Exmouth councillors still opposed to Doyle Centre homes

PUBLISHED: 12:11 01 August 2017 | UPDATED: 15:07 03 August 2017

The former site of the Doyle Centre in Exmouth, where new homes are proposed.

The former site of the Doyle Centre in Exmouth, where new homes are proposed.

Archant

Plans for homes on the site of a former health facility in Exmouth have again been opposed by town planners.

Members of Exmouth Town Council’s planning committee previously voted against the plan, for 10 homes on the former site of the Doyle Centre, Norton Place, in January, citing the East Devon Local Plan, which has allocated the site for employment or non-residential use.

In an attempt to win over planners, the developers have since had an independent report produced, which says using the site commercially would not be viable.

However, a majority of councillors at this week’s planning committee meeting were unimpressed by this, and voted to continue the council’s opposition.

Councillor Brenda Taylor said: “All that land up from Tesco was designated as employment land, and as far as I’m concerned that is how it should be. I would say this is out of order.

“I think we should abide by our Local Plan, otherwise we were wasting years and years of work if we go against it.

“You’re just opening the floodgates for the whole of that area to be developed.”

The report, by chartered surveyor John Read, says that there is no potential to use the site commercially, as this would adversely affect neighbours, there was no demand for the site when it was marketed, and the cost of new commercial buildings would be too expensive.

Supporting the application, Councillor Bill Nash said: “There are a lot of reasons this site isn’t suitable for commercial use. The position it’s in, access, surrounded by housing.

“It would appear from this report it has been marketed, but nobody has taken it up. Maybe it’s not that suitable.”

Speaking against, Councillor Maddy Chapman said: “I think as councillors for Exmouth we have to stick with our Local Plan.

“I don’t think it’s been marketed properly. We need to keep some employment land.”

Councillor Cherry Nicholas said: “I don’t feel it’s been robustly done. I know of one person, who is in healthcare, who originally wanted it, and was told ‘No, it’s going to be sold off for housing’.”

East Devon District Council will decide on planning permission.

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