Marina flats proposal fails to win support from town council

MARINA residents applauded after town planners refused to back the new 14-flat Spinnaker Court development, labelled a monstrosity by one councillor, writes David Beasley.

MARINA residents applauded after town planners refused to back the new 14-flat Spinnaker Court development, labelled a 'monstrosity' by one councillor, writes David Beasley.

Moves to develop land adjacent Windward Court, Shelly Road, was recommended for refusal at the town's planning committee on Monday, following 50 letters of objection.

The land had been given outline planning approval by East Devon District Council in 1995, and resulted in the development of nearby Regatta Court.

Cllr Ian Stewart: "What we are being asked to consider is another monstrosity like Regatta Court.

"Originally, the application was for seven apartments and two town houses and we are now being asked to approve twice that. It is gross over-development."

Cllr Steve Gazzard was concerned there would be nowhere for cars to turn, it would be just metres from the sea wall, there would be little access for emergency vehicles and there is no provision for green space.

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Cllr Eileen Wragg, who does not sit on the committee but had permission to speak, said she feared a repeat of their previous experiences with Regatta Court: "...there has been no community benefit whatsoever.

"We have been promised toilets and showers. These were shown on early plans, and then they just disappeared."

She said the only reason for building 14 flats was because that was the upper limit before developers were required to build social housing - that, despite promises, had 'never materialised' with Regatta Court.

"We have lost confidence in the planning officer. We must put pressure on EDDC," she said.

Planning Chairman Lynne Elson backed an e-mail from the town council and she added: "Disappointment is not a strong enough word."

Deputy Mayor Sandy Sutton said: "There should be no more development there - no matter if there is planning permission, it should be overridden."

Andrew Hearn, of Windward Court, said: "When will reason prevail? Stop this latest planning proposal and revert to providing suitable seaside public facilities on this site for the benefit of all."

Cliff and Norma Stevens, of Windward Court, said: "Where will they park the extra cars?

"...they will park on the road, making it difficult for emergency vehicles to get through."

Jason Wakeham, of Madison Wharf, said: "The size of the building will diminish the views of the estuary."

Town clerk John Wokersien said the plans had produced at least 30 different points of contention from councillors.

The plans will now be decided by district planners.