Plan for homes at Exmouth’s Doyle Centre site rejected

PUBLISHED: 17:35 06 November 2017 | UPDATED: 17:35 06 November 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 and care facility in Exmouth have been rejected by district planners.

At their most recent meeting, members of East Devon District Council’s (EDDC) development management committee refused permission for the scheme, which would have seen 10 homes built on the former site of the Doyle Centre, Norton Place.

The site was previously used as a health and social care facility, as well as office accommodation for health and social care staff, by Devon County Council, before closing in 2013.

The land is designated in the East Devon Local Plan for employment and community use, but the developer had argued that they should be allowed to build a housing development there, having had an independent report produced by a chartered surveyor which argued that using the site for commercial purposes would not be viable.

However, EDDC officers had recommended refusal, saying that the site had not been marketed sufficiently to demonstrate that the site could not be viably retained for employment or community purposes, while the need for such spaces in the area had increased.

The Local Plan says that sites used for employment and community purposes should be retained unless strict criteria are met.

These include that ‘options for its retention for employment/community uses have been fully explored without success for at least 12 months’ and that there is ‘a clear demonstration of surplus supply of land in the locality’.

Speaking after the meeting, development management committee chairman Councillor Mike Howe said: “Following a good debate over the report in which councillors considered the views of officers, the community and representations from the applicant, councillors decided to accept the officers’ recommendation.

“There is an essential need to protect employment and community spaces in our district, which is vital for ensuring that our communities remain vibrant, viable and able to meet the needs of residents in line with the aims of our Local Plan.”

Exmouth Town Council’s planning committee had previously opposed the application, with its members saying that the employment land at the site should be protected.

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