I was at the meeting of the East Devon Local Plan Panel at the Knowle in Sidmouth this morning (18th October). Following the work the panel completed on our villages and rural area last week, the emphasis today moved towards the challenges which we will face as our community grows older, particulalry the increased demand for healthcare and the need to plan for appropriate healthcare support for our existing population, any population increase and the change in the ‘age’ of our communities.
Guest speaker Tamara Powderley put the challenge in stark focus when she stated that the proportion of our population over 85 years old, was significantly higher than the rest of the country. She said that we are facing the challenges now that the rest of the country will face in twenty years time and that the proportion of our population over 85 will increase further.
What was perhaps not specifically addressed was the unique challenges we face in Trinity, with no major hospital within 30 miles and Exeter, Taunton and Dorchester equidistant…..Are you comfortable with the healthcare support to our area?
The press release from the meeting is below;
“PANEL HEARS ABOUT NEED FOR CARE HUBS AND FLEXIBLE HOUSING
Building with older population in mind
THE PANEL of Councillors working on a planning blueprint for East Devon this week heard about the importance of providing for an increasingly elderly population and how new homes should be flexible enough to cater for people with disabilities.
The need to provide affordable housing for young local families is still high on the list of priorities too.
Members working on a new Local Plan also discussed renewable energy and climate change, commented on the Government’s draft National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and indicated how they intend to inform local people about the latest blueprint for East Devon.
At Tuesday’s meeting of EDDC’s Local Development Framework (LDF) Panel, guest speaker Tamara Powderley from NHS Devon stressed the importance of supporting independent living for the elderly, as the proportion of East Devon’s over 85s looks set to rise steeply.
The meeting at EDDC’s Sidmouth headquarters was the latest in a series designed to produce a planning guidance document running from 2011 for the next 15 years to 2026.
Tamara Powderley said future planning policy should seek to introduce localised care hubs, where elderly patients could consult their GP as well as having access to social care and respite care.
She also urged councillors to encourage builders to use flexible designs in new homes so that walls and doorways could be moved or widened to accommodate people with mobility problems.
The new Local Plan will contain a chapter on Renewable Energy and Climate Change. On Tuesday, Panel Members heard about the importance of sustainable design and construction methods.
A report stated: “In addressing climate change and energy security, the planning process can not only reduce the risks, but can help to turn them into opportunities for local businesses, giving East Devon a competitive advantage and helping it to prosper in the future. The implementation of planning policy at a local level is crucial to deliver the radical reductions in energy demand and greenhouse gas emissions required to support the national transition to a Low Carbon Economy.
“Proposals for new development will be expected to demonstrate how sustainable design and construction methods will be incorporated, specifically, through the use of landform, layout, building orientation, massing and landscaping. The proposals must also demonstrate how the development will be resilient to the impacts of climate change”.
The Panel has agreed a two-page letter that has been sent to the Department for Communities and Local Government, setting out East Devon’s thoughts on the draft NPPF document.
Among the recommendations from EDDC are balancing the economic role of sustainable development with social and environmental considerations and greater emphasis on protecting the vitality of rural areas whilst conserving Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The letter asks for clearer guidance on how the Government will view ‘land supply’ – the stock of proposed development land looking five years ahead – and suggests that the Government’s insistence on a one-size-fits-all Local Plan could render the proposed Neighbourhood Plans irrelevant.
The LDF Panel will spend the next few weeks refining and firming up its proposals before once again engaging with the public during December and January.
The consultation strategy for the final draft will use advertising, press releases, Facebook and letters to key groups to make people aware of the opportunity they have to comment. There will be paper-based or online options for submitting feedback.
Councillor Mike Allen, Chairman of the LDF Panel, said after Tuesday’s meeting: “The LDF process is now much more transparent, with members of the public able to attend meetings and opportunities for some of them to speak. We have taken on board the comments of individuals, groups and parish councils. In the spirit of this improved openness, we will be inviting people to have a final say on the latest draft during December and January before the finished report goes to the Government later in 2012”.
Next week, the Panel will set out their vision for the right balance of homes, job creation and protection of the landscape in a volatile economic environment. The meeting is at the Knowle, Sidmouth, next Tuesday 25th October and starts at 2.00pm. Members of the public and press are welcome.