Backing for new homes by Exmouth’s Withycombe Brook

PUBLISHED: 15:04 02 June 2017 | UPDATED: 15:09 02 June 2017

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Revised plans for a new housing development by Withycombe Brook have been recommended for approval by district planners.

A previous proposal for 52 homes to be built between St John’s Road and Hadrians Way won approval in 2013, however developer Highland Property Development then put forward a new plan last year, proposing the same number of homes in a different layout.

This was opposed by members of Exmouth Town Council, who said they were concerned that under the new layout ‘affordable’ homes were being split up from free-market properties.

However, a final decision is to be made by East Devon District Council’s (EDDC) development management committee at its meeting on Monday, June 12, and a report by the council’s planning department ahead of that meeting has said permission should be granted.

The report states: “The scheme has been amended from that previously agreed in 2013, this is because of the changes in the requirements of the housing association and the desire of the applicant to build higher quality homes.

“The scheme is well designed, allows for the incorporation of public open space and wildlife areas, and delivers important numbers of affordable housing.”

The report says that while the proposed site of the development, which includes public open space and cycle paths, has been earmarked for recreational use in the East Devon Local Plan, there is no reasonable prospect of this being achieved, as EDDC is not in a position to acquire and adopt the land.

The report adds: “It is the view of officers that [the plan] represents an appropriate, and likely only, means of securing public open space.”

The scheme has also previously faced opposition due to concerns about flood risk, however a report on the application by Devon County Council’s flood and coastal risk management team states that having received a detailed surface water drainage plan it has no objection.

A report by EDDC housing strategy officer Paul Lowe says that while the council would prefer the planned affordable homes to be better dispersed, it recognised that achieving this would mean a reduction in the number of such homes built.

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