Developer dismayed by Ottery schooling cash demand

PUBLISHED: 11:39 26 April 2009 | UPDATED: 09:03 18 June 2010

A CASH demand to boost Ottery s schools could have cast doubt over a controversial bid to transform part of the town s Marist Convent.

A CASH demand to boost Ottery's schools could have cast doubt over a controversial bid to transform part of the town's Marist Convent.

Developer Sea Valley Property Ltd was "dismayed" by a £63,129 "educational request" from Devon County Council (DCC) over its plans to build four townhouses, eight apartments, a shop and office on an acre of land at the Broad street site- adding the request might render the project "uneconomical".

The proposal has already drawn several letters of objection from local residents after it went on show earlier this month.

County council bosses warned last year that both Ottery's schools had "reached the capacity of the educational infrastructure" and will suffer the consequences of new housing developments in the town.

However, in a letter to DCC in January, a Sea Valley Property representative argued the properties would be occupied by "older residents not likely to have children" and said: "We understand that the calculation of the contribution is triggered by an excess of pupil over-capacity at local schools. In this regard the current fully funded building work at Ottery Primary School is planned to bring extra capacity over and above the current pupil role and is planned to be completed this year.

"As our development in all likelihood will not be completed before the school intake in 2010 and quite possibly a year later, we argue that this school will not have a shortfall of places as a result of this development."

"The combination of open space and education contributions are both a surprise and in magnitude, potentially make the site uneconomic for us to develop."

"During months of discussion with East Devon District Council planners both prior to and after we acquired the property this requirement was never mentioned."

The developer forked out £905,000 for the site last summer.

DCC did not comment on its response to Sea Valley Property's objection but a spokesman told the Herald: "Our experience suggests that families have tried to move in to Ottery St Mary to access the education provision provided in the area."

"The County Council has a statutory responsibility to provide sufficient pupil places in its schools and therefore is required to provide additional places prior to the need for them.

"The planning of these places takes into account the additional pupils generated by housing development and therefore developer's contributions are requested based on the information at the time of the planning application.


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