‘Stinking’ central Ottery plans panned

A ‘stinking’ three-storey development in central Ottery was panned at a packed meeting on Monday.

Residents and town councillors’ objections to proposals for the Old Manse in Mill Street ranged from a loss of privacy to a lack of parking.

The application to put up a maisonette, two flats and eight houses on the site was likened to an April fools’ joke and provoked opposition – especially as work appears to have already begun.

Councillor Roger Giles said: “This is a stinking application.

“The proposals put forward are not at all acceptable.

“Not only would this application cause nuisance and danger, it is also unnecessary.”

The application stated that work has not started and that protected species would not be affected, but Cllr Giles said trees were felled three months ago.

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Members expressed concern about access for disabled people and parents with pushchairs, as well as the problems that would be faced by emergency and construction vehicles.

Mayor Glynn Dobson said: “When I first saw this application I thought it was April 1 – it’s a bit of a joke.

“I cannot see any way this council can support it.”

The planning committee was also asked to consider a change of use to allow the property, currently Everys solicitors, to become a shop, offices, a restaurant or a café, or a drinking establishment.

They heard from five residents, including Dave Hart, of Franklea Close, who said: “I am the victim of this development.

“A three-floor house would overshadow my house and Ottery for years to come – there’s no way it can go ahead.”

Karen Rugg, whose Mill Street house would be overlooked by the new buildings, said: “My home will be plunged into darkness.”

“Three storeys is far too much and in the centre of our town would be an ugly mess.”

Karen works at the primary school, where there are currently just seven spaces available for the new intake in September.

“Unless there are also plans for another primary school, our school won’t cope,” she said.

Her husband Rick added that the health centre is similarly approaching capacity, with two-week waiting times for appointments.

Members voted not to back the application – but Cllr Giles said that was not strong enough and they should ‘refuse’ to support it.

Its fate will be decided by East Devon District Council in the coming weeks.

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