North Devon Council could look to establishing a 5,000-home ‘garden village’ to meet house-building demands from the Government.
Speaking to the Gazette, North Devon Council leader Des Brailey said a new village – complete with infrastructure – should be considered as part of the council’s plans for growth over the next 30 years.
The settlements, which can have anywhere from 1,500 to 10,000 homes are meant as new communities rather than developments on the edge of existing ones.
Councillor Brailey said such a settlement would go some way to North Devon providing its share of some 300,000 new houses expected each year in England.
He said: “One thing we do need to look at in future is how we manage Government expectations for housing.
“I believe we should perhaps be more radical and look at opportunities that a garden village would bring.
“I’m not suggesting any particular area but if we take something around 5,000 – I know people will baulk at that – if we were able to build all of the infrastructure like schools and medical facilities, houses and work ventures in one area – I think that will be quite beneficial.
“It could all be put in in one go as opposed to adding on bits in an existing town.
“All of this requires a lot of planning and it also requires us getting the feeling of residents and ensuring that they are accepting of this way forward. If not we’ll have to change again, but clearly we can’t stand still.”
The Government announced the first locations for garden villages in January 2017, which included Culm, a plot of land east of junction 28 of the M5.
A larger settlement with more than 10,000 homes – a garden town – is slated for Taunton.
Councillor Brailey said the council’s executive had already visited Taunton to look at its plans for growth, but stressed the town is ‘completely different’ to North Devon.
“This is a wonderful area and there is lots to offer people, and at times I think we under sell it.
“We don’t want to turn it into a concrete jungle, but we do need to move forward.”