Knowle planning inquiry gets under way

The Knowle Residents' Association has created this photomontage of how the PegasusLife development c

The Knowle Residents' Association has created this photomontage of how the PegasusLife development could look from Salcombe Hill - Credit: Archant

The five-day planning inquiry to decide the fate of a bid to build a 113-home retirement community at Knowle will begins today (Tuesday).

East Devon District Council (EDDC) defied officer advice in December 2016 to refuse planning permission to PegasusLife, in a deal worth £7.505million to the authority. The developer took its appeal to the Planning Inspectorate and an official will hear from both sides this week.

PegasusLife will claim that the development will not have a direct impact on Knowle’s listed summerhouse and that the scheme’s benefits outweigh any potential harm to the structure. There was also a dispute with EDDC about whether the scheme should be classed as C2, care accommodation, or C3, housing, and PegasusLife will maintain that it should be the former. If the planning inspector agrees, the developer will not need to provide any ‘affordable’ housing or community funding for the town.

PegasusLife will argue that there is a ‘compelling need’ for extra care accommodation in East Devon. It says the development will be tailored to meet the needs of occupants as they age, with integrated on-site communal facilities.

EDDC, which is currently based at Knowle but is relocating to Exmouth and a purpose-built HQ in Honiton, will argue the development will have a harmful impact on the listed summerhouse. It will also raise concerns about the impact on neighbouring properties, together with the issue of whether the development is C2 or C3 use.

An external officer has been used to ease work pressures on EDDC’s busy planning team. Because the EDDC officers originally involved in the application recommended approval of the scheme, they cannot now give evidence under oath at the inquiry, representing the council’s view that it should be refused.

Documents including objections and a statement of common ground – which gives details of the main areas where the two parties are in agreement and where there are still disagreements – can be seen on EDDC’s planning portal website (reference number 16/0872).

Most Read

The appeal will is being held at Knowle.