Salston proposal: ‘trouble’ brewing

Councillors said the dilapidated Salston Manor hotel was close to being 'beyond repair'

Councillors said the dilapidated Salston Manor hotel was close to being 'beyond repair' - Credit: Archant

A run-down hotel on the edge of Ottery is set to be converted into 25 flats, despite a warning that more new homes could spell ‘big trouble’ for the town.

Members of the district council development management committee voted unanimously to approve plans for work on the grade-two listed Salston Manor when they met earlier this month.

But the approval came with no requirement for any affordable housing or contribution to local services after the developer argued the expensive project was not expected to return much of a profit.

Addressing the committee, Councillor Roger Giles described the hotel as a ‘really important building’ but raised concerns of more pressure on the town’s services.

He said: “The King’s School is at capacity, the Coleridge Medical Centre is at capacity and the sewerage works are at capacity.

“But once again there are houses going into Ottery, making demands on services and facilities, and the town is gaining little or no benefit.”

“I support this application - but you are setting up big trouble for the community of Ottery by taking all these extra dwellings.”

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He added that the town had been allocated 300 new homes in the draft East Devon local plan – a blueprint for development in the region until 2026 – and the council had already given approval for 415.

Councillor Mike Allen said he had ‘every sympathy’ with the arguments made by Cllr Giles.

“It is quite clear that Ottery St Mary has now had more than its fair share of development,” he added.

District council development manager Edward Freeman said the project would benefit the area by bringing a redundant building back in to use, but that there were ‘a lot of viability issues’ with the scheme.

Planning consent had been granted in 2009 to convert the hotel in to a residential care home, but the developer did not see it as a workable option.

“All the information suggests that residential use is now the only viable way to bring the building back in to use and restore it,” Mr Freeman added.

“But the applicant simply cannot provide any affordable housing or contributions to local infrastructure.”

Approval was granted on the condition that all renovation work to the listed hotel is completed before the new-build flats are sold.

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