Ottery will have fewer planned houses- Bloxham

LDF panel member clears up proposal for Ottery housing growth after confusion at last week’s meeting.

The number of houses planned for Ottery could be lowered after all following last week’s district council meeting.

It was reported Councillor Ray Bloxham had proposed to maintain the 450 new homes recommended in the draft ‘Local Plan’ at last week’s ‘Local Development Framework’ (LDF) panel.

But what was actually approved by the panel was his recommendation of a growth figure of ‘around 400’, lowering the number at the old factory to accommodate more facilities and infrastructure in the town.

Both Ottery district councillors present at the meeting; Claire Wright, who is on the LDF panel, and Roger Giles, who spoke on behalf of the town council, thought the proposal was simply to reduce numbers at the factory to incorporate facilities such as a new library, without reducing the overall housing figures for the ‘Local Plan’, which maps East Devon’s future for the next 15 years.

This would have meant even more of the projected new homes would be on a green field site designated for development at the west of the town.

But the minutes of last Tuesday’s meeting confirm the recommendation for Ottery St Mary would be to keep the projection at 350 houses in a mixed use site incorporating possible redevelopment of The King’s School.

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Cllr Bloxham said: “Recognising that the town sought reduced housing numbers but also wanted infrastructure improvements such as a new library, museum and much needed improvements for Kings School, my proposal was not to retain 450 homes for the town but to retain the strategic development to the west of Ottery St. Mary, which would provide the infrastructure, but reduce the number of dwellings proposed for the factory site by other much needed facilities.”

However the overall plan for Ottery St Mary still goes against the advice of the town council, who said in a submission to the LDF the ‘Local Plan’ should contain an allocation of no more than 300 houses, and development should be on available brown field sites, not green field sites.

Mr Bloxham’s recommendation will form part of a refinement of the draft plan, which will be endorsed by the panel at a meeting scheduled for October 25.