Joint Local Plan newsletter August 2021

This has been a busy six months for the JLP team as we continue to focus on delivering our Joint Local Plan policies and site allocations. In this edition we explore some of the key appeal decisions we have received, highlight the recently announced First Homes policy, explain our involvement in the Government Pathfinder programme and set out our approach to assessing sustainability.

Appeals Digest (April to June 2021)

Total appeals

  • Plymouth: 6
  • South Hams: 13
  • West Devon: 4

Appeals Dismissed

  • Plymouth: 3
  • South Hams: 6
  • West Devon: 2

Appeals Allowed

  • Plymouth: 3
  • South Hams: 7
  • West Devon: 2

The most common type of planning appeal is appeals against the refusal of planning permission. Appeals are determined by independent inspectors from the Planning Inspectorate (PINS), and offer a valuable indication of how other planning professionals understand and apply our adopted planning policies.

Of particular interest this quarter are the following appeals;

Eden Farm, Harberton, Totnes, Devon TQ9 6DN

The inspector agreed with the Council about how policy DEV15 (Supporting the rural economy) should be used when considering the location of new business premises in rural areas.

Whimbarn House, Road From Chipshop Inn To Millhill Quarry, Ottery, Tavistock PL19 8NS

The inspector agreed with the Council about which settlements should be considered as sustainable, and how this influences the location of new development.

70 & 72 Embankment Road, Plymouth PL4 9HY

The inspector agreed with the Council that the applicant had not done a sufficient amount of marketing for their retail unit before asking to convert it into residential accommodation. The Inspector also refused to accept the short-term impacts of the pandemic, or recent changes to the use class order, as justification for change of use.

First Homes

The Government has introduced a new type of affordable housing product, known as First Homes. From next year, councils should expect at least 25 per cent of affordable homes on eligible schemes to be First Homes. To count as a First Home the house must be sold for at least a 30 per cent discount and be sold to a first time buyer. Other eligibility tests include an income cap for potential buyers, and the price of the homes will not be able to be higher than £260,000. Local councils can introduce other requirements when they adopt new planning policies, although these will need to be accepted by an independent inspector before they are adopted. The discounts and eligibility requirements will remain on the house for ever. 

While developers may choose to provide them from 2022, we are unlikely to see any being permitted until later next year and they are unlikely to be built and available to live in before 2023. We will monitor interest in, and delivery of, this new product and continue to negotiate the most appropriate mix of housing types to meet local needs across the JLP area in line with our flexible policies and the adopted Supplementary Planning Document (SPD).

Assessing sustainability

At the July meeting the JLP Partnership Board agreed that work should begin to further understand and assess 'sustainability' and 'sustainable development' in our area.

This is to ensure that when we plan for development, such as houses or places where people work, we understand what the impacts are and if there are any ways we can make the development better.

We have already done lots of work on sustainability in the adopted JLP and our policies and proposals aim to help deliver better places. However since the adoption of the JLP some things have changed. For example COVID-19 has had a major impact on how people live and work, Government policy is changing and the effects of climate change are becoming increasingly known.

It is important that we fully understand the implications of these changes. We plan to   develop a simple and consistent assessment process that will help us to understand any positive and negative impacts of development policies and proposals. This will ensure ‘sustainability’ and ‘sustainable development’ are considered in the very early stages of any future plan review or update.

We will be sharing further work on this with you in the future but if you have any thoughts about this please do let us know by emailing

Pathfinder Project

The JLP team, working with specialist monitoring, mapping and data scientists across South Hams, West Devon and Plymouth, is working with the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government Digital Land team. We are testing how sites data can be translated into national standards and exploring how the 'Call for Sites' process can be simplified and standardised.  For more details, see our news article.

What will happen next?

Over the next six months we will be interpreting and then implementing any changes the Government brings forward to the planning system. We are focusing on monitoring and encouraging the delivery of our housing sites to ensure we continue to demonstrate a robust five year housing land supply. In addition, we want to understand the changes that the pandemic has had on the way we live, work and play. As a result, we will be starting to explore these key issues and what it means for our communities, our city, towns and local centres, our greenspaces, and pedestrian and cycle networks as well as our health and other community infrastructure.

To help us do this, we welcome Ed Mannings, our new South Hams/West Devon planning specialist, into the team.

Did you know we have an interactive JLP? Keep an eye on the 'news' page for further updates on the JLP as they happen as well as a link to all past editions of this newsletter!

If you want to get in touch with the JLP team please contact:

Jo Lee –

Grant Jackson –

Jo Perry –

Phil Baker –

Ed Mannings –

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