OTTERY CONVENT PLANS: developer defends bid

DEVELOPERS of a major town centre Ottery construction bid have this week defended the project.

DEVELOPERS of a major town centre Ottery construction bid have this week defended the project.

The bid to build four townhouses, eight apartments, a shop and office at the town's Marist Convent grounds has sparked outrage among nearby residents, and failed to win the backing of Ottery town council.

Sea Valley Properties representative Adam Strachan-Stephens this week spoke to the Herald about the project, and some of the concerns raised over it.

He said: "There is a real local housing shortage and this development would create attractive and affordable homes on a

brown field site in the centre of the town, as well as creating employment opportunities.

"The site is ideal in terms of its location in the town centre, with its close proximity to services, public transport and infrastructure.

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"It meets with all the government guidelines for sustainable development, and sits within the council's guidelines for density."

The Herald quizzed Mr Stachan-Stepehens over issues raised over the bid, including:

Stability of the site and Tip Hill home-owner fears over a crumbling cliff face: Mr Stachan-Stepehens said: "A detailed report by geotechnical consulting engineers was commissioned. Their recommendations include tried and tested building and engineering works that would improve the existing stability and drainage on the site. This will eliminate any concerns regarding the bank, particularly the area overlooking Tip Hill."

Of one Tip Hill home-owner's's fears that construction work could see a steep cliff-face collapse into his home, Mr Stachan-Stepehens said he "completely agreed" with the resident, and a remedy would be put in place for the problem, as well as a vehicle-proof barrier.

Water run-off concerns:

Mr Stachan-Stepehens said a series of underground tanks will reduce water run-off. He said: "We are sensitive to residents' concerns about flooding so our design will actually improve the water runoff by reducing and cleaning the flow into the town's drainage system."

Wildlife worries:

Mr Stachan-Stepehens: "An in-depth environmental report has identified slow worms and badgers on the site. The slow worms are to be collected and held in a protected area on the site before any development begins. They can then be released back into the site at a later date

when it is safe.

Badgers living in the one small badger sett on the edge of the site would be safely relocated nearby. Many new trees would be planted to enhance the biodiversity of the site."

The planning bid's fate will be decided by East Devon District Council (EDDC) on Tuesday. A recommendations by planning experts over the bid, and a community cash request have angered Ottery town councillors. Read about it in this week's ttery Herald.