700 new homes planned for Topsham

PUBLISHED: 11:12 15 August 2011

Plans to build 700 new homes in Topsham have been submitted by developers.

The homes will be built on land between Topsham Town Football Club and the Exeter Golf and Country Club, along with a new primary school, doctors’ surgery, two care homes, a community hall, two new sports pitches, allotments, orchards and a market square, to form a community which will be known as Seabrook Orchards.

The new community will be accessed by two new road junctions from Topsham Road, and will incorporate cycle routes.

The land is owned by Dart’s Farm boss Michael Dart, and was previously the subject of controversial plans for a traveller’s site, which now appear to be defunct.

The developers held a public meeting in June to discuss the plans with residents, and have made some changes based on their feedback.

However, concerns have been raised that the new development will lead to increased traffic, and will reduce the distinction between Topsham from Exeter, causing the town to lose its identity.

The Topsham Society’s David Woods said: “One of our immediate concerns with this plan is the coalescence of Topsham and Exeter, as we are always keen to make sure that the green wedge between ourselves is maintained.

“Our other concern would be related to infrastructure – the Countess Wear roundabout won’t have the capacity to handle that much traffic, so I think we will end up with gridlock.”

Topsham alderman Mary Evans said she also had concerns, although she praised the developers for the way they had conducted themselves.

She said: “They’ve gone about it the right way, speaking to the residents first and then the council, and they’ve listened to what people have had to say.

“It will be tremendous traffic, and it’s true that it’s eroding the green wedge, but that’s life isn’t it – we’re all being taken over.”

The city council is now expected to take around three months to assess the plans, before deciding whether to grant planning permission.

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