MORE than 100 people attended an event last Saturday, March 23, to discuss what the town would like to see in the event of expected future planning applications of between 750 and 1,000 new homes on the edge of Crediton.

The Crediton Community Conversation on The Land Use Framework entitled “Our future town - your chance to say” was held at the Boniface Centre.

It was organised by Sustainable Crediton’s Climate Action Team and Crediton Town Council.

The gathering heard that there are expected to be significant planning applications for homes on land owned by Devon County Council, a trust, and a number of other landowners between Fordton, South of Barnfield and Salmonhutch at Lower Park Farm and the surrounding areas, but as yet, plans have not yet been submitted.

It is expected that significant road networks will be incorporated, one suggestion being a potential by-pass for the town.

The meeting heard that the development area, if built upon, could see Crediton grow by a quarter or a fifth.

If Devon County Council moves the entire Queen Elizabeth’s School operation to the Upper School site, it is believed that Devon County Council could possibly build an additional 185 homes on the Lower School campus site.

It was noted that the revenue generated could significantly assist the strapped Devon County Council.

Discussion at the Community Conversation revolved around open spaces, energy, employment, shopping, biodiversity, travel, food production, amenities such as a new primary school and much more, in addition to the housing ideas.

Guest speaker was Georgie Barber, a Land Use Champion and the Land Use and Countryside Programme Lead at the Food, Farming and Countryside Commission.

She led sessions on Place, People and Public Value.

Dave Harris, part of the Sustainable Crediton Climate Action Team and Cllr Liz Brookes-Hocking, the Mayor of Crediton, led the programme for the event.

It included many discussions, facilitation, feedback, consolidation, next steps plus an explanation of the Land Use Framework and the relationship with Crediton.

It was noted that Crediton is one of the test centres for the Land Use Framework and that the land destined for housing is identified as such in the Greater Exeter Plan.

Some of those who attended the Crediton Community Conversation on The Land Use Framework.  AQ 8622
Some of those who attended the Crediton Community Conversation on The Land Use Framework. AQ 8622 (Alan Quick, Crediton Courier)

Many break-out discussions took place and everyone was invited to give their comments and contribute.

Feedback was collated and it is expected that this information will help councillors and planners in the future when deciding on forthcoming applications.

Dave Harris, said: “This is the start of the process of the vision of how we, the community want land used, rather than just housing as it has been in the past.

“Housing has always gone first but this is about the people of Crediton and the area around it setting the land for whatever use they would like to see.

“It is the start of a process of how working together can make life better.”

Cllr Brookes-Hocking said: “Today has produced some really original ideas and clearly people appreciate the possibility of a large area of open space which can have different functions than just enabling housing in the future.

“The Town Council really appreciates people turning up and working really hard on producing information which we hope will feed into our discussions with Mid Devon District Council and help us to update our Neighbourhood Plan.

“It means we will be able to feed ideas into Plan Mid Devon as it progresses.”

Mrs Brookes-Hocking said she appreciated the attendance of all of the town District Councillors and many of the Town Councillors, the Director of Place at Mid Devon District Council and many other representatives from the town.

• What do you think should be included if 1,000 homes are built adjoining Crediton?  Share your views with Courier readers. Email a letter to: [email protected] or post it to: The Editor, Crediton Courier, 102 High Street, Crediton EX17 3LF.