Further consultation proposed for future housing needs on Torbay

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(Last Updated On: July 8, 2022)

Options for how Torbay could continue to address the housing crisis are likely to go out for further public consultation this autumn.

Cabinet members meeting next Tuesday will be asked to agree that a minimum six-week period of public consultation on the next stage of the Local Plan begins in September.

Torbay’s Local Plan shows how Torquay, Paignton and Brixham will grow over the coming years and this update focuses on providing housing.

Consultation took place at the beginning of the year to determine which of the growth options put forward by officers were most acceptable.

On the basis of the government’s methodology, Torbay needs 600-720 new homes a year.

Cabinet are set to challenge the government’s method for calculating how many homes are needed, as it believes the methodology fails to take account the significant environmental impact delivering this volume of homes will have. Despite this, there is a significant demand for affordable homes in Torbay.

The council is looking at halving the government target to 300 homes per year, seeking to balance the affordable housing need alongside the environmental impact.

This leaves a shortfall of at least 300 each year and the recommendation is that Torbay will have to ask neighbouring councils to help meet the same.

The consultation sets out a proposal to focus upon regenerating brownfield sites and promoting intensified development in town centre and waterfront locations, including the need for taller and more dense delivery in areas like Torquay town centre, harbourside and waterfront, and in Paignton and Brixham town centres.

The proposal also sets out that some greenfield sites should be considered to meet the demand for affordable housing, but it seeks to protect the area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB) around Brixham. There is also the recognition of the need for two transit pitches for travellers.

Councillor Steve Darling, Leader of Torbay Council, said: “We’re in the midst of a housing crisis with a shortage of properties for a growing number of people who need temporary and permanent accommodation.

“We have more than 1400 households on the council’s housing waiting list.

“We take this demand seriously and are doing all we can to find solutions. One of these is looking at how we manage the growth of new homes.

“The government targets are damaging to our environment, disregard the fact we are coastal and the targets are undeliverable. That’s why we are determined to lobby government to protect our Bay.

“As part of the next stage of consultation, residents will be asked which of the sites they think are suitable, balancing the need for addressing this urgent housing demand with environmental concerns.”

Councillor Mike Morey, Cabinet Member for Infrastructure, Environment and Culture, said: “The consultation will seek views on which of the sites or clusters of sites are acceptable to bring forward.

“It’s vital we get feedback from members of the public. We had more than 1,500 responses when we carried out our first round of consultation on this plan earlier this year.

“We are keen to hear from those of all ages, from within a range of housing situations – having a place to call home matters to everyone and we need your input to find the right balance in Torbay.”

Read the report that summarises the feedback on the previous consultation, and recommends the next steps of the updated Local Plan.

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