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Derelict land to be transformed to deliver new homes

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Regeneration projects in Devon and Torbay have been awarded more than £8.4 million of government funding.

The Devon and Torbay One Public Estate Partnership has announced that it has received £7,056,470 of Brownfield Land Release Funding (BLRF), and £1,360,474 of Self and Custom Build Grant funding to help drive economic recovery.

Councils are supported through the One Public Estate programme to deliver initiatives which create economic growth by unlocking land for new homes and jobs; providing new opportunities to save on running costs or generating income funding; or transforming services.

The Devon & Torbay One Public Estate partnership is made up of 10 local authorities (Devon County Council, East Devon District Council, Exeter City Council, Mid Devon District Council, North Devon Council, South Hams District Council, Teignbridge District Council, Torbay Council, Torridge District Council and West Devon Borough Council) as well as the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership, Devon & Cornwall Police, Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service, the NHS, and South Western Ambulance Service.

Councillor Rufus Gilbert, our Cabinet Member for Economic Recovery and Skills, said:

“The Devon and Torbay OPE Partnership has successfully received the full amount of its bid in this latest round of funding, highlighting the benefits of working closely together. All of these schemes will regenerate and redevelop sites to open up opportunities for housing and economic growth as we look to ensure a strong recovery right across Devon.”

The successful bids for BLRF Funding are:

Exeter City Council –
Exeter City Council has been awarded £5,966,470 for the following sites:
• Cathedral and Quay car park
• Mary Arches car park
• Bonhay Meadows
• Belle Isle
• Exeter Canal Basin

Councillor Laura Wright, Deputy Leader of Exeter City Council, said:

“This is excellent news for Exeter. This funding will help kick-start some very innovative housing projects which have been identified for key strategic sites in Exeter. We need to create more quality homes in the city but, to protect the greenfield ridges surrounding Exeter, we need to prioritise building on previously developed brownfield sites. So it is excellent news that the funding is now in place to further progress these important schemes.”

Torbay Council –

Torbay Council is receiving £675,000 for the redevelopment of Brixham town centre multi-storey car park and £415,000 to carry out groundworks at Torre Marine.

The multi-storey car park was demolished in 2004. It is hoped that this funding can help deliver a scheme that will see up to 70 residential units built on site. The project will address the aspirations of residents by bringing forward more affordable housing in the area. The new housing will be built without the loss of any car parking spaces, delivering on Brixham’s Town Centre Regeneration Strategy.

Torre Marine has been the subject of various planning consents over the years but none have been delivered. The funding will be used to try to develop a viable scheme to build 78 Assisted Living care units to be maintained and managed by a registered provider. The aim of the project is to address an under supply of extra care units within Torbay, helping to reduce waiting lists for such specialist accommodation and improving health outcomes for residents.

Councillor Steve Darling, Leader of Torbay Council, said:

“It is fantastic that Torbay has secured this funding to allow us to hopefully accelerate the development of these two key sites, if initial investigation works go to plan. In Torbay this summer we have seen record numbers on our housing waiting list and a severe shortage of care accommodation. The lack of housing supply has created a housing crisis in Torbay, therefore a project to accelerate the building of new housing is great news for our residents and local community.”

The Self and Custom Build Grant Funding has been awarded to:

Teignbridge District Council –
Howton Field £585,474
Orchard Lane £275,000

Teignbridge District Council Executive member for housing, Councillor Martin Wrigley, welcomed the funding:

“Custom and self-build homes are an attractive option for many people so receiving funding to cover some of the high infrastructure costs on these council owned sites is welcomed. Our plans for 10 – 20 custom build homes at Howton Field near Newton Abbot are well advanced with planning permission already achieved.

“The Orchard Lane site at Dawlish was highlighted in our recent local plan sites option consultation and so any building would be subject to the outcome of that consultation, member consideration and approval as well as planning permission being sought for around six affordable custom or self build homes. If approved, some of the funding would enable us to offset the open space loss by improving play equipment on a nearby site.”

North Devon Council –
Bicclescombe depot £500,000

This government grant is going to enable North Devon Council to deliver the necessary groundworks and infrastructure to release the former Bicclescombe Depot site in Ilfracombe for up to 15 serviced building plots, including affordable housing. It is a great opportunity to open up a site to local residents to build their own homes, but it needs this up-front investment to make it suitable for housing.

There are over a hundred people on North Devon’s register seeking suitable building plots so there is demand for this type of opportunity. Once the Council has secured outline planning permission and delivered the infrastructure, individual serviced plots will be made available for those wishing to physically self-build their own home or those who wish to commission a new home that is delivered by professionals on behalf of new homeowners following a collaboration between a developer and an owner to design or customise their home to suit their individual needs.

North Devon Council’s Lead Member for Economic Regeneration, Councillor Malcolm Prowse, says:

“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to bring this site back to life and offer local people a chance to build their own homes. This site has long been a thorn in our side due to the complications on site making it unviable but thanks to this government investment, we can finally overcome all of those hurdles to the benefit of the community and the local economy.”

Almost £58 million has been allocated by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) to councils across the country to develop brownfield land into quality housing to help people onto the property ladder while transforming derelict local areas.