‘Let us build on your green belt’

13:44 20 February 2014

Archant

A DEVELOPER has urged a government inspector to allow hundreds more homes to be built in Sidmouth – and says the valley’s protected green belt should not be off-limits.

A Persimmon Homes representative this week told a public inquiry into the district council’s controversial Local Plan that it should be allowed to ‘extend’ into the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

The firm questioned the 150 dwellings currently earmarked for the town - at Knowle, Port Royal and the Manstone Depot - and said ‘affordable’ homes were needed.

It wants to develop a plot off Woolbrook Road, which district bosses have previously deemed big enough for 257 homes. However, the authority did not make the site part of its Local Plan - a blueprint for development until 2026.

Simon Coles, speaking on behalf of Persimmon, told inspector Anthony Thickett that Sidmouth needed a lot more dwellings.

He said: “Sidmouth is the second largest town in East Devon. But it has a very, very low allocation of housing stock. It is difficult to conceive that there will be just 150 units. I stand to be corrected, but I have seen no evidence of a market housing need [full-price homes].”

He said the council’s 2010 list of those who needed a home advised 415 ‘affordable’ properties were required - eight times the amount.

Mr Coles added: “The council has referred to the AONB as a constraint, and access to schooling being a constraint. East Devon is pretty much washed over with it [the AONB].

“The AONB hasn’t been a constraint to West Dorset, which has seen several hundred units and employment land allocated at Barton Farm, near Sherbourne [230 homes].

“And it’s not been a constraint to allow housing developments in the Cotswolds.

“So what we are saying is that the AONB isn’t representing quite the constraint that the council would have us all believe.

“In actual fact, Sidmouth has the potential to expand to meet not only the affordable housing needs, but also the need for local people to buy homes to able to live and work in the area. And they can do so by extending into the AONB.”

He said that contrary to concerns about education, Persimmon’s Woolbrook site was ‘very close’ to three schools.

“We say the allocation for Sidmouth doesn’t meet the needs of the town and that should increase by making a strategic allocation.”

The comments came when housing was being discussed at the 19-day inquiry into the Local Plan on Wednesday. Sidmouth will be singled out for specific attention on Tuesday, February 25, from 9.30am.

1 comment

  • Wonder why he didn't mention Persimmon's financial interest in the project. Entirely altruistic motives?

    Report this comment

    Alberic

    Thursday, February 20, 2014

Other News Stories

11:34
Gull

Sidmouth beachgoers will be saved from an airborne nuisance this year after the town council agreed to fund a new seagull management plan.

Read more
East Devon District Councillor Derek Button, who died last month after a lengthy fight with cancer.

Tributes have been paid to one of East Devon District Council’s most respected councillors

Read more
09:44
One of the opal and diamond rings taken from JBM Jewellers in Sidmouth.

Police are asking for residents to keep their eyes open for four unique rings following the burglary of a jewellery shop in Sidmouth.

Read more
06:36
Parking along Church Street, Sidbury. Ref shs 5888-04-15AW. Picture: Alex Walton

Parking problems in Sidbury have seen paving slabs and flower beds damaged - and even residents being trapped inside their properties, say police.

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 3°C

min temp: 2°C

Most Read News

Family notices
Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Submit a Story
Buy Photos
Competitions
iwitness24
Facebook
Twitter
Google Plus Page
Family Notices 24

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Sidmouth Herald e-edition today E-edition

Devon's trusted business finder