Developer has 'duty to honour' doctor surgery promise

PUBLISHED: 08:27 11 March 2019 | UPDATED: 13:17 12 March 2019

King Alfred Way in Newton Poppleford. Ref shs 49 18TI 6523. Picture: Terry Ife

King Alfred Way in Newton Poppleford. Ref shs 49 18TI 6523. Picture: Terry Ife

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A decision on an application to build two new houses on land previously set aside for a new doctors' surgery in Newton Poppleford has been deferred.

The plans for King Alfred’s Way were discussed by the district council’s development management committee on Tuesday.

The new application has met with objections by residents and the parish council who said the developer had a ‘duty to honour’ building the surgery after securing permission to build 40 homes back in 2013.

Applicant Clinton Devon Estates (CDE) said it originally had ‘genuine intentions’ for the surgery, and councillors saw its inclusion as benefit of approving the 40 homes.

But plans changed last year when Ottery-based Coleridge Medical Centre withdrew interest.

Parish councillor Chris Burhop said he received conflicting information from two surgeries about the site, adding: “The parish council, representing the people of Newton Poppleford, believe the applicant, Clinton Devon Estates, have a duty to honour their promises to this committee.

“The parish council propose that the surgery is built and they take the surgery over as a community asset on the same basis as the existing small surgery in Newton Poppleford.”

Gill Cameron-Webb, from the Newton Poppleford neighbourhood plan steering group, said the application would contravene policies in the draft neighbourhood plan, adding residents felt ‘cheated and lied to’.

Amy Roberts, on behalf of the applicant, told the meeting: “This is certainly not a case of a developer saying anything to win the case for development. The estates genuine intent to deliver the surgery is clearly documented but the passing of time over the last five years and notably the changing financial fortunes of the NHS has resulted in Coleridge not requiring the surgery due to changes to NHS care and strategy of the premises.”

Deferring the decision, the committee called for evidence to be collected.

Councillor Brian Bailey said: “I also feel that the applicant and CDE have had the sprat of the surgery to catch the mackerel of the development, now CDE and the developer now have the mackerel and have taken away the sprat and to me that is dishonourable.”

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