Developers have no plans to change use of Knowle retirement flats like at Portishead

PUBLISHED: 07:00 17 October 2019

The Knowle council chambers at Sidmouth. Picture by Terry Ife. Ref mhv 2232-10-07TI

The Knowle council chambers at Sidmouth. Picture by Terry Ife. Ref mhv 2232-10-07TI

Archant

There is no plan to change a multi-million pound retirement community at Sidmouth to allow flats to be sold to people of all ages, developers have assured.

It comes after PegasusLife applied to change the use of a similar 126-flat retirement complex in Portishead, near Bristol. The move could potentially generate £1.2million.

Speaking to the Herald this week, the developer said it had no plans to do the same with the 113-home scheme at Knowle - East Devon District Council's (EDDC) former HQ.

PeagasusLife told the Bristol Post the move to try and change the use of the Portishead development was due to the other retirement complexes having been built in the district.

The developer said this meant there was no longer an appetite or need for such a facility at Marina Gardens, in Harbour Road.

The developer now wants to lift the age restriction and sell the flats on the open market, meaning anyone can buy one of the apartments.

A planning inspector overruled EDDC's decision to reject plans to allow a 113-home retirement community at Knowle, in January 2018.

During the appeal, concerns were raised because the scheme was classified as 'extra care', which meant Sidmouth would lose out on a potentially lucrative affordable housing contribution.

At the time, Councillor Cathy Gardner slammed the decision, saying PegasusLife had gained a £50million development to promote with no affordable housing contribution.

The deal is worth £7.5million to EDDC, which will use the money to pay towards its £10million relocation from Knowle to Exmouth Town Hall and a purpose-built HQ in Honiton.

The sale of the building is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

When approached for a comment by the Herald, a PegasusLife spokesman said: "The approved scheme at Portishead has a very different level of care requirement in terms of hours of care required and scope of what is included in the definition of care compared to the Sidmouth development.

"We have no plans to submit an application to remove the age restriction or change the use class at Sidmouth."

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