100 new homes for Sidmouth

PROPOSALS to develop up to 100 new Sidmouth homes have been revealed, dashing hopes of a park and ride scheme for the town.

PROPOSALS to develop up to 100 new Sidmouth homes have been revealed, dashing hopes of a park and ride scheme for the town.

Developer Persimmon Homes Ltd wants to build a "mixture of house-types with a strong emphasis on locally affordable homes" on land off the A3052 at the junction of Woolbrook Road and Sidford High Street.

Up to 60 per cent of the homes will be for rent, shared-equity or purchase though the Government's Homebuyer scheme, and residents can get a glimpse of the plans when they are unveiled at a public exhibition next Saturday (August 15).

Land to be use for the homes had been identified by Devon County Council (DCC) as a possible site to house a much-debated park and ride scheme for Sidmouth.

Sidmouth councillor Stuart Hughes has mixed emotions about the news.

He said: "In one way I welcome it in principle but in others it makes solving problems we already have in Sidmouth regarding traffic difficult.

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"Our number one priority is to provide local homes for local people. I welcome the additional houses that are proposed, and that many are affordable for our young people and first-time buyers."

Last week the Herald reported how first time buyers in Sidmouth are struggling to get onto the property ladder due to a lack of affordable housing in the town.

Cllr Hughes added: "The problem is if we keep building more houses there will be more cars, and the car parks we've got are being exacerbated as there isn't enough capacity.

"There certainly is a need (for housing) but at the same time we've got to address other issues in Sidmouth, and now have to look for another possible park and ride site.

"We looked at that site for the park and ride, but the land belongs to them (Persimmon Homes). At one point it seemed they were prepared to sell the land to us."

Cllr Hughes said the development will become "part and partial" of the Stowford Rise community and wants the planned Stowford Rise community centre to be handed a slice of any cash dished out by Persimmon to counteract its development's impact local infrastructure.

Proposals will be unveiled at the Francis of Assisi Church Hall, Bennett's Hill, from 10.30am to 4pm next Saturday.

A Persimmon Homes Ltd spokesman said the firm has been working closely with the Home & Communities Agency to bring forward the plans, which it wants to submit to East Devon District Council (EDDC) in September.

EDDC's development control committee will then decide if the development will become a reality.