Plans for six ‘affordable’ homes on Sidford surgery site approved

PUBLISHED: 12:23 21 August 2017

Sidmouth Garden Centre. Photo by Simon Horn ref shs 4604-45-10SH

Sidmouth Garden Centre. Photo by Simon Horn ref shs 4604-45-10SH

Archant

The developer behind plans for six ‘affordable’ homes in place of Sidford’s former doctors’ surgery has hit out at delays that have pushed up the asking price of the soon-to-be-built properties.

Ian Barlow admitted that the two-bedroom properties would be relatively small, but claimed they are ideal starter homes – and said the alternative is for youngsters to move out of the Sid Valley.

There were calls to construct four slightly larger houses instead on the Sidford Cross site, but Mr Barlow said doing so would add £90-£100,000 to the sub-£200,000 asking price, and they would no longer be ‘affordable’.

Speaking to the Herald after full planning permission was granted last week, Mr Barlow said: “It’s good news at long-last. I got outline planning permission last year, but it’s taken well over a year to get to this stage. The delays have added £12,000 to the cost. 
“Hopefully we can now get some proper low-cost housing for local people.

“They will cost less than £200,000. They’re not going to be mansions, but they are the same size as the average two-bed home.

“They will be ideal for a young person starting out. There’s no parking, but it’s next to a car park.”

Mr Barlow said ‘the market will make the houses affordable’ as only large developers can deliver properties that can be classed as social housing.

District councillor Marianne Rixson had objected to the plans, arguing that the properties would be ‘too small and cramped’ and lack private space for individual family members.

Mr Barlow said: “If I’d cut the number of houses, it would have added £90-£100,000 extra to the cost of each one. Everyone has to live within their means – or move out of Sidmouth.”

Assessing the reserved matters application, East Devon District Council officers said the concerns about the size of the houses were acknowledged, but there are no relevant policies to justify refusal on this basis. They said increasing the building footprint could risk overdeveloping the ‘modest’ site.

Development management committee members approved the application when they met on August 7.

Sidford Surgery closed in 2015 ahead of the opening of the new Beacon Medical Centre.


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