June 19 2013 Latest news:
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
A scheme to build 52 homes by Withycombe Brook has been approved by East Devon District Council.
The homes will be built between St Johns Road, Holland Road and Hadrians Way.
The plan had drawn strong opposition from neighbours to the site, and from Exmouth Town Council, which said it would be overdevelopment, and also raised concerns that the scheme could increase the risk of flooding of the brook further downstream.
However, the plan was recommended for approval by district planning officers, and councillors on the district council’s development management committee voted to support it.
Officers did concede that the homes were a departure from the draft East Devon Local Plan, which calls for the site to be an area for outdoor recreation and for a cycle path.
But they said that because of a lack of cash and ‘land assembly problems’, this was not feasible, and therefore the homes plan, which includes a cycle path, would be the best option.
Councillors were also told that the Environment Agency was happy with the developers’ flood risk assessment, and that the scheme would help address the “pitifully low” number of affordable homes in Exmouth.
The officers’ view was supported by a majority of councillors at the meeting, although Withycombe councillor Steve Wragg was not impressed, saying the plans were “poorly designed” and that the cycle track would be “just a concrete road through a housing estate”.
On the other hand, a spokesman for Cornerstone Housing Association, which will be working with the applicants on the 26 affordable homes included in the scheme, said it would be a “life-changing opportunity” for families.