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Knowle planning application: points raised part three

  • by JW

The deadline for comments is Friday 21st April – quoting 23/0571/MFUL

The latest submissions made include these objections:

“The proposal does not comply with the Local Plan

“The case for the nature of the development has been shown as non-viable”

“There has been lack of access to documents”

“New research has been carried out since 2016”


There are less than ten days left to comment on the planning application at Knowle: 23/0571/MFUL | Redevelopment of site …

There are concerns about lack of public consultation: Knowle planning application: points raised part one – Vision Group for Sidmouth

And about overdevelopment: Knowle planning application: points raised part two – Vision Group for Sidmouth

And about the nature of the development: Knowle planning application: focus on (lack of) care provision – Vision Group for Sidmouth

Our Proposals – McCarthy Stone – Sidmouth

Three submissions objecting to the planning application are published here, with permission – with excerpts from each:

From Barry Curwen:

Proposal does not comply with the Local Plan 2013-2031

In the Local Plan 2013-2031 this site was allocated for the development of up to 50 private dwellings (C3) and I fully appreciate this has effectively been superseded by the Appeal Decision 16/0872/MFUL to permit 113 units with C2 classification. However, one of the reasons why the planning proposal was declined by East Devon District Council was not presented to the Inspector at the Appeal and therefore could not be considered.

The Local Plan 2013-2031 clearly states in both its vision and strategy that “affordable homes are a top priority for this council” and that future developments should result in “more balanced communities”. It was clear that the previous proposal did not meet this requirement in Sidmouth where there is already a huge in-balance in favour of elderly residents. This departure from the Local Plan 2013-2031 should feature in the consideration of this new proposal as there is clearly no attempt to comply.

The Executive Summary (Planning Statement) in the proposal states “The development remains care and older persons accommodation including a small proportion that may not necessarily be aimed at the older generation”. I am particularly concerned that the developers have not offered any planning obligation to contribute towards the provision of affordable housing, in fact they have taken the pre-emptive step of stating “In this particular case the application has been subject of a robust viability assessment which shows the site cannot sustain an affordable housing contribution”. If the developers have overpaid to acquire this site, then it is their problem and should not be used as an excuse to avoid making adequate compensation payment for the benefits lost in not meeting the requirements of the Local Plan. Failure to hold developers to this compliance raises the question; what is the point or worth of Local Plans?

I would encourage those considering this application to re-visit the Neighbourhood Plan for The Sid Valley 2018 – 2032 (adopted by East Devon District Council) with particular attention to the section under the heading Housing, where the needs of this community are clearly and accurately stated. Sidmouth needs affordable accommodation for key healthcare workers and young families, it needs adequate local health services, this development will just increase these needs further.     

Planning Reference 23 – Barry Curwen

From Ed Dolphin:


I object to this application on a number of points, the case for the nature of the development has been shown as non-viable, it will have a negative impact on local health and care services, the scale and mass of the new design will have a significant negative impact on the locality including the adjacent listed building, the actual design of the two large blocks is poor and has no place in the local townscape, and the development will impact on the local treescape.

The original application from 2016 was refused by EDDC but the decision was overturned on appeal. This established the principle of a development of 113 age restricted apartments and ancillary facilities and the current applicant cites this as a fallback should this modified application be refused. Events subsequent to the appeal have shown that local objections were valid and original developer has abandoned the project and sold the site on while, according to Land Registry records, sustaining a loss of several millions of pounds.


I had multiple objections to the previously approved plans for the Knowle but would have to accept that permission had been granted should McCarthy choose to build it as the ‘fallback’ option. While the new application has some minor improvements to the previous scheme, overall it is a retrograde move too big and too poorly designed for such an important site.

23-0571-MFUL Knowle Objection-Dolphin

From Mary Walden-Till:


On the previous planning applications for this site I went through the proposal in great detail, as did many other people. I have not been able to do so for this application as many online documents are not available at the many times I have attempted to view them. This includes, but is not limited to, all drawings being unavailable on 9th April 2023 and the Heritage Statement, Ecological Appraisal, Design and Access Statement, Tree Retention/Removal, Statement of Community Involvement, and Townscape and Visual impact Statement on 10th April 2023. When trying to view the documents the message ‘Document Unavailable. This document is unavailable for viewing at this time.’ is shown. Some documents were also not available on the 11th April, I did not attempt to open every one on the 12th April as I have run out of time to deal with this. Lack of access to these documents means that my points have to be general in most areas. Should this application hang in the balance I would like to point out that many people may have been deterred from commenting due to not being able to view the documents. 

The eventual decision by the Inspector on the previous application was a great disappointment to most in the town and I believe that the decision was only in favour of the applicant in the end because EDDC were not robust enough in their opposition. I hope that this time they are prepared to resist the things which are bad for Sidmouth. 

In addition, I believe that the digging of a hole two years ago does not constitute a ‘meaningful start’ to the previous approved planning application and therefore that that approval has lapsed; and can not now be relied on for future works. It should not be possible for the applicant to default to that permission if this application is refused, especially in light of new research carried out since 2016 which would have influenced the Inspector had it been known at that time. 

This application does not build on the agreements reached while deciding the previous applications; unfortunately it again seems to start almost from scratch, whatever is claimed. Therefore it seems appropriate to start with the constraints identified previously.

Knowle application Objection 2023 – Mary Walden-Till