Old Manse plans opposed by council
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Civic leaders have unanimously opposed plans to build 10 homes in Ottery town centre, writes Clarissa Place.
Residents and town councillors spoke out at a planning meeting on Monday against proposals submitted by Feniton Park Ltd to build eight townhouses behind the Old Manse.
In the application, the Mill Street property and its annex would also be converted into a maisonette and two one-bedroom flats.
David Hart, who lives in the adjacent Franklea Close, said the townhouses would impact on his and Mill Street residents’ privacy and create ‘an absolutely hideous sight’ looking from the north side of the town.
Mr Hart said: “The inadequacy of parking that’s provided will mean more cars parking in Franklea Close where there is already inadequate provision. The fact that the proposal includes provision of a footpath between Franklea Close and Mill Street would encourage people to park for the day as they headed to work.”
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The ground floor is currently used for financial and professional services, but the applicant is seeking to add retail, eating or drinking as potential business uses. It would also reopen the basement of the Old Manse.
The applicant added that provision of a new public footpath will benefit Winters Lane residents.
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Councillor Roger Giles said members should say no for a number of reasons, including that Ottery’s housing requirement was ‘substantially succeeded’ under the district council’s local plan.
He explained that Franklea Close is a single track road without a pavement ‘and exceedingly steep’.
He said: “All those concerns about the dangers, they would be worse now because the developer wants the pedestrians to walk up and down there in conjunction with the cars.”
Councillor Jo Talbot, who is also deputy chairman of Ottery’s regeneration project, said: “We are an historic town; we are attempting to make this town look better and you will have this, what has been described as a tenement-type building, sticking out over the top of the historic houses, the historic centre of Ottery St Mary, which will be totally out of keeping.
“The developer has only allowed five parking spaces on the site and I think that is totally outrageous.”
The fate of the application will be decided by East Devon District Council.