Sidmouth retirement community plans get go-ahead

CONTROVERSIAL plans for a ‘gated’ retirement community in Sidmouth town-centre were, last week, given the go-ahead for a second time.

Blue Cedar Homes saw a bid to make ‘minor’ amendments to the terms of planning permission, for 12 homes at Parsons Yard approved.

Among several revisions, the developer wanted to pay less in community open space cash because the proposed dwellings will be age-restricted to residents over 55. East Devon District Council (EDDC) Development Management Committee members heard the fate of the scheme rests on the outcome of a public inquiry over a footpath wrangle.

Blue Cedar bosses have said they’ll ditch their vision for ‘Mill Gardens’ if the Planning Inspectorate overturns a county council order to divert a pedestrian route linking Holmdale to Mill Street.

The path currently cuts through the middle of Parsons Yard and the developer wants it to run around the site. A two-day hearing will take place at Sidmouth Methodist Church Hall on January 31.

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Ward member, Councillor Sheila Kerridge, told committee members last Tuesday: “I strongly feel that the existing path is not fit for purpose.”

She added it wasn’t possible to navigate a wheelchair or pushchair along the route and that the elderly or disabled struggled to traverse it.

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“In my mind this is not a public right of way,” said Cllr Kerridge.

Cllr Frances Newth said of plans: “It’s an excellent use of this derelict site. This all hinges on the outcome of the public inquiry.”

Members unanimously approved amended plans. Original blueprints were granted planning permission in February.

Residents can make representations regarding the footpath debate to the Planning Inspectorate until December 8.

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