Developer sizes up Sidmouth site

A DEVELOPER has sized up a piece of Sidmouth land big enough to accommodate hundreds of new homes - over the road from where 103 dwellings are being built.

Persimmon Homes already has planning permission for a major development off Woolbrook Road, and this week admitted carrying out investigative work on a “significantly bigger” patch nearby.

A homeowner enjoying the peace and quiet in his adjoining back garden was shocked when an expert carrying out a wildlife survey told him plans for new homes could have been submitted this month.

Persimmon vowed no plans will be produced until the town has been consulted. Both sites are in a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

Woolbrook Road resident of 25 years Chris Rowe’s home backs on to the site. He was relaxing in his garden when he spoke to a man who claimed to be a representative of the firm.

“He told me he was doing a wildlife survey as part of Persimmon’s objective to apply for planning permission, which could happen in September,” said Mr Rowe.

Simon Perks, managing director for Persimmon Homes South West, told the Herald on Wednesday the land’s potential has been evaluated, but talks of a fresh planning application were “tentative” at most.

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He added: “We do own additional land around our Woolbrook development, and we are carrying out investigative work there to determine the potential for further development. However, we will not be preparing plans until significant public consultation has taken place and all infrastructure measures have been considered.

“The site is significantly bigger than the scheme we’ve got at the moment.

“If we were going to seriously think about it, we would hold informal discussions with the town council, residents and community groups.

That is nowhere near, we are focussing on building the 103 homes we have permission for.”