Homes planned for ‘worst possible spot’

North Somerset Council says it will not decide on major housing applications before a final housing

North Somerset Council says it will not decide on major housing applications before a final housing target is reached. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Land thought to be ‘safe from development’ could be earmarked for up to 55 new homes, sparking concerns over how Ottery will cope.

But Blue Cedar Homes - the company behind the bid to build at Slade Farm – says it is meeting a need to provide accommodation for East Devon’s growing elderly population.

The Herald revealed last week that the private retirement homes specialist had submitted a request to East Devon District Council (EDDC) for its proposals to be included as part of the local plan.

Blue Cedar’s planning manager, Bill Richardson, told the Herald numbers were not yet confirmed and that the company was in the process of meeting residents before issuing further details.

Speaking at a hearing on Wednesday about proposed changes to the East Devon Local Plan – a blueprint for development – Mr Richardson said: “A lot of our homes are built in smaller towns and villages. This allows older people to stay on there.”

He said EDDC had not gone far enough in addressing the housing needs of elderly people.

Blue Cedar representatives also met with Ottery Town Council this week.

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Speaking at a town council meeting on Monday, Councillor Roger Giles criticised the decision to meet with the developers and said he felt all communication should be held in public.

On the bid, he said: “My view is quite clear, that Ottery people said they wanted 300 houses.

“Within our community, the schools, the medical centre and the sewage works are all at capacity. How on earth is Ottery going to cope?”

He added that the additional homes would take Ottery’s total up to nearly 600 – double the 300 initially allocated for the town.

Mayor Glyn Dobson said: “We have sent a letter to the residents telling them all about it and we have had several responses to that. There is a lot of concern. We are taking people’s concerns on board for when an application is put in.”

Ruud Jansen Venneboer, of Mazzard Farm, said: “Surely Ottery must have gone far beyond its housing stock [allocation]?

“It could not be in a worse spot, with no access and in a place that I thought was more or less safe from any further development.

“It is not close to any access roads. Anyone getting there would have to go through the already congested Ottery roads.”