Persimmon, Sidmouth and “promoting well-designed housing…”
In October 2009, the Vision Group held a meeting at Woolbrook to consider the issue of housing for Sidmouth
– but particularly to discuss the concerns of residents vis-a-vis the plans of Persimmon to build on AONB:
New homes plan for Woolbrook
4th December 2009 By Huw Hennessy
DEVELOPERS have targeted one of Sidmouth’s Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), which, it has been alleged, was a former landfill site.
The land is between the A3052 and Higher Woolbrook on the northwest side of the town.
Persimmon Homes has owned the land for some years, and now plans to build 103 homes in two fields on its northern perimeter.
A spokesperson for East Devon District Council confirmed that it has received a planning application from the building company, whose head office is based in York. “Persimmon Homes has submitted an application to build 103 homes on two fields between Higher Woolbrook and the A3052. We cannot say when the application will be completed; the planning department is snowed under at the moment, but they are deliberating on it now”.
The building project was discussed at a recent housing meeting of the Vision Group for Sidmouth. According to a member of the public who attended the meeting, and was a former engineer for the then Urban Council, this site used to be landfill more than 30 years ago. When the landfill was closed, a sewer was laid from Green Lane to near Bradfords yard.
The Vision Group raised concerns about the risks of subsidence and escape of poisonous gases at the site. It also questioned the development of land now protected under AONB status; how long the authorities are obliged to wait for such infill ground to settle; and if they are monitoring potential toxic run-off.
East Devon’s planning policies for AONB land, are outlined on its website. With regard to building projects, it says its aims are to: “Ensure development has regard for the purposes of designation and does not diminish the historic and landscape character of the area. Encourage local design initiatives for new development, rural settlements and the appropriate re-use of rural buildings that are compatible with the character of the AONB”
Overall, it adds that: “In considering both policies and individual applications, the EDAP‘s (East Devon AONB Partnership’s) main concern will be the purpose of statutory designation of the AONB – the conservation and enhancement of the natural beauty of the landscape”.
Persimmon Homes, meanwhile, confirmed that it has submitted a planning application on land it has owned on this site for “many years”.
On behalf of Simon Perks, managing director for Persimmon Homes South West, a company spokesman said “We own two pieces of adjacent land in Woolbrook, Sidmouth, which we intend to develop. We recently submitted a planning application to the local authority to build 103 new homes in a mix of two to five bedroom properties at the site.
“We are committed to developing in Sidmouth and should we receive planning approval, we hope to commence construction in May 2010.”
This is the feedback from the public meeting attended by 50 members of the public.
Here is the press release from the meeting.
The Vision Group submitted the following set of questions to District Council planning officers:
And contributed to the District Council’s consultation:
Later the Vision Group submitted comments on the application by Persimmon to build over 100 houses at Woolbrook: