Planning inspector grants application to demolish former Exmouth care facility and build ten homes

PUBLISHED: 14:19 14 February 2019 | UPDATED: 14:19 14 February 2019

The former site of the Doyle Centre in Exmouth, where new homes will be built.

The former site of the Doyle Centre in Exmouth, where new homes will be built.

Archant

A former health and care facility in Exmouth will be demolished to make way for ten homes after a Government-appointed planning inspector overturned a district council decision on appeal.

In her decision letter dated February 13, Mrs R C Kirby concluded Exmouth’s Trade Frames’ bid to demolish the Doyle Centre and build ten homes would not result in harm to employment and community opportunities in the locality – the reason district planners threw out the application.

The site, on Norton Place, was previously used as a health and social care facility, as well as office accommodation for health and social care staff, by Devon County Council, before closing in 2013.

At a meeting in November 2017, district planners refused a developer’s plans on officers’ advice that the site had not been marketed sufficiently to demonstrate it could not be viably retained for employment or community purposes.

Officers also argued that the need for such spaces in the area had increased.

The application was rejected, despite protests from the developer that they should be allowed to build a housing development there, having had an independent report produced by a chartered surveyor.

The report argued that using the site for commercial purposes would not be viable.

The developer appealed the decision, and a hearing was held on January 15 this year.

Upholding the appeal, Mrs Kirby’s letter said: “Since 2013, the appeal site has not been used for community or employment purposes, nor has it been used for any other use.

“It has remained vacant. It has therefore not contributed to social or community gathering opportunities or provided business or employment opportunities since that time.

“There is no evidence before me to suggest that this has had an adverse effect on the viability or vibrancy of the local community or that the community’s day to day needs have not been accommodated as a result.”

Applicants Malcolm and Kirsty Sansom, of Exmouth Trade Frames Ltd, said they were pleased with the result.

Mrs Sansom said: “We are delighted following exploration of various avenues to have finally received residential planning permission on this now derelict site.

“This battle to provide much needed domestic houses has been hard fought, with the appeals officer concluding that permission be allowed.

“In the short-term, this development will provide employment for local trades people and trade for local businesses.

“In the long term the proposed houses will provide dwellings for many generations of families in Exmouth.

“We consulted with the nearby residents of Norton Place who voiced their support for this development, and we look forward to working with them when work begins in due course.”

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