Abele Tree House demolition and Budleigh flats plan is opposed

PUBLISHED: 06:30 28 January 2017

Archant

Controversial plans to knock down a town centre building, to make way for flats, have been opposed by Budleigh Salterton Town Council.

An amended application to demolish Abele Tree House, in Fore Street, was discussed at a planning committee meeting on Monday.

If given the go-ahead, the current building would make way for eight apartments with covered parking, a widened driveway and bin store.

The building’s current annex would also become a self-contained dwelling.

Councillors voted six to three to oppose the application on the grounds that it did not enhance the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and that it would harm the town’s conservation area.

Dr Anita Jennings, speaking at the meeting, reminded the council that two conservation officers had advised against the demolition.

Councillor Courtney Richards said: “The previous conservation officer said, ‘don’t knock it down’, the current conservation officer has said, ‘definitely don’t knock it down’.”

Cllr Richards also raised concerns about the width of the new building, saying it would increase by 50 per cent.

Cllr Alan Jones added: “I am concerned about the height of the building. If they kept it at this height, it poses a problem.”

However, district councillor Tom Wright told the council that there is a need for more flats in the town.

He said: “There is a need within Budleigh Salterton for flats for people who want to downsize and these flats would afford people that within a short walking distance of the town centre.”

Planning committee chairman Cllr Alan Dent added: “The benefits for flats in Budleigh Salterton near the town centre would be to release property elsewhere in the town.

“There is the question of a building which the Otter Valley Association wants to make a designated local heritage asset site.”

Mayor Chris Kitson also said that the people who have put the application together deserve merit for listening and responding to concerns from previous applications.

East Devon District Council will make the final decision on the plans.

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