Town planners back affordable housing for Sidmouth

PUBLISHED: 09:14 26 October 2009 | UPDATED: 10:50 18 June 2010

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WHILE backing a massive housing scheme that offers Sidmouth more affordable housing, town planners want developers to heed residents complaints over recreation provision, water run-off and parking needs.

WHILE backing a massive housing scheme that offers Sidmouth more affordable housing, town planners want developers to heed residents' complaints over recreation provision, water run-off and parking needs.

More than 100 people living in Baker Close, Howarth Close and Lock Close object to Devon and Cornwall Housing Association's plans for 133 homes on land off Howarth Close.

They signed a petition, started by Baker Close grandmother Jan Jones and her daughter Sharon, objecting to the proposals.

They fear an area used by children to play football will be lost under housing and ask: "Could not the rest of the field be made into a park with swings and seats for all of the residents of Baker, Howarth and Lock Close and new residents when the houses are built?"

They want any recreation provision more centrally placed to allow parental supervision.

In a letter supporting the scheme, read at Wednesday's Town Council planning meeting, Councillor Peter Sullivan said the much-needed housing - 60 percent of which will be affordable homes - was on an area designated for housing and "should help in some ways to relieve the situation of local people not being able to afford to live in the local area.

"While I would support it in principle, I would encourage East Devon District Council planners and the developers to...look again at recreational facilities to try to retain some areas already in use, ie the area near Bakers Close used for football."

He also wants lack of parking for visitors and service vehicles addressed.

Councillor Tony Reed put the need for affordable homes into perspective.

He said: "The waiting list for houses is 4,000 and EDDC built eight affordable houses last year. It is an impossible situation. A lot of tweaking can be done here. The impact on the landscape will not be to its disadvantage. Gone are the old ghetto estates, there is vegetation and landscaping."

"Sidmouth is a living community and we should allow all members of the community to have the opportunity to live here," said Councillor John Dyson.

"Sidmouth is being spoilt. I think it is making Sidmouth into a concrete jungle," argued Councillor Jack Brokenshire, concerned about water run-off causing problems with properties in Woolbrook Close.

"This is allowing a section of the community to stay in Sidmouth," responded Councillor Simon Pollentine. "If you have to give up some green areas then that is a price worth paying.

"This will be a godsend to some of our schools. There is a huge over-capacity in schools other than Sidmouth College and they are crying out for extra pupils to retain the staff they have got."

He thought the council should warmly welcome the initiative, though felt there was scope for "tweaking it at the edges.

"Let's not kick it into touch.

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