Residents' high court hope over Ottery Convent development

PUBLISHED: 11:45 21 May 2010 | UPDATED: 13:59 18 June 2010

OTTERY residents want their fight against a multi-million pound development that will change the face of the town-centre taken to the High Court.

OTTERY residents want their fight against a multi-million pound development that will change the face of the town-centre taken to the High Court.

The Planning Inspectorate last week overturned East Devon District Council's (EDDC) decision to refuse a developer permission to build four townhouses, eight apartments, a shop and office in the grounds of the Marist Convent.

The entire bid was given the go-ahead.

Franklea Close homeowners were left "devastated" and "disgusted" by the reversal, but this week told the Herald: "We have not given up the fight."

EDDC on Wednesday revealed the Inspectorate's decision is final, but the council is considering its position.

Resident Tess Hurst has written to the council, town representatives and conservation groups and has encouraged residents to join the fight in.

She told EDDC that Ottery has "not been adequately supported" through the appeal process- after an officer who initially supported the development represented the council at the appeal hearing.

An EDDC spokesman said: "The decision is final, unless the council decides to challenge it on a point of law through the High Court. This is unusual and potentially costly, and, is only exercised if the inspector has erred in law or misdirected him or herself. The fact that the inspector took a different view to the council and local objectors is not grounds for challenge.

"The council will take time to consider in detail the inspector's decision and the views expressed by local residents before deciding whether or not to challenge the decision."

EDDC has been ordered to spend tax-payers cash on costs incurred by the developer as a result of the appeal. The spokesman said the council is also considering its position on this matter and a cost total is yet to be agreed.

Residents long battled the plans over access, traffic and land stability concerns and fears the development would "imprison" their properties.

A representative of developer Sea Valley Properties Ltd said the firm had acted to address concerns and was please the Planning Inspectorate acknowledged this.


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