Plans for flats above ‘village hub’ in West Hill approved

A google street map view of McColl's in West Hill

A google street map view of McColl's in West Hill - Credit: Archant

Plans for eight apartments above West Hill’s ‘village hub’ have been given the green light.

The application for Potters Country Market, in West Hill Road, was approved by East Devon District Council’s development management committee on Tuesday, despite concerns it will affect the look of the village and its contribution towards affordable housing.

Alongside the flats, the plans sought for the demolition of the existing single-storey buildings on the site, while retaining McColl’s shop and the estate agents. A café is also planned for the ground floor.

The extension will be built in the car park, and parking will be provided for the flats, meaning the number of available parking spaces will drop from 45 to 19.

The scheme will see two floors of apartments built over the existing commercial units on the ground floor, with four apartments to a floor.

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Murray Ross, the agent on behalf of the applicants, told councillors that the existing building is outdated and a blight on the character of the village.

He added: “This will be a welcome relief and an improvement to the heart of West Hill and a valuable opportunity for the village to benefit from improved amenities and to provide homes.”

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Councillor Alan Cook, from West Hill Parish Council, said members supported the principle of redevelopment on the site but the application in its present form was unacceptable.

He said: “This affects the character of the village and a three storey building will be too dominant and overlook the village. There are no guarantees that the café that is due to provide a central hub will be provided and people are likely to be discouraged from buying the flats due to their small size and the fact there is nowhere to dry their washing or for children to play.”

He added that the number of car parking spaces left in the car park would be inadequate to serve the village shop and the café.

Cllr Paul Carter, the ward member, added his support for redeveloping the site but that the council should be aspiring to ‘do better’. He also questioned the affordable housing contribution of £12,210.

He told the Herald after the meeting: “No-one is against the redevelopment we were just looking for the best we could.”

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