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.


Thursday, 22 November 2012


Will the new town at Sherford (between Plympton and Plymstock) ever be built? It has been on the books since 2007 and despite promises of start dates ever since, there is no sign of the bulldozers moving in any time soon. Contrast this with the new town east of Exeter which is rising rapidly from the ground.

A quick update: the developers have more or less agreed the terms of a very complex planning agreement with the planning authority (known as a section 106 agreement) (which sets out all of the extra work they have to do, for example building schools) and this should be signed soon. I am told by the developers that they hope to start of site in the third quarter of 2013.

There is still much uncertainty over this. Global financial turbulence and stagnant property prices continues to dog this development.
The cost of upfront infrastructure is significant and the real issue is whether it is affordable in the current climate.

This is why I helped pull together a meeting recently between the developers and planning authority and the government housing minister- to try and overcome remaining obstacles. Ministers are keen to unlock some of these major developments that have become stalled. There are two reasons for this: first of all the recognition that we really do need these houses, especially the affordable ones and secondly that the delivery of these projects will be an enormous boost to the local and national economy.

Locally, we should have another reason for hoping that this new town does now finally take shape. If it does not, the future development of the urban fringe of Plymouth from Roborough in the north through Woolwell, Boringdon, Newnham, Langage, Elburton, Plymstock and Staddiscombe will take place on a piece-meal basis. Unless Sherford gets underway in the next 12 months, developers will be able to submit plans for hotchpotch development all over the urban fringe, rightly claiming that South Hams would have demonstrated itself incapable of meeting its housing targets.

Sherford has all kinds of town facilities designed into it: schools, health centre, sports centre and high street and even a vast community park. Random development elsewhere around the edge of Plymouth is much more likely to simply plop another 500 houses down here and there with no amenities built in.

Not only would this place our existing infrastructure under pressure, it tends to deliver unsustainable places to live.

posted by Gary @ 10:51