DEVELOPERS are short-changing Devon by turning their backs on commitments to build affordable homes and play areas, it is being claimed.

Now a leading councillor is calling for what she calls the ‘deception’ to be stopped.

There are calls for closer scrutiny of large house-building projects to make sure builders keep their promises.

Teignbridge councillor Jane Taylor (SD Alliance, Kerswell-with-Coombe) will ask fellow councillors to support her when she speaks at a procedures committee next week.

She wants more transparency in the planning process, particularly around Section 106, the mechanism through which developers pay for community projects in return for permission to build.

She says that while councillors make decisions based on what is in front of them, the end product often ‘looks nothing like’ the approved application.

In a motion to the committee, she says: ‘It may change beyond recognition by a process of amendments.’

Planning officers may be able to agree amendments without the planning committee ever seeing the proposal again.

Cllr Taylor adds: ‘This is a well-established practice by developers which enables the plans to be passed and then amended so that the maximum profit can be achieved.

'It is called value engineering. I call it deception and it’s time it stopped.’

She claims the council is aware of the process, but goes along with it for fear of the consequences if they don’t comply.

She goes on: ’It is no secret that this council, along with many others, has an unhealthy dependency on the money provided by major housebuilders.

‘It is time to draw the line and take the first steps to breaking the cycle and distancing ourselves from this unhealthy relationship by sending a clear signal to developers.

‘We will not be bartering to build houses. Submit, approve, build.  We will no longer be engaging in planning ping pong.’

The motion says that any variation to planning conditions on all developments of 20 homes or more must be brought to the planning committee and not dealt with by officers.