Topsham care home plans 'smoke-screen' for more housing

PUBLISHED: 16:30 10 November 2015


A campaigner, determined to preserve Topsham's identity, claims a 60-bed care home plan is a 'smoke-screen' to build new houses.

Property developer Waddeton Park wants to build a 60-bed care home, a mix of assisted-living flats and age-restricted homes on the Exeter Road.

Jack Russell, Save the Topsham Gap group spokesman, has been campaigning to save the ‘green wedge’ between Topsham and Exeter.

Mr Russell said that, if planning permission were granted for the care home, the developers could move the goalposts by building anything on the site.

He believes any planning permission granted could be used to build luxury flats. The city council’s five-year building plan is not up to date, says Mr Russell.

He said: “The plans are a smokescreen. Waddeton Park is trying to build on everything. Exeter City Council’s chief planning officer told me once the developers have planning permission for the care home, they can change the goalposts.

“They can get over-55s into the nearest care home, and the developers then can build some expensive apartments - because if they get planning permission, they can do whatever they want.

“I think the proposals are a lot of greed. The developers want to exploit the council because of the five-year building plan.”

The Planning Inspectorate will hear the views of Exeter City Council and residents at Topsham Rugby Club between November 24 and 26.

Mr Russell is urging people to ‘stand up for the next generation’ at the public consultation.

He added the town had significant development under way, which he believed had led to increased traffic congestion and pollution.

The campaigner said: “I’m not opposed to a care home being built – I’m opposed to the developer building all over the green belt. Once green belt land is gone, it’s gone. If we carry on building on the green belt, then there won’t be any left for children to grow up on.”

The developers have submitted a fresh application to build a 60-bed care home, 47 assisted-living apartments and age-restricted dwellings on the Exeter Road.

Waddeton Park declined to comment.

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