New retirement flats approved

Town planners have recommended approval of the building of 51 retirement flats in Douglas Avenue.

They had previously rejected the development after an officer’s report said that Seacroft Hall, the main building at 8 Douglas Avenue, should not be removed.

However, after developers McCarthy and Stone submitted amended plans, the town council has now approved the building’s demolition.

Seacroft Hall is a Victorian villa situated among a number of smaller buildings, which were previously residential halls at Rolle College.

Planners had already approved the demolition of the other buildings on the site, and this week deputy mayor Sandy Sutton said it did not make sense to keep Seacroft Hall on its own.

Cllr Sutton said: “I really think that it’s a bit like Custer’s Last Stand, where everything else has gone and this should remain - and I don’t think it’s going to work.

“That house needs to be removed for this development to take place.”

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McCarthy and Stone had addressed previous concerns about drainage by offering to contribute to the cost of sewer improvements.

Although the plans were supported, councillors expressed concerns that the proposed 24 parking spaces would not be enough for staff and visitors to the new flats.

The council also requested that the names of the current Fulford and Courtney buildings should be preserved in the new development as they had local significance.

The plans will now be decided by East Devon District Council.