Proposals to build a new 40-home estate at Pankhurst Close, in Littleham, are a step closer after town planners backed the plans.

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The proposal would see the homes arranged around a series of new cul-de-sacs and built along with eight commercial units.

The site is east of Pankhurst Close and the buildings are formerly the site of an engineering firm and East Devon Shell Fish’s processing facilities. Applicants Pankhurst Fish Limited say that of the 40 homes, 25 per cent will be classed as affordable and managed by Cornerstone Housing Association – but town councillors say that doesn’t cut it.

At the town council meeting on Monday they asked that the numbers be increased to 16, 40 per cent affordable.

The Pankhurst site is adjacent to the area earmarked in the draft East Devon Local Plan for 350 homes, as part of Clinton Devon Estates’ Plumb Park development.

Councillor Alison Greenhalgh said: “The factory has been empty for years and there seems to be no flooding concerns and no adverse ecological affects.

“At the moment there is a lot of Tarmac.

“The argument is that there would be less flooding because, with gardens, there would be more drainage.

“And the argument goes that there would be less traffic than when there was a factory with people driving to work every day.

“I would like the amount of affordable housing to increase to 40 per cent (16).”

Councillor Steve Gazzard said: “My concern is that more housing will have a knock-on effect on sewage and drainage in others parts of the town.”

Councillor Richard Turner said: “I would like us to put pressure on SouthWest Water to produce a report on sorting out the sewerage problems. The whole system is overworked.”

Councillor Sandy MacQueen said: “We need more housing in Exmouth and we need more affordable housing in Exmouth.

“The area looks an absolute disgrace; it’s in an appalling state. There are houses on either side and it would look an awful lot better with housing.”

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