'Could do better' finds appraisal

THE future of Topsham was up for discussion last week at a special exhibition. Residents were invited to give their opinions on the Topsham Conservation Area Appraisal document which looks at tackling the problems of the town.

THE future of Topsham was up for discussion last week at a special exhibition.Residents were invited to give their opinions on the Topsham Conservation Area Appraisal document which looks at tackling the problems of the town.The document will be used by Exeter City Council as a guide before giving the go-ahead to new developments.The consultation will end April 17 and go to the city council executive mid-June for a decision on the proposals. The main proposal is to extend the conservation area to include Station Road, Topsham Cemetery, the allotments, Elm Grove Road, Denver Road and Newcourt Road.This would mean any developments in the area including small works carried out by residents will be constrained by the conservation area's strict rules.The document is also proposing an Article 4 Directions for Topsham, meaning there would be extra restrictions on what work can be carried by residents such as preserving historic walls - which currently do not planning permission - and strict guidelines on replacing windows and doors.Margaret Butt, of the Topsham Community Association, said: "We review the state of Topsham and its environment once in a while."This document from the city council gives food for thought and we, including the Topsham Society, will be discussing the very informative document and addressing the issues it highlights."Those issues include the facts that Topsham, although it has a strong community and is of great historical importance, has poorly kept streets, historic walls which need repairing and a problem with poor quality modern developments.It suggested that the roads should be resurfaced, stone kerbs reinstated and signs either removed or condensed.The Matthews Hall area should be enhanced; paths, extra planting and seating should be provided for the Ferry Road area with information boards on the archaeological significance of Topsham and that the boatyard's railings should be beautified.Funding will come from the council's capital programme but as there is presently no budget, proposals are likely to be long term.To view the document or fill in the consultation feedback form for Exeter City Council visit www.exmouthjournal.co.uk to download the forms.Copies of the Conservation Area Appraisal are also available to view at the Exeter City Council building, Customer Service Centre, in Paris Street, Exeter.


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