Rolle homes shock


Rolle - Credit: Archant

One hundred new homes could cover almost the entire former Rolle College campus, with a ‘community hub’ idea reduced to just a single building under new plans.

But Rolle Exmouth Limited (REL), which has fought for seven years to turn the old college into a community, jobs and training hub, says it does not have to happen like that.

REL supporters say that if enough people say what they want, and take part in an upcoming consultation, most - if not all - of the site could end up in the hands of the community.

Next month, the site’s owners, Plymouth University, will exhibit two proposals for the seven-acre site, ahead of applying for outline planning permission.

One is for up to 100 homes, as well as sheltered housing and landscaping. This scheme covers around 90 per cent of the site and only two of the existing 11 buildings would not be demolished.

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The Eldin building would be refurbished for housing, and the Owen Building used for a new hub called ‘The Rolle Centre’.

Under both plans, REL’s vision would be limited to this building and a bit of surrounding land.

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The second option is identical, except that the 0.6 acres earmarked for sheltered housing would also be used for a community hub

However, despite the increased land for community use in this second option, almost 80 per cent of the site would still be developed.

Both plans are a far cry from what was published in 2012 by the university’s property managers, Grimleys.

Then, in a brochure, 60 per cent of the area was earmarked for the Rolle Centre, with just 40 per cent given over to housing.

But despite the plans, REL bosses insist that if enough people take part in the consultation, they could clinch a better deal for the town.

REL’s deputy chairman, Roy Pryke, said: “Plymouth University’s proposals are not the only options, of course - if enough people express their views and are determined to maximise this fantastic opportunity, then REL can build on that and seek to buy all or parts of the site for Exmouth.

“But we really need people to have their say and be clear about what they want. We can then make progress, conduct further fundraising and start to talk with potential developers about a new partnership approach.”

REL chairman Deborah Hallett said: “This is only an outline planning application, but it is critical that the community participates in the consultation. Securing outline planning permission is a critical step to move the project forward, but it is not necessarily what the final outcome will look like.

“We will put the case to the community and then to potential developers for what we believe should be the right mix between housing and the business, education and community aspects of the site.”

The public exhibition is 3pm-8pm on Friday, October 2, and 10am-2pm on Saturday October 3, at Ocean on The Esplanade.

? See story on page three.

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