Plans for economic growth take shape

Photo - planning officers looking at a site

Posted on: 18 January 2018

Ambitious plans for growing North Devon are taking shape.

North Devon’s councillors have attended two workshops to start looking at what sort of growth is needed and where it should go.

The area already has an ageing population but alarming demographic projections indicate North Devon will end up with a significant increase in elderly residents, and a reduction in those of working age. This is concerning because the local labour market is near full employment and a reducing workforce will limit the ability of local businesses to expand and grow. To address this, North Devon Council is keen to influence the demographic forecast and stimulate an increase in those of working age rather than a reduction. This requires a bolder, integrated approach to planning for economic growth by taking business needs into account alongside housing needs.

To help councillors decide the best way forward for North Devon, they heard from speakers who have taken an economy-led approach to housing growth in other places, including Exeter and Taunton.

Leader of the council Cllr Des Brailey says: “It’s clear that we need to be working on a long term plan to create a prosperous and sustainable future for North Devon. This is a plan that will transcend several council administration periods and to realise a positive result for North Devon, we all need to pull together to produce one vision which can galvanise everyone to achieve for the district.”

Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group Cllr Brian Greenslade says: “This is a step in the right direction and my colleagues and I will play our part in trying to deliver growth in North Devon. What is important now is to turn talking into action.”

Leader of the Independent Group Cllr Mike Edmunds says: “It is important that we work with schools and Petroc so our young people can gain the skills that will be needed to obtain the high quality jobs that we need to make North Devon a more prosperous area to live.”

Leader of the South Molton Independent Group Cllr John Moore says: “We’ve got a strong history of bringing economic growth into North Devon and I’m confident that by pulling together, we can meet this challenge and build on the excellent foundations we already have.”

The next steps are to agree the vision for North Devon, talk to key partners and stakeholders and to develop a delivery plan.

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Posted in: Democracy | Planning