Town council says no to Brook homes

PUBLISHED: 11:35 07 September 2012

Archant

Plans to build 52 homes near Withycombe Brook have finally been opposed by Exmouth Town Council.

Councillors had previously deferred their decision on the plans, to build homes between St Johns Road, Holland Road and Hadrians Way, to wait for flood and traffic reports.

However, despite a new flood risk assessment being approved by the Environment Agency, councillors at a planning meeting this week felt it did not take enough account of the floods earlier this summer, and have therefore formally objected to the scheme, despite a late amendment by the developers to up the number of ‘affordable’ homes on the site to 50 per cent.

Town ward councillor Steve Gazzard said: “I don’t think the reports have actually identified the problems of what we had recently and how this development is going to improve it.

“It’s not my ward but whatever happens at the top end of the area always comes down to the town ward and we have real problems.”

Withycombe councillor John Taylor said: “The flood report seems to concentrate on not letting water into the houses on site, never mind if it goes down the Brook, takes a bridge out and another garden disappears.”

As well as flood concerns, councillors voted to oppose the scheme on the grounds of overdevelopment of the site, pressure on utilities and sewage systems, impact on schools and health services, and the fact the scheme would be a departure from local planning policy.

At the meeting, Cllr Gazzard also said that, until upgrades are made to Exmouth’s infrastructure, the town could not accommodate large amounts of new housing

He said: “I think we’re getting to the stage of what I’d call saturation point of huge developments in Exmouth, and this is a big development.

“Until some authorities are prepared to improve the infrastructure the time has come to say no to any huge developments in Exmouth.”

The Brook homes plan will now be considered by East Devon District Council, which will make the final decision.

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