2024 community share offer
2024 community share offer

BRIEFINGS PLANNING & PLACE

New Exeter Local Plan outline draft consultation

Our guide to Exeter City Council's consultation as well as the national planning system reform threatening major changes that would require significant revision to the new plan before its submission to the planning inspectorate.

Exeter city council Exeter local plan Liveable exeter Planning policy St james neighbourhood plan Exeter development fund

, updated

A consultation on the outline draft version of the new Exeter local plan, which will guide development in the city until 2040, began on 26 September. It was due to run for ten weeks until 5 December, then was extended to 19 December.

Responses were invited via a dedicated website which encouraged respondents to use emoticons and choose from pre-selected options to express their views, alongside per-policy text boxes.

The website also allowed the submission of PDF and image responses including maps, charts and plans.

A development site allocations summary was provided with a site allocations map as well as the documents which the council proposes as the new plan’s evidence base.

All these web pages have since been taken down.

Responses to the outline draft plan were also invited at a series of events at which summary boards were displayed and council planning officers were available to answer questions. These ran from 3 October to 1 December.

The new Exeter local plan will replace the city’s 2012 Core Strategy and the policies saved from the 1995-2011 Exeter Local Plan First Review when it is adopted.

It is intended to facilitate the Liveable Exeter property development scheme, and the Exeter Development Fund which is intended to deliver it, by providing a scheme-focussed “vision and framework for the future development of the city”.

County mineral and waste plans also form part of Exeter’s planning policy framework, as do Supplementary Planning Documents (SPDs) which provide additional guidance.

Exeter’s SPDs will be reviewed in the context of emerging Exeter local plan policies as well as ongoing changes to the National Planning Policy Framework, but not directly as part of the new local plan development process.

Neighbourhood plans, produced by local groups, also form part of planning policy frameworks. Exeter’s includes one such plan which covers the St James area.

An existing evidence base also supports and informs local planning policy development.

Exeter City Council outline draft local plan site allocations

Exeter City Council outline draft local plan site allocations

The timetable for the preparation of the new local plan is set out in the Local Development Scheme, which was last updated in June 2021:

  • September 2021: an initial consultation framed the content and scope of the plan
  • September 2022: the resulting outline draft plan has been published for a public consultation running from 26 September to 19 December
  • February 2023: a revised detailed draft plan (the “publication” version) will be published for formal comments (“representations”) on its legal compliance and soundness
  • June 2023: the resulting detailed draft final plan will be submitted to the planning inspectorate with formal comments and supporting evidence
  • October 2023: a planning inspector will examine the submissions, hold plan examination hearings, propose changes (which may entail further consultation) then produce a final report
  • June 2024: the final plan will be adopted.

Only those who submit formal comments at the revised detailed draft plan publication stage can attend and take part in plan examination hearings.

The council has been saying that an additional round of public consultation will take place before the draft final plan will be submitted to the planning inspectorate, however the formal development scheme does not mention this stage and would need to be changed to accommodate it.

As the publication version of the plan is currently supposed to be ready in February 2023, a deadline the council cannot meet, it appears the plan delivery timetable has already slipped.

Plan preparation progress is set out in annual monitoring reports, while periodic statements set out the city’s five year housing land supply position.

The 2021-22 progress monitoring report was published at the end of last year.

At the same time as Exeter prepares its new local plan, national planning system reform is on the way based on ideas which survived the failure of the 2020 planning white paper.

The government subsequently published its 2022 Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill, parts of which it claimed would give “local leaders and communities the tools they need to make better places”.

The Town and County Planning Association disagreed, describing it as a “decisive shift of power to Whitehall” which includes the removal of existing rights in relation to the planning process and new powers for the government to change the system through secondary legislation and override local planning policy in decision-making.

The Local Government Association has published a useful analysis of the bill’s planning provisions.

New detailed design codes are also expected, which can be used to set stringent standards in much greater detail than planning policy documents.

They can cover environmental and energy efficiency standards, walking and cycling infrastructure specifications and public realm requirements, among many other development delivery details, and are expected to come into force before the new Exeter Local Plan is adopted.

The levelling-up bill was expected to reach royal assent in spring 2023, with secondary legislation to follow in 2024 and a transition period to allow “new style local plans” to be “delivered and adopted in waves” scheduled for completion by 2027.

However the bill’s status was cast into doubt under Liz Truss, who appointed yet another secretary of state to run the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, the eighth holder of the post under the Conservative administration.

The growth plan announced during her brief premiership reasserted the government’s intention to turn the planning system upside down. Changes included planning deregulation to accelerate development which appeared to put affordable housing provision and environmental protections at risk in new “investment zones”.

The zones have since been scrapped, following Michael Gove’s reappointment as levelling-up secretary in new Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s cabinet. His return has meant a revival of the erstwhile bill and a more moderate approach to planning reform than was expected under his predecessor.

However one key change that was announced under Liz Truss that could have major significance for Exeter has been retained: the abolition of the housing delivery targets central government imposes on local authorities.

Michael Gove initially said he intended to retain the targets, but as many as 100 Conservative MPs have since supported amendments to the levelling-up bill aimed at their abolition as well as reform of the five year housing land supply rule.

He subsequently confirmed that the government would amend the bill to water down the targets in a letter to Tory MPs.

The extent of prospective national planning system reform remains unclear. It may well alter the policy framework so much that the version of the new Exeter local plan that was presented for consultation last autumn could need significant revision before it is submitted to the planning inspectorate for examination.

Whatever happens next, Exeter should remain concerned about becoming a politically-palatable location for mass housebuilding. It is far from both red and blue walls and held by a Labour incumbent.



Recent stories
Exeter Science Park main building

SPECIAL REPORTS  ⁄  ECONOMY & ENTERPRISE

Council sinks additional £1.25m into struggling Exeter Science Park as company unable to repay £7m debts

Serial scrutiny failures continue as emergency meeting held to increase city council exposure to joint venture to more than £2 million on top of £450,000 project costs plus £950,000 guarantee but rescue plan risks repeating earlier strategic mistakes.

Illustrative view of development beside Gabriel's Wharf

ANALYSIS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Revised Water Lane redevelopment plans submitted for outline approval

Application for up to 980 dwellings and up to 320 student bedspaces with 40,000m2 of other uses on ex-industrial site between railway embankment and Exeter Ship Canal obfuscates numerous key issues.

Exeter City Council 2023-24 unaudited statement of accounts cover image

NEWS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Annual inspection period begins as unaudited 2023-24 city council accounts published

Special information access rights enabling residents to examine records apply until 12 July as two preceding years' accounts still not signed off and auditor's inquiry into council governance and financial and performance management continues.

Exeter St Thomas station access

NEWS  ⁄  TRANSPORT & MOBILITY

Exeter St Thomas improvement bid rejected as Devon denied step-free access funding for five years

Two-thirds of Access for All money to go to Conservative seats as low-key Department for Transport announcement finds its way into constituency-level news stories and political PR across the country.

Howell Road garage student block illustrative elevation

NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Howell Road garage for sale a week after student block redevelopment plans granted at appeal

Developer denied he would 'spin in and spin out and take my profit' at planning committee that approved 'backstop' plans for nine flats on site, saying student block was 'what we want to build'.

Howell Road garage

NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

26-bed Howell Road garage site student accommodation block allowed at appeal

St James Neighbourhood Plan community balance aims discounted and council policy and evidence deemed insufficient in inspector's decision to overturn planning committee refusal.

On Our Radar
More stories
Exeter Academy English language school in Sylvan Road, Pennsylvania

ANALYSIS  ⁄  TRANSPORT & MOBILITY

Plan to convert language school to nursery to test credibility of city council active travel policy

Exeter Academy sits near top of steep hill 250 feet above city, far from accessible bus and rail routes, but developer claims local plan compliance in 'demonstrably sustainable location' which is 'conducive to sustainable modes of travel'.

Corner of Fore Street and West Street with St Mary Steps church in the background

NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Developers claim council planning committee refusal was 'if not malevolent, certainly misguided'

Appeal against decision to deny fifth additional storey in build-to-rent scheme above Crankhouse Coffee accuses councillors of seeking to 'appease the weight of objectors' orchestrated opinion' against amendments to eleven year-old consent.

Exeter City Council ballot share by ward 2016 to 2024 line graph

ANALYSIS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Exeter bucks national trend as Labour support falls 6% and party loses vote share in all but one ward

Independent group, Greens and LibDems all take seats and Conservatives increase share in four wards as Labour stays in control of council after close call in Mincinglake & Whipton, holds in key battlegrounds and third Topsham win.

, updated

Exeter City Council 2024 local elections results party seat distribution

BRIEFINGS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Exeter City Council 2024 local elections results

The votes cast for each candidate with vote share and vote share change by party in each ward, plus turnout and the distribution of seats.

, updated

2024 Exeter local elections guide graphic showing current council seat distribution

ANALYSIS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

2024 Exeter local elections guide

City council elections take place on Thursday 2 May. Our comprehensive guide covers who's standing where, wards to watch and the backdrop to this year's ballot, which promises to be the most unpredictable contest in years.

Exeter Labour 2024 campaign leaflet

COMMENT  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Council raids community fund for £6 million to pay for eight year-old food waste collection promise

Emergency decision to finance materials reclamation facility investment taken less than a week before 2024 local elections campaign officially began.

Spotlight
Spring 2024 community share offer

Exeter Observer celebrates five years of local public interest news publishing

Invest in our Spring 2024 community share offer to help us deliver all the independent journalism Exeter needs and make it five more.

All topics

ACCOUNTABILITY & TRANSPARENCY ACCOUNTABILITY & TRANSPARENCY ACCOUNTABILITY & TRANSPARENCY   ACCOUNTABILITY & TRANSPARENCY ACCOUNTABILITY & TRANSPARENCY ACCOUNTABILITY & TRANSPARENCY   AIR QUALITY AIR QUALITY AIR QUALITY   COP26 COP26 COP26   COVID-19 COVID-19 COVID-19   CITYPOINT CITYPOINT CITYPOINT   CLIFTON HILL SPORTS CENTRE CLIFTON HILL SPORTS CENTRE CLIFTON HILL SPORTS CENTRE   CLIMATE CRISIS CLIMATE CRISIS CLIMATE CRISIS   CO-LIVING CO-LIVING CO-LIVING   COMMUNITY INFRASTRUCTURE LEVY COMMUNITY INFRASTRUCTURE LEVY COMMUNITY INFRASTRUCTURE LEVY   CONGESTION CONGESTION CONGESTION   COUNCIL TAX COUNCIL TAX COUNCIL TAX   CROWN ESTATE CROWN ESTATE CROWN ESTATE   CYCLING & WALKING CYCLING & WALKING CYCLING & WALKING   DEMOCRATIC DEFICIT DEMOCRATIC DEFICIT DEMOCRATIC DEFICIT   DEVON & CORNWALL POLICE DEVON & CORNWALL POLICE DEVON & CORNWALL POLICE   DEVON CARBON PLAN DEVON CARBON PLAN DEVON CARBON PLAN   DEVON COUNTY COUNCIL DEVON COUNTY COUNCIL DEVON COUNTY COUNCIL   DEVON PENSION FUND DEVON PENSION FUND DEVON PENSION FUND   EAST DEVON DISTRICT COUNCIL EAST DEVON DISTRICT COUNCIL EAST DEVON DISTRICT COUNCIL   EXETER AIRPORT EXETER AIRPORT EXETER AIRPORT   EXETER CANAL & QUAY TRUST EXETER CANAL & QUAY TRUST EXETER CANAL & QUAY TRUST   EXETER CATHEDRAL EXETER CATHEDRAL EXETER CATHEDRAL   EXETER CHIEFS EXETER CHIEFS EXETER CHIEFS   EXETER CITY COUNCIL EXETER CITY COUNCIL EXETER CITY COUNCIL   EXETER CITY FUTURES EXETER CITY FUTURES EXETER CITY FUTURES   EXETER CITY LIVING EXETER CITY LIVING EXETER CITY LIVING   EXETER CLIMATE ACTION HUB EXETER CLIMATE ACTION HUB EXETER CLIMATE ACTION HUB   EXETER COLLEGE EXETER COLLEGE EXETER COLLEGE   EXETER CULTURE EXETER CULTURE EXETER CULTURE   EXETER DEVELOPMENT FUND EXETER DEVELOPMENT FUND EXETER DEVELOPMENT FUND   EXETER LIVE BETTER EXETER LIVE BETTER EXETER LIVE BETTER   EXETER LOCAL PLAN EXETER LOCAL PLAN EXETER LOCAL PLAN   EXETER PHOENIX EXETER PHOENIX EXETER PHOENIX   EXETER PRIDE EXETER PRIDE EXETER PRIDE   EXETER SCIENCE PARK EXETER SCIENCE PARK EXETER SCIENCE PARK   EXETER ST DAVID'S EXETER ST DAVID'S EXETER ST DAVID'S   EXETER CITY CENTRE EXETER CITY CENTRE EXETER CITY CENTRE   EXTINCTION REBELLION EXETER EXTINCTION REBELLION EXETER EXTINCTION REBELLION EXETER   FREEDOM OF INFORMATION FREEDOM OF INFORMATION FREEDOM OF INFORMATION   FRIDAYS FOR FUTURE EXETER FRIDAYS FOR FUTURE EXETER FRIDAYS FOR FUTURE EXETER   GENERAL ELECTIONS GENERAL ELECTIONS GENERAL ELECTIONS   GUILDHALL GUILDHALL GUILDHALL   HARLEQUINS HARLEQUINS HARLEQUINS   HEART OF THE SOUTH WEST LEP HEART OF THE SOUTH WEST LEP HEART OF THE SOUTH WEST LEP   HOUSING CRISIS HOUSING CRISIS HOUSING CRISIS   LGBTQIA+ LGBTQIA+ LGBTQIA+   LIBRARIES UNLIMITED LIBRARIES UNLIMITED LIBRARIES UNLIMITED   LIVEABLE EXETER PLACE BOARD LIVEABLE EXETER PLACE BOARD LIVEABLE EXETER PLACE BOARD   LIVEABLE EXETER LIVEABLE EXETER LIVEABLE EXETER   LOCAL INDUSTRIAL STRATEGY LOCAL INDUSTRIAL STRATEGY LOCAL INDUSTRIAL STRATEGY   LOCAL ELECTIONS LOCAL ELECTIONS LOCAL ELECTIONS   MAKETANK MAKETANK MAKETANK   MARSH BARTON MARSH BARTON MARSH BARTON   MET OFFICE MET OFFICE MET OFFICE   MID DEVON DISTRICT COUNCIL MID DEVON DISTRICT COUNCIL MID DEVON DISTRICT COUNCIL   NET ZERO EXETER NET ZERO EXETER NET ZERO EXETER   NORTHERNHAY GARDENS NORTHERNHAY GARDENS NORTHERNHAY GARDENS   OXYGEN HOUSE OXYGEN HOUSE OXYGEN HOUSE   PARIS STREET PARIS STREET PARIS STREET   PARKING PARKING PARKING   PENINSULA TRANSPORT PENINSULA TRANSPORT PENINSULA TRANSPORT   PLANNING POLICY PLANNING POLICY PLANNING POLICY   PRINCESSHAY PRINCESSHAY PRINCESSHAY   PROPERTY DEVELOPMENT PROPERTY DEVELOPMENT PROPERTY DEVELOPMENT   PUBLIC CONSULTATION PUBLIC CONSULTATION PUBLIC CONSULTATION   PUBLIC HEALTH PUBLIC HEALTH PUBLIC HEALTH   PUBLIC PARKS PUBLIC PARKS PUBLIC PARKS   PUBLIC REALM PUBLIC REALM PUBLIC REALM   PUBLIC TRANSPORT PUBLIC TRANSPORT PUBLIC TRANSPORT   RAMM RAMM RAMM   REFUSE & RECYCLING REFUSE & RECYCLING REFUSE & RECYCLING   RETROFIT RETROFIT RETROFIT   ROYAL DEVON NHS TRUST ROYAL DEVON NHS TRUST ROYAL DEVON NHS TRUST   SIDWELL STREET SIDWELL STREET SIDWELL STREET   SOUTH WEST EXETER EXTENSION SOUTH WEST EXETER EXTENSION SOUTH WEST EXETER EXTENSION   SOUTH WEST WATER SOUTH WEST WATER SOUTH WEST WATER   SOUTHERNHAY SOUTHERNHAY SOUTHERNHAY   SPORT ENGLAND LOCAL DELIVERY PILOT SPORT ENGLAND LOCAL DELIVERY PILOT SPORT ENGLAND LOCAL DELIVERY PILOT   ST JAMES NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN ST JAMES NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN ST JAMES NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN   ST SIDWELL'S COMMUNITY CENTRE ST SIDWELL'S COMMUNITY CENTRE ST SIDWELL'S COMMUNITY CENTRE   ST SIDWELL'S POINT ST SIDWELL'S POINT ST SIDWELL'S POINT   STAGECOACH SOUTH WEST STAGECOACH SOUTH WEST STAGECOACH SOUTH WEST   STUDENT ACCOMMODATION STUDENT ACCOMMODATION STUDENT ACCOMMODATION   TEIGNBRIDGE DISTRICT COUNCIL TEIGNBRIDGE DISTRICT COUNCIL TEIGNBRIDGE DISTRICT COUNCIL   TRANSPORT POLICY TRANSPORT POLICY TRANSPORT POLICY   UNIVERSITY OF EXETER UNIVERSITY OF EXETER UNIVERSITY OF EXETER   WATER LANE WATER LANE WATER LANE  

More stories