New homes by Exmouth's Withycombe Brook approved

PUBLISHED: 14:56 19 June 2017 | UPDATED: 14:56 19 June 2017

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Revised plans for 52 new homes to be built by Withycombe Brook have been approved by district planners.

The scheme, for land between St John’s Road and Hadrians Way, was approved by members of East Devon District Council’s development management committee.

The scheme, which followed a previous plan for the site which came forward in 2012, was praised by councillors for having 50 per cent affordable housing, well above the 25 per cent required by council policy in Exmouth.

Concerns were raised that the scheme did not have sufficient ‘pepper-potting’, which affordable homes are interspersed with open-market properties, however councillors felt that the high quantity of affordable housing, along with other benefits, justified approval.

Councillor Brian Bailey said: “I’m delighted to see this scheme before us after a considerable period of time.

“I feel the developer has come back to the development management team, they’ve consulted, they’ve done all that has been asked of them as far as I can see, and it’s of great advantage to Exmouth that this proposal, I hope, will go ahead.

“We are desperately short of affordable homes, and this at 50 per cent is absolutely amazing, considering the time we live in

“The other thing which I’m very pleased about is the creation of a valley park. This area before was unavailable to the public, now it will be available to the public with a footpath running through.”

Councillor Steve Gazzard said that while he had concerns about a lack of funding for NHS services, flood risk and the proposed road access, the benefits of the scheme were enough to sway him.

He said: “I think this is a much improved plan than the original one in 2012. I think to get 50 per cent affordable housing is astonishing, and I really welcome that.”

Questioning the lack of pepper-potting, Councillor Ben Ingham said: “Pepper-potting is to avoid in the long term the creation of the ‘us and them’ mentality between residents.

“However convenient it is for applicants and for housing associations to come up with a cost-effective method, it’s communities that potentially suffer when we get this wrong.”

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