge, but less than 10% is used to fund Teignbridge services, the rest going to police, fire, most to Devon county Council and some to your parish council if you have one.

Teignbridge has seen many millions of pounds per year slashed from central government funding with the loss, for example, of revenue support grant and there continues to be uncertainty on future local government funding. Maintaining services and balancing the books continues to get harder so it will not be easy to achieve the freeze. The £5 increase in council tax this year brought in around £242,000 to help protect and maintain Teignbridge services.  

With the energy crisis adding financial pressure to our community, already suffering from economic, transport and employment problems because of covid, brexit, austerity and global heating, we want to do what we can to help with the cost of living.
District Councillors Andy Swain, Charles Nuttall, 

Local elections, including Dunchideock Parish council

In May next year there will be local elections. This is a chance for our community to choose who will represent us in Teignbridge, and to choose who will run our Parish Councils.

The Parish Council is the most local level of government. Parish Councillors are volunteers with a wide variety of ages, experiences and skills to bring. It is a real opportunity to contribute to the life of the community by helping to organise and fund local events, commenting on local planning applications and taking responsibility for working with other parts of government to try to make our communities better. It can also bring challenges of course and I hope Dunchideock can find a council that will work well together, and with others.

If you would like to know more about what is involved in being a councillor, or how to apply, or if you need help with any other local matter, we are happy to help. Feel free to contact us.

Thank you

District councillors Andy Swain., Charles Nuttall, Alison Foden and County councillor Alan Connett

Using planning to reduce landfill

We are still working to get a policy in the next Teignbridge local plan requiring developers to use cut and fill where possible to accommodate surplus materials on site. This incentive would reduce the need for inert landfill sites which are damaging and unpopular with communities. Developments which ignore this policy and export large quantities with Devon County expected to provide landfill sites, would be more likely to be refused.

A good example of this is the A382 Jetty Marsh link Road in Newton Abbot which Teignbridge recently agreed to partly funding. This is part of a wider strategy to improve the connection from Newton Abbot North to the A38 at Drum bridges. The upgraded link road has good walking and cycling provision helping to join the active travel Network from Newton Abbot towards Dartmoor. Built into this proposal is the use of inert fill material from the adjacent housing development to form the level of the new link road. Just the sort of thing we want to encourage with planning policies.