City Science was commissioned to develop a Clean Growth Vision for future development in the ‘West End’ area of East Devon. This work informed the East Devon District Council Local Plan Review, through considering the overarching sustainable growth strategy for the area, considering spatial allocations, economic development, environment, energy, and transportation; underpinned by the requirement for growth to support delivery of net zero ambitions.
Devon County Council wanted to produce a Clean Growth Vision and strategic case for future development of the East Devon ‘West End’ Area. The vision and strategic case were required to consider Clean Growth assets and opportunities in the area, including Exeter Airport, employment sites, housing growth and key forthcoming infrastructure (e.g. heat network investment programme). The output of the document was required to inform the evidence of the Local Plan Review, including potential spatial allocations.
City Science Response
Baseline & Best Practice Review
We commenced with the creation and consolidation of a detailed evidence base, reviewing local economic activity, growth industries and sector specific analysis of growth and productivity. A local energy capacity and constraints review was performed, and a full analysis provided to identify net zero energy opportunities.
We produced a detailed local and national policy review to identify existing and future growth opportunities for East Devon as well as providing a clear gap analysis of where local policies did not yet reflect the wider government ambitions set out in strategies such as the Net Zero Strategy. This included our extensive summary of best practice case studies throughout the UK (including emerging Local Plans) and internationally, demonstrate pathways available for clean growth.
We undertook extensive stakeholder engagement including with key private sector companies in the East Devon region including Exeter Airport, Exeter University, Exeter College, Exeter Science Park and E.ON. We also liaised extensively with County Council and District Council officers and elected members, including the local MP. This process captured future sustainable growth and spatial allocation priorities in the study area, including how net zero could be achieved. As a follow on, we were also appointed to engage with local East Devon businesses on their views on green bonds or carbon credits for farmers and landowners, and look at potential alternative opportunities for land, less suitable for conventional development.
Utilising the evidence collated, we identified the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats for the stimulation of Clean Growth in the area. This was used to develop a Clean Growth Vision for the study area. In addition to a detailed technical report, we also produced a ‘glossy’ vision document which distilled the Clean Growth Vision into a visual and accessible brochure for stakeholders and investors.
The vision was defined by five key themes:
We also developed key opportunities and recommendations of future clean growth spatial allocations in the Local Plan Review (Figure 2).