NEW housing is set to go ahead in Shebbear, Winkleigh, Dolton and Halwill Junction after the joint local plan for North Devon and Torridge finally received approval from a planning inspector, writes Daniel Clark, local democracy reporter.

Planning Inspector Wendy Burden has judged the North Devon and Torridge Local Plan 2011-2031 to be ‘sound’. It will now be taken to a joint meeting of both councils to be formally adopted.

The plan includes proposals for 28 new houses and new employment units at Lake Workshops in Shebbear and 60 new homes and expansion of existing businesses in Winkleigh. In Dolton, there will be 45 new homes and a village car park, while in Halwill Junction there will be 30 new homes, additional employment units at Station Road and a village bowling green and tennis court.

Overall, the proposals set out plans for 17,220 homes across northern Devon over the life of the local plan, along with the provision of a minimum of 85.1 hectares of land for economic development.

Lead Member for the Local Plan at North Devon Council, Cllr Jeremy Yabsley, said: ‘It’s fantastic for all officers and councillors who have been involved with the development of the plan that we have finally received the inspector’s report on our joint local plan – it means that all the hard work has paid off. It’s the first time a local plan has been prepared jointly with Torridge District Council and it has worked well as we are such close neighbours with common issues.

‘The plan contains all the visions and policies that we have agreed for the future of northern Devon.

‘I’d like to thank the public for getting involved with the plan’s development through our extensive public consultations. The comments received have helped to make the plan what it is today.’

Lead Member for Planning at Torridge District Council, Cllr Peter Watson, added: ‘It is excellent news that the inspector has recommended that the councils can progress to adopt the joint local plan.

‘We now really look forward to being able to get the plan in place and to start making use of it for the benefit of our communities and to shape how the area develops.

‘Working jointly with North Devon Council to prepare the plan has been a real success, allowing us to share expertise and experience, whilst ensuring that we deliver a coherent plan to cover the whole of northern Devon.’

The councils have been working together on the development plan since 2006, but it was not until 2013 that the draft local plan went out for consultation. Further consultation took place in June 2014, March 2015, later in 2015 and early 2016. It was submitted to the Secretary of State in June 2016, with further public hearings in November and December 2016 and January 2018.