Plans to build 24 flats in the centre of Exmouth have been refused by East Devon District Council (EDDC) officers.

A proposal for an additional one-and-a-half-storey vertical extension to an existing rank of commercial units in the Magnolia Centre has been turned down.

The application was refused because its "design would harm the character and appearance of the area and the townscape and undermine the existing historic and architectural interest of the surrounding conservation area".

The site also has a high probability of flooding and "the application did not include the required 25 per cent affordable housing or enough justification for not having it".

Seven one-bed flats and 17 two-bed flats were proposed over two floors. A one-and-a-half-story extension will be built above the shops from the Devon Air Ambulance shop to Caffé Nero.  

The East Devon Local Plan states that 25 per cent of a development of this size and type should be earmarked for affordable homes, however, the applicant states that would make the proposal ‘unviable.

The application’s affordable housing statement added: “However, the applicant is willing to discuss matters with the Council and would welcome the opportunity to negotiate an appropriate provision based on the Council’s identified local need.”    

The planning application states: “The proposed creation of 24 flats contained within a new roof extension over the existing buildings will not have any detrimental impact on the character and appearance of the nearby Conservation Area, as the scheme will make use of a large extent of the existing building and will help to improve the vitality of the conservation area by bringing the building back into regular use. 

“The ground-floor frontage of the shops would have stayed the same, as will the first-floor storage area for the shops. More storage and loading/unloading space will have also to be built behind the shops.    

“The buildings and shops in the Magnolia Centre date from the mid-late 1980s.”  

The full application can be found on the East Devon District Council website HERE