A Government inspector’s scrutiny of a highly controversial planning document recommending thousands of houses across East Devon over the coming decade, is set to start today.
The public examination of East Devon District Council’s Draft Local Plan 2006-26, is set to last 19 days.
During the proceedings the inspector will hear evidence from the council, community organisations, protest groups , landowners and developers in the district.
Over the last few years during which the plan has evolved campaigners have criticised the recommendation of 15,000 homes as well as the amount of employment land planned during the time period.
They have also accused the council of a “lack of transparency” of the process.
The inquiry will cover all aspects of the Draft Local Plan, looking at how the council proposes to tackle issues including affordable housing, employment, tourism and retail, climate change and the natural environment.
There will also be sessions focusing on each of the seven towns in East Devon.
The inspector’s role is to consider whether the council’s Local Plan meets the requirements of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 and associated regulations and whether it is sound in accordance with the guidance in the Government’s National Planning Policy Framework.
To be sound, the plan must be positively prepared, justified, effective and consistent with national policy.
Councillor Andrew Moulding, deputy leader and strategic development and partnerships, said: “Our Local Plan, like many others across the country, has generated considerable interest and debate.
“We have done our best to capture how people believe East Devon should develop over the coming years whilst aiming to comply with Government policy.
“Public examination of the plan offers another chance for supporters and objectors to present their cases but this time it will be an entirely independent body listening to those views.”
Full details of the programme, showing the dates and subject matter of each session, are available on the programme officer’s website at www.eastdevon.gov.uk/progofficer.