Developer targets 16 acres of AONB

A concept plan of the Bloor Homes site, east of Sidmouth Garden Centre. Image is taken from a report

A concept plan of the Bloor Homes site, east of Sidmouth Garden Centre. Image is taken from a report by planning consultants Turley submitted to the district council. - Credit: Archant

A developer has revealed its desire to build 100 houses on a swathe of Sidmouth’s Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

Bloor Homes has made a last-ditch bid to see its vision to transform 16 acres of farmland – outside of the town’s A3052 ‘boundary’ – included in a blueprint for the future of East Devon.

The firm has urged a government inspector to include three fields, situated between Sidmouth Garden Centre and Core Hill Road, in the latest draft of the district council’s Local Plan.

And in a separate move, Persimmon has called for its plot west of Woolbrook Road – which could accommodate more than 100 houses and a public transport hub – to be incorporated as well.

A concept layout of the Bloor Homes site submitted to East Devon District Council (EDDC) shows provision for around 100 dwellings - as well as allotments, an orchard and a play area.

The developer has argued that EDDC’s current growth target of 150 homes for Sidmouth over the next 16 years is insufficient to meet the town’s needs.

Consultants acting for the firm say that housing on their site would ‘contribute towards the delivery of much-needed housing for Sidmouth’.

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They say failing to provide the right type and quantity of new homes could lead to an ‘imbalanced community’ if young people are forced to look outside of the town for somewhere to live.

The land in question neighbours Sidmouth Garden Centre, but owner of the business Ian Barlow - who has previously championed the idea of an eco-friendly business park on the plot - said the proposed housing scheme was nothing to do with him as he does not own the site.

Mr Barlow said: “I have disagreed, and still disagree with building homes on that side of the road. I think the A3052 would have been a nice boundary to defend the AONB.

“There are other sites in the town that would be much more suitable.”

The submission by Bloor Homes will be considered by planning inspector Anthony Thickett.