Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Knowle relocation project: and balanced communities

Back in December when the District Council's planning committee rejected the application from PegasusLife to build a sheltered housing complex - they also rejected their own planning officers' advice - which was to ignore the council's own planning regulations: 
Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project: planning application to be considered by District Council: Tuesday 6th December >>> planning officers brush aside planning policies

And one of those regulations was to ensure the District had 'balanced communities':
Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project > Pegasus planning application 16/0872/MFUL >>> Strategy 4 - Balanced Communities >>> Strategy 34 - Affordable Housing Provision Targets

However, it seems that PegasusLife, despite protestations to the contrary, have something else in mind 
- whether it's how they advertise their housing development:
Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project: Is PegasusLife targetting retirees outside Sidmouth?

Or how they put together 'assessments':
Futures Forum: Knowle Relocation Project: PegasusLife appeal >>> devastating critique of District Council's developer-commissioned Care Housing Needs Assessment

Meanwhile several submissions to the pending Appeal have focussed on the whole theme of 'balanced communities' - including from the Vision Group:
Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project: PegasusLife appeal >>> submission from Vision Group for Sidmouth

Here is yet another submission - from a member of the Knowle Residents' Association - which asks the Inspector to consider the issue:

I understand that my representation detailed in my letters to the Planning Department at East Devon District Council (dated 07/11/2016 and 27/05/2016) have been forwarded and I confirm that I wish these comments to be considered by the inspector when determining the appeal. I wish to modify my comments as follows. 

The reasons detailed by East Devon District Council to refuse to grant planning permission had an important omission. An additional reason to decline was withdrawn on the advice of the Councils Officer (Mr E Freeman) and the Chairman, I do not believe this advice to be correct or appropriate. 

The Local Plan 2013-2031 clearly states the vision and strategy to achieve "more balanced communities" and a further reason to decline this application was presented on the basis that this application would not support this requirement in Sidmouth where there is already a huge in-balance in favour of elderly residents. 

The applicants have put forward a proposal to build 113 units, which they believe meets the C2 classification and an age requirement (aged 60 and over) for a site with a Local Plan allocation of 50 (C3) out of a total allocation for Sidmouth of 150. The Local Plan 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". 

This application is therefore a clear departure from this requirement and this reason for decline should not have been overruled. 

I would urge the Inspector to examine the audio record of the planning meeting which will support my comments.

Barry Curwen

See also:
Knowle Residents’ Association – Letter to the Secretary of State | Save Our Sidmouth
Knowle Watch | Save Our Sidmouth

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