Developer’s appeal to build 36 flats in Sidmouth dismissed

Devon County Council closed Green Close Care Home to cut costs

Devon County Council closed Green Close Care Home to cut costs - Credit: Archant

A developer’s appeal over its bid to demolish a Sidmouth care home and build 36 sheltered housing apartments for the elderly has been dismissed.

Churchill Retirement Living's plans for Green Close

Churchill Retirement Living's plans for Green Close - Credit: Archant

Churchill Retirement Living took its case to the Planning Inspectorate after East Devon District Council (EDDC) failed to decide on its application within the allotted time.

Its plans, for the site of the closed 23-bed former Green Close care home, were approved in November subject to a £41,000 contribution towards ‘affordable’ housing.

But the two sides were subsequently unable to agree on an ‘overage’ clause that would have seen Churchill share half of any profits with EDDC that exceed the former’s current forecasts.

Planning inspector Thomas Bristow said: “I accept the proposal would be beneficial in resulting in additional sheltered housing accommodation in East Devon, in supporting employment during construction, and as future occupants would make use of nearby services and facilities.

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“I have also taken account of the various reports submitted by the appellants related to housing older people, which highlight the importance of housing provision for an ageing provision.

“However, the support accorded in general terms to enabling housing delivery is not at the expense of ensuring that all development makes appropriate provision for affordable housing.

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“Moreover, as there is no dispute over whether the council are presently able to demonstrate a five-year housing land supply, the development proposed cannot be said to be necessary to meet housing requirements as they stand in East Devon.”

Town councillors had slammed Churchill’s £41,000 offer towards off-site ‘affordable’ housing as an ‘insult’ to Sidmouth – claiming the developer stood ‘make millions’ from the development.

EDDC accepted Churchill’s viability assessment showing it could make no more than the ‘relatively modest contribution’, but tried to impose the overage clause in case its profits exceeded expectations.

Mr Bristow found in the council’s favour and refused planning permission.

Churchill acquired the site from Green Close owner Devon County Council subject to planning permission.

A spokesman for the firm said it is considering its options.

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