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Regional Engagement

Devon Housing Commission

The University of Exeter is part of the Devon Housing Commission: set up by Devon's 11 Local Authorities to address the broken local housing markets across Devon.

The Commission's purpose is to conduct an in-depth analysis of the various local housing markets and related socio-economic profiles, and model demographic change, to make the case for a step change in social and housing policy and pragmatic solutions to be delivered locally moving into the next decade.


Through in-depth socio-economic and demographic analysis and community and stakeholder engagement, the Commission will produce a report with recommendations to influence significant housing and social policy change and practical solutions that will start to address the broken local housing markets across geographic Devon.

What do you think?

We want to hear from you about the housing issues you face, how to solve those issues and how the Commission can make a difference.

The objectives of the Devon Housing Commission are as follows:

  1. Develop a clear picture of the problems across local housing markets and tenure types across geographic Devon with a wide range of engagement from communities, experts and partner agencies.
  2. Understand the future need for housing supply, tenure types and use that will aid the wider outcomes of prosperity, economic growth and social mobility
  3. Provide recommendations for social and housing policy changes required to respond to the crisis over the next decade
  4. Provide some practical recommendations that help to deliver on an improvement in use, supply and tenure type including improving the quality of the private rented stock in line with carbon plan objectives.

The following people have so far agreed to join the Housing Commission:

Lord Richard Best Chair
Cllr John Hart Leader, Devon County Council
Cllr Dave Thomas Leader and Housing Lead, Torbay Borough Council
Cllr Chris Penberthy Housing Lead, Plymouth City Council
Selaine Saxby MP North Devon
Prof Anna Mountford Zimdars Director of Centre for Social Mobility, University of Exeter
Keith Miller Deputy Chair, Cavanna Homes
Karime Hassan Former CEO, Exeter City Council
Judy Pearce Former Leader, South Hams District Council
Alison Ward Director Middlemarch Community Led Housing
Jacqueline Starr Incoming Chair, LiveWest Housing Association (and CE Rail Delivery group)
Charles Courtenay Earl of Devon

We are planning to focus meetings around particular themes. Our first meeting was a general introduction to the issues and then two site visits – one to Cranbrook and one to a community land trust rural scheme in Cheriton Bishop. These two very different schemes highlighted some of the different challenges that Devon faces.

Future themes will be discussed with commissioners but will likely focus on affordable housing, economic growth, health and housing. We are taking a particular interest at the moment on the impact of short-term lets on the private rented sector – a significant problem in parts of Devon with the growth of AirBnB-type holiday accommodation.


Matt Dodd
Head of the Devon Housing Commission