Controversial plans to build 40 retirement flats in Sidford approved

Green Close care home site in Sidford. Ref shs 43-16TI 0480.CR2

Green Close care home site in Sidford. Ref shs 43-16TI 0480.CR2 - Credit: Archant

Controversial plans to build 40 retirement apartments on the former Sidford care home site have been given the green light.

The developers Churchill Retirement Living can now start works on demolishing the existing 23-bed care home in Green Close, ready to start building works.

As well as the sheltered apartments, the plans include a guest suite, owners’ lounge, lift, office and buggy store as well as a car park with 24 spaces and a landscaped garden.

As part of the scheme the developer will also pay £677,434 towards affordable housing.

This was the third time an application for the site had been put before the committee by the developers.

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They application was approved by East Devon District Council’s (EDDC) development management committee today (Tuesday), despite concerns with the road access to the site and the increased strain it would put on local health services.

The developer has submitted two previous applications, the first was submitted for 36 apartments in 2017 but was rejected and went to appeal before being thrown out by a planning inspector. The second, for 39 sheltered flats, was refused by EDDC earlier this year. At the time the applicant proposed a financial contribution of £654,870 towards affordable housing however this wasn’t deem ‘adequate’. Recent changes to national policies mean the developer’s contribution of £677,434 meets the requirement.

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During today’s meeting, councillors raised concerns with the road access.

Ward member Cllr Marianne Rixson said she was very ‘unhappy’ the entrance would be on South Lawn instead of Drake’s Avenue. She added many residents didn’t have garages so had to use the road for parking which meant it had to be single file traffic in both directions.

The other ward member Cllr David Barratt agreed saying the plans were ‘back to front’ and the entrance should be on Drake’s Avenue.

Cllr David Key said: “If it went to appeal I can’t see how it would be refused because Highways are happy with it. I certainly wouldn’t say it was adequate but I don’t think we stand a hope in hell [of rejecting]”.

Cllr Marianne Rixson added the area did not need more sheltered accommodation and that the development would result in even more pressure on the local health centre.

In total 12 councillors voted to approve the scheme and two abstained.

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