Sidmouth veterinary centre bid resurrected
Garden centre owner launches appeal
A TWICE rejected bid for an out-of-town veterinary practice at Sidmouth Garden Centre has been resurrected.
And a petition - calling for a decision to refuse proposals for a single-story premises in the business’ car park to be overturned - attracted more than 1,000 signatures in ten days.
East Devon District Council (EDDC) turned down proposals for a second time in August.
Garden centre owner Ian Barlow lodged an appeal and has taken his fight to the Planning Inspectorate.
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A hearing will take place in the town on January 11.
Mr Barlow said this week: “We’re just using a facility we’ve already got.”
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EDDC Development Management Committee members ruled the proposed veterinary practice premises, which would be utilised by an independent business, would be detrimental to the surrounding Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
They reached the decision to refuse despite plans getting the backing of the majority of ward members who claimed ‘animals are being treated in the road’ at Sidmouth’s current ‘unsustainable’ town-centre practice.
Mr Barlow said he was “staggered” the application was refused after he amended plans at the behest of EDDC officers.
“The AONB is important, we do need to protect our assets but the town is growing and it does need facilities,” he added.
“Right opposite us there were two green fields and they (EDDC) put 130 homes up on that. Perhaps I should just shut the garden centre and put in for 300 low cost homes on my site.
“We need facilities to cater for the homes we’ve already got.
“I think they’re trying to protect something they have already lost.
“The thing is we’re already in the AONB, and we’re not looking to expand. We just want to make use of the space we’ve got and to cover a storage area that is already there. It’s not going to make any difference.”
Representations on the appeal must be made to the Planning Inspectorate by October 22.