Council backs Ottery allotments homes plan
- Credit: Archant
Plans for a 31-home development on Ottery’s allotment site have won the support of civic leaders, despite a warning the scheme would ‘set up future problems’ for the town.
The proposal from developer Redrow includes a mixture of two, three and four bedroom houses - and 97 new allotment plots in an adjacent field.
Ottery Town Council refused to support the developer’s original application for 130 homes on land east of Butts Road in 2012 - but at a meeting on Monday, several councillors warned that opposing the latest plans could see the town lose out.
Members discussed a previous offer by Redrow to gift the current allotment site to the town - which they said was later withdrawn - and a more recent case where £230,000 in community cash for Ottery was halved.
Councillor Paul Carter said: “The fact that we only got half of the money that we might have got, and we didn’t get the allotments, was because we didn’t support [the previous application] as a council.
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“We have got to be realistic. I think last time we tried one way and I think this time we need to try a different way.”
Cllr Ian Holmes agreed and said: “Ottery needs allotments. We can’t do anything that might jeopardise us having allotments.”
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He said that if the town was forced to pay for new plots out of its own coffers, there would be no funds available for projects such as new public toilets planned for the Land of Canaan.
Mr Holmes added: “The only people who will be the losers if this is refused are the people of Ottery St Mary.”
But Cllr Roger Giles argued that although the allotments were important, the committee also had to consider what would be best for the town overall.
He urged colleagues to oppose the plans for a range of reasons which included the additional pressure the homes would bring on local services.
Mr Giles added: “All you are going to do is set up future problems for Ottery.”
Cllr Jo Talbot said it was wrong for the council to assume that the town was being ‘punished’ for not supporting the original application, adding: “I think we should stick to our guns.”
A proposal by Cllr Holmes to support the application, on the condition that the new allotments were guaranteed as part of a legal agreement, was passed by five votes to three.
A final decision on the application will be made by East Devon District Council.