As EDDC struggle to rush through the Local Plan before the May 2015 election, they may be interested to know that Strategic Housing Market Analysis (SHMA) recommendations can be challenged.
The SHMA for East Devon is being undertaken by David Couttie Associates of Huddersfield. They have done many across the country, including the one for Oxfordshire which caused a stir recently when it suggested 100,000 new homes across Oxfordshire over the next twenty years. David Cameron’s constituency is of course, Witney, Oxon.
The West Oxfordshire District Council (WODC) website has this report from Cllr Warwick Robinson, WODC Cabinet Member for Planning:
“The SHMA is an important part of the evidence base for the Local Plan but does not of itself set the housing target. It does not take into account limitations on development which may be imposed as a result of environmental constraints or issues related to congestion and local infrastructure. These are also critical factors which need to be taken into account when setting a housing target having regard to how much development can be sustainably accommodated and where it should be located.
We are very keen to move forward with our Local Plan as it guides our future development including the provision of new homes. It was our intention to finalise the plan last year, but in light of national planning policy and the revocation of the south east regional plan it became evident that we would have to defer its publication to allow the findings of the SHMA to be taken into account.
If we had proceeded with the Local Plan without a thorough analysis of the recommendations and implications of the SHMA, we could have been subject to legal challenges by developers.”