What to do with three-acre plot dubbed ‘Ottery beach’?


- Credit: Archant

CIVIC leaders have been left scratching their heads over what to do with a three-acre piece of land that has gone unused for years – and could turn to residents for the answer.

Ottery town councillors are caught in two minds whether to sell the riverside site at St Saviour’s or keep it for community use.

Some have suggested it be utilised for allotments or a community orchard, while others questioned its use – even branding it ‘Ottery beach’ due to it being on a flood plain.

The council discussed the issue as it has owned the site for four years without using it – then moved to wait even longer to decide its fate.

Members heard the plot could be sold for around £25,000 and the cash used on other community projects.

The land was purchased for the town four years ago as part of original plans for a footbridge across the river – which was subsequently built further upstream.

“What are we going to do with it?,” Councillor Paul Lewis asked colleagues.

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“We have no plan for it or even a creative idea in the back of our minds. It’s an asset that is going to do nothing.”

Cllr Roger Giles added: “I would be reluctant to get rid of it because it might just be useful.”

He suggested allotments after expressing a fear that it ‘was not beyond the bounds of possibility’ Redrow Homes might try and ‘kick us off’ the town’s existing plots at Higher Ridgeway. Mr Giles said that there were ‘a lot of potential customers already’ with hundreds of homes set to be built across the town.

Cllr Claire Wright suggested a community orchard and wanted the issue put to townsfolk for their views.

Cllr Robin Mitchell suggested new residents could come up with ideas when homes are built at the factory site and Island Farm.

Mayor Glyn Dobson warned anything on the site would ‘just be washed away’.

“If we get £25,000, then we’d use it to get for the community what we can,” he said.

Councillors voted to delay any decision until a later date and to consider including the issue in a possible parish plan.