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More details about Sidford ‘retirement development’ rejection

May 9, 2018 @ 9:00 am - 6:00 pm

Sidford retirement development rejected: further report

Plans to demolish a former care home and replace it with sheltered housing for the elderly have been refused for a second time.

 Last week, the Herald reported on how the District Council’s planning committee has said no yet again to plans for a housing development – because there is no provision for affordable housing:

Vision Group for Sidmouth – Sidford retirement development rejected

Here is the report from the Devon Live website:


Bid to demolish former council care home and build retirement flats refused

It’s the second time the plans have been turned down


Daniel Clark  Local Democracy Reporter
  • 13:04, 9 MAY 2018
  • UPDATED13:14, 9 MAY 2018


Plans to demolish a former care home and replace it with sheltered housing for the elderly have been refused for a second time.

In September, a planning inspector throw out Churchill Retirement Living’s appeal against the non-determination by East Devon District Council of its plans for closed 23-bed former Green Close care home in Sidford.

Churchill Retirement Living had submitted revised plans to build 39 one and two-bedroom apartments on the site, up from 36 previously, and the plans included an off-site contribution of £423,576, but no provision for on-site affordable housing.

But East Devon District Council planners narrow rejected the revised application by seven votes to five when they met last week as its affordable housing offer was not policy compliant.

The application includes communal facilities, landscaping, parking for 25 vehicles, and access to the Drakes Avenue site, although via the former back entrance in South Lawn.

Cllr David Barratt had that he had concerns about the application and the access to the site. He said: “I support refusal of this for the reasons as laid out by the officers. But another aspect on the site that I am not happy with, and which is not accessible, is in regards to the access, which is totally unsuitable. The main entrance at the moment is Drakes Avenue, not the South Lawn as proposed, and Drakes Avenue is far more suitable for a development of this size. South Lawn is a narrow lane, has a difficult angle of access, so all the access through this route, so this access is not suitable.”

Cllr David Key added: “Cars are already parked all the way down South Lawn. How on earth can people go in and out of there without causing one hell of a congestion? I dread to think what could happen here.”

Cllr Marianne Rixson added that she was opposed to this development, saying that it would add to the imbalance of the community.

But backing the application, James Barnes, Regional Managing Director at Churchill Retirement Living, said: “The building is genuinely vacant as part of a disposal strategy from Devon County Council, and vacant building credit should be applied. This is national guidance and cannot be linked to Local Plan policy. There appears to be doubt in the merits of refusal in this and £654,870 would be paid within six months and would create around 26 affordable houses.


“This would release larger family houses back onto the market and we have over 300 people on the waiting list for this development who want to downsize which shows the demand and need for this type of housing. We are very keen to start construction within six months and pay the affordable housing contribution upon commencement.”

The application added that it would assist in providing elderly housing in Sidmouth and Sidford and the location of the development will make a positive and sustainable contribution to the local economy.

Chairman of the committee, Cllr Mike Howe, said that councillors needed to think long and hard about this. He said: “We could end up in six months having to apply vacant building credit to this which means we end up with the exactly same situation as this or worse. At the moment we have cash in hand and development on a vacant site will start. We need to think about the long term aim around this.”

Cllr Bruce de Saram said that he would have proposed approving the application as it could be very suitable and that in six months’ time the committee might have to do this anyway. He added: “The council would get the immediate benefit and this would get started now.”

Sidmouth town council had recommended that the application be refused.

Bid to demolish former council care home and build retirement flats refused – Devon Live


May 9, 2018
9:00 am - 6:00 pm