A master plan for the allocation of 17,000 new homes to be built in North Devon and Torridge is set to be reviewed.

The joint North Devon and Torridge Local Plan was approved at the end of 2018 after 12 years in the making and shapes the future of housing in northern Devon up to 2030.

While a review is not required until five years into the life of the plan, North Devon Council’s (NDC) strategy and resources committee unanimously agreed to carry out a comprehensive review when it met virtually on Monday, November 2.

The review will be carried out in partnership with Torridge District Council.

Making the recommendation, Andrew Austen, head of place, said the changes in context since the plan was adopted, including declarations of climate and biodiversity emergencies, the impacts of Covid-19, funding for improvements to the North Devon Link Road, reforms to the Use Classes Order, proposed changes to the standard housing methodology and affordable housing thresholds and proposed significant reforms the planning system and the content of local plan, meant an early review was warranted.

NDC leader, Cllr David Worden, said: “It is timely we look at this as all the way through the goalposts have been changing and they have changed quite dramatically.

“It is important we work with Torridge and we need to be in partnership with the neighbouring authority.”

Cllr Malcolm Prowse added: “The sooner we start this, the better. We need to get on with the process to find some sites that are least damage to the environment that we don’t have at the moment, and getting on with it a must as otherwise we spend a lot of time defending the appeals.

“We need to look at how the zoning process may affect us as the present system is working at the moment.”

The committee agreed to recommend for council to commit to working in partnership with Torridge District Council to carry out a comprehensive review and update of the North Devon and Torridge Local Plan on a joint basis and to arrange member workshops to enable early involvement in identifying key issues and potential options to be addressed through a new local plan.