Government are responsible for making sure we have enough houses to live in. This is set out in the National Planning Policy Framework and is delegated down to Councils and their planning departments to implement.
The Council are required to create a plan and must ensure they identify sites to build houses on so that we meet the needs of the population over the next few years. There is a tension here in that landowners and developers want to build houses, but that might overload the local infrastructure, and residents in general are keen to preserve their neighbourhoods.
Plymouth works alongside South Hams and West Devon Councils and makes a ‘Joint Local Plan’. This plan is developed in consultation with landowners, developers, communities… and Conservation Societies. Our Conservation Society held meetings with the Council’s Cabinet member in developing the latest plan. The Plan identifies areas to be preserved and areas to build on. The draft plan is then scrutinised by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Planning, who conducts further consultations and it is then approved. The Inspector makes sure the Council has correctly calculated the housing need, and has identified sufficient areas to build upon, also allowing for contingency. The latest plan covers 2014-2034 and was adopted by the 3 councils in 2019. It is reviewed every 5 years.
In major planning cases around Tamerton Foliot, The Conservation Society will take a position and are prepared to fund advice, surveys and the like to support what are considered to be the best interests of the village. In the Copleston Heights case (South Hams), we funded traffic surveys and were admitted to the appeal enquiry and gave evidence as a third party. South Hams chose their barrister for the appeal. Individuals are of course always welcome to put their own comments directly to the various council planners and where relevant, we are always interested to see these.
Here is an extract of the current Plymouth plan. Green are areas protected from building on, the deeper the green the more protection, and hatched areas are even more protected. Red is retail, brown is for building. Full details are on the Plymouth City Council website.
Overall then Tamerton Foliot is surrounded by protected green areas. That does not mean an application to build there is forbidden, but the fact that an area is protected will weigh significantly with planners in considering the application. We have in the last few years commented on applications to build along the creek, and next to Cann House – protected areas.
Local housing plans
Planning applications are found on the Plymouth City Council website. The Society looks critically at, investigates, the weekly list of applications and comments whenever these might affect the Conservation Area; buildings of interest and worth; strategic and local greenspace; traffic generation, access and safety; visual impact; natural habitat. Our comments may be to support, oppose or ‘no objection’ or simply no response needed.