water cycle study - Exeter and East Devon Growth Point

In February of 2009 the Exeter and East Devon Growth Point Steering Board appointed Halcrow,  a multi-disciplinary consultancy specialising in planning, design and management services for infrastructure development with offices in Exeter to undertake a Phase 1 Water Cycle Strategy, in line with Environment Agency guidance. The area covered by the study was:

  • The extent of the Exeter and East Devon Growth Point area (which includes the whole of Exeter city and strategic development sites in the western part of East Devon)
  • The rest of East Devon district
  • A small area to the south east of Exeter in Teignbridge district (identified as area of search 4c in the emerging Regional Spatial Strategy (RSS)

From the outset the Growth Point Steering Board aspired to water neutrality, whilst meeting EU framework targets on water quality and ensuring sustainable flood management over the longer term through collaborative planning and joint working with developers and key partners.

Scope and Outputs

The overall aim of the strategy is reflected in the key output which will be a strategy or plan that provides:

1.    Confirmation that all partners are working to the same growth assumptions and that the work already completed relating to environmental capacity is robust.

2.    In the context of the study, the identification of sustainable water management solutions, including a timeline for any strategic interventions required showing that in principle major infrastructure can be provided on time and in the right place to accommodate the required growth levels. The strategy will need to consider the likely impacts of growth (to 2026), climate change and legislative drivers (e.g. Habitats Directive and Water Framework Directive) on future water infrastructure need and environmental capacity.

3.    An evidence base to inform Exeter City Council's and East Devon District Council's Local Development Frameworks (including Core Strategies), including high level targets to inform development control policy to guide developers as to requirements.

Principles and Programmes

The following principles should guide the process:

Partnership and collaborative working. Where possible all sectors, public, private, community and voluntary, need to be actively engaged in order that their expertise, knowledge and enthusiasm is used to add value to the process and to foster collective ownership.

Holistic Approach. There are several planned strategic developments in the Growth Point.

Sustainability. The principles of sustainability, including the efficient use of land and resources, must be demonstrated.  The strategy must be sustainable and viable in environmental, economic and social terms.

The study was made up of four parts:

  • Stage 1 Appraisal

-       Review of related work already undertaken for the study area

-       Production of inception report (hard copy, electronic, web) on the deliverability of the strategy in terms of the brief, budget and timescales


  • Stage 2 Project Brief (prepared in conjunction with the client)

-       Constraints plan

-       Initial scope and method of consultations

-       Production of work stage report (hard copy, electronic, web)


  • Stage 3 Development of Strategy

-       Develop project brief

-       Consultation exercise

-       Production of work stage report (hard copy, electronic, web)


  • Stage 4 Final Stage

-       Finalise project brief

-       Production of final strategy

-       Presentation of strategy to steering board

Client: Exeter and East Devon Growth Point and Teignbridge District Council
Consultant: Steve Burge, Director, Halcrow