Gary's News and views

Gary Streeter MP for South West Devon

Gary writes a weekly article which appears in the Plympton Plymstock and Ivybridge News in South West Devon. The articles are published here.


Friday, 11 September 2009


Maybe because there were two councils involved; perhaps because of last minute delays or because August was rapidly approaching, the decision on the new town at Sherford has not received as much publicity as it deserves. It has now got the go-ahead, although in a completely different format to that previously understood. It is 99.9% certain that the bulldozers will arrive on site within the next few months and certainly by March 2010. It is going to happen. Even though the developers and the planners remained locked in negotiations about the amount of cash to be pumped into the community (s.106 agreement), it is time to accept that this is going to happen; and soon.

Probably at the end of the construction in, say 7 years time, it will all look very much like the plans with which we have become too familiar. But the phasing of the project is poles apart to that which we had been promised. We were told that the town centre, the school and the road changes would be put in place first. That has all been swept away by harsh economic reality.

Now, starting next spring, 700 houses will be built in phase one at the Elburton end, of which only a small proportion will be “affordable”. Phase two, 18 months or so later, will see some of the infrastructure works begin to take shape and more houses to the north and the town centre begin to form. Then we will see some of the much needed facilities for the community including a sports hall and swimming pool. Somewhere along the way a school will appear, although what kind of school is yet to be thrashed out.

All the way through this process, my main concern has been the impact on existing communities, especially our already hard pressed transport systems. There will be improvements to Deep Lane, Stanborough Cross and the A379 into town, although the precise details and phasing of these works remains undecided.

With the future development of Langage as a giant business park, the possible incinerator near Lee Mill, and this new town, the east of the Plym is going to change beyond recognition over the next two decades. With river to the west, sea to the south and moor to the north, the only way Plymouth could grow was eastwards. After many years of talking, the gruesome reality of major change is about to hit us.

posted by Gary @ 11:04