Deaf academy plan for Rolle site backed by Exmouth councillors

Image of the proposed main Exeter Deaf Academy building at Exmouth's Rolle College site.

Image of the proposed main Exeter Deaf Academy building at Exmouth's Rolle College site. - Credit: Archant

Plans to convert the former site of Rolle College into the new home of Exeter Deaf Academy have been supported by town planners.

Members of Exmouth Town Council’s planning committee discussed the application for the site in Douglas Avenue at their meeting this week.

While councillors raised some minor concerns, they were broadly supportive, and voted in favour.

Councillor Maddy Chapman said: “It’s educational, which is what we want the site used for.”

Councillor Bill Nash said he was concerned that a proposed pedestrian access at the north west corner of the site could be dangerous, but that he would be in favour of a suggestion that a metal barrier be put in place, which would stop children rushing straight out of the gate into the road.

He said: “Cars come round at a very fast rate. It’s thought to be extremely dangerous to have an access on to that road, particularly if they are hard of hearing.”

Cllr Nash also recommended that proposed brightly-coloured ventilation shafts in the roof of the building should be painted a less striking colour.

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Having initially expressed concern about whether members of the community would be able to use facilities on the site, such as the theatre, committee members were pleased to read in the application that there was potential for this to happen.

However, Cllr Nash warned that extensive work would be needed on the Owen Building, where the theatre is located, owing to its deterioration since the site was vacated by Plymouth University in 2008.

The deaf academy’s plan is to refurbish the Owen Building, and to construct a new teaching building and new student boarding accommodation.

There will also be a new multi-use games area.

Many of the educational buildings at the western end of the site would be demolished.

The listed Eldin Building, and the surrounding conservation area, would remain unaltered

The site would cater for up to 80 youngsters aged four to 25.

East Devon District Council will make the final decision regarding planning permission.