Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Tesco's in Seaton

In August, Tesco's withdrew their offer for affordable housing at their site in Seaton:
Tesco withdraws offer of affordable housing as part of East Devon seaside development plans | Exeter Express and Echo

However, it now seems that there will be an affordable housing quota after all:

SEATON: Tesco site - ‘there will be low-cost homes’

7th November 2013 By Philip Evans.

AFFORDABLE homes will be built on the Seaton regeneration site after all, according to a Seaton town councillor.

Town councillors called for an urgent meeting with East Devion District Council when they found out that no provision was now being made for affordable homes on a revised plan for the regeneration site next to Tesco in Harbour Road. Developers had submitted an application seeking to reduce the affordable housing requirement across the site from 25 per cent to nil. 

A report to the district council planners revealed that the cost of fill operations were higher than expected - rising from an estimated £9.5 million to an expected £12.15 million - and the provision of affordable housing was now unviable. In April the district council was informed that there had been some unforeseen difficulties with the detailed nature of the fill material (sand and gravel) and that an alternative source was being sought.

A statement from the district council confirmed that the applicant had submitted a new viability appraisal, which had been independently assessed by the District Valuer, showing that the scheme could not at present support the provision of any affordable housing. The statement continued: “Abnormal fill costs for the supermarket site, together with a downturn in the housing market, as well as other issues such a reduction in the density of development that can be delivered on the filled site, have adversely affected the viability of the scheme.”

The issue was highlighted by town councillor Steve Williams, who told his colleagues: “Yet again people on low and middle incomes will not have the possibility of buying their own home in Seaton, a town they may have been born in, possibly because of the change in material for the infill, while EDDC did little to ensure that the eventual planned use or the area would be fulfilled as set out in the planning applications.” But after attending a recent presentation by Tesco at the Town Hall on the revised housing plans for the site, Councillor Williams discovered that the perecentage of affordable homes was being dropped by just two per cent.  

In a statement to Pulman’s View, Councillor Williams said: 

The percentage of affordable homes on display in recent presentation in the town hall was just over 23 per cent (still down from the original 25 per cent but better than zero which EDDC were prepared to allow). 

I was informed this would be achieved by building those homes on rafts in the same way the supermarket was built. When I asked at what price these homes would be, at today’s prices, I was told that the apartments would be about £130,000 and the two bedroomed homes would be about £150,000. I cannot be blamed, however, for being apprehensive about these figures after numerous developments in the recent past. 

I hope when it comes to the eventual application for planning permission that there will not be any ‘adjustments’ and that the amount of homes proposed will be achieved at the prices estimated, taking inflation into account. If they are, I for one will be satisfied with the outcome. As an individual councillor I cannot speak for Seaton town council but the fact that my proposal in the full council meeting held on the 14th of October was carried unanimously and without need for discussion indicates the strength of feeling in the council about the affordable housing issue. I for one will be keeping a very close eye on how the development proceeds. My only reservation is the size of the two small play areas which I would like to see increased in size.  

It should be noted by the residents of Seaton how easily East Devon District council waved the requirement for affordable housing when presented with the report reporting on the inadequacies of the infill. If they had stuck to their guns and refused a change in that requirement I and the council would never have to take them to task demanding an explanation.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Council for supporting my proposal.

View From Online - News from West Dorset, East Devon & South Somerset 

Although, as Cllr Williams indicated, many feel let down:

The District Council has seen the new Tesco's as part of the general 'regeneration' of Seaton:

Seaton Regeneration

Seaton Regeneration
Under the Council’s Thriving Economy priority set out in its Corporate Strategy, is a commitment to delivering economic growth through regeneration, particularly in Exmouth and Seaton.
We are working with the community through Seaton Regeneration Programme Board to bring forward significant improvements to the town.
These include a complete re-development of an area off Harbour Road to include a new supermarket, residential development, Jurassic Coast Interpretation Centre and expansion of the Axe Wetlands
The Public Sector and Private Enterprise are working together with community organisations on a clutch of imaginative schemes designed to give this historic East Devon town a world-class visitor offering and a vibrant retail centre.
Millions are being invested in a new supermarket and housing development, a Jurassic Coast Interpretation Centre, new Tourist Information Centre and Wetlands Nature Reserve. The aim is to capitalise on the town’s special attractions of World Heritage Coast and wildlife sanctuary, viewable on foot, by bike, or from the unique Seaton Tramway.
The ‘Seaton Regeneration Area’ lies between Seaton town centre, the seafront, Axmouth Harbour, the Axe riverside and Seaton Marshes.
The aim is to provide a high quality gateway to Seaton and to enhance its role as a visitor destination, on the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site.
The Regeneration Area will also play an important retail, commercial and residential part in the future of the town, integrating key attractions such as the Seaton Tramway, Seaton Marshes and the Axe Estuary and providing further visitor facilities.
In August 2009, East Devon District Council granted planning permission for a Tesco supermarket close to The Underfleet.
There are also plans for residential development on part of the former holiday camp site and for a Jurassic Coast Interpretation Centre to be built within the regeneration area.
Delivering these separate – but linked – projects will depend on raising the level of the site and pumping public and private funding into the visitor centre scheme. Tesco are building a new store on part of the site and funding from them will be used by EDDC towards the cost of the Interpretation Centre.
Alongside this, EDDC’s Countryside Team are working with other partners to enlarge and enhance the Axe Estuary Wetlands nature reserve, which is already a major attraction for visitors who enjoy the scenery and wildlife on foot, by bike or from the unique Seaton Tramway.
The commercial and local government partners are working together to deliver these exciting projects to make Seaton even more special than it is now.
The partners include: East Devon District Council, Devon County Council, Seaton Town Council, Tesco, Seaton Tramway and the Axe Riverside Company.
Page last updated on 20 January 2012
East Devon District Council - Seaton Regeneration

Nevertheless, there has been a lot of disquiet about Tesco's plans for Seaton: Futures Forum: Tesco's in East Devon
Since proposals were first made in 2008, there have been concerns: Tesco invades Seaton - closing the nursery and holiday village - Home News - UK - The Independent
Since its opening, there have been complaints: REVEALED: HOW TESCO’S DIRTY TRICKS CON THE SHOPPER INTO PAYING MORE | The Slog.
Local campaigns have grown: Tescowatch Seaton

Nevertheless, there has been considerable local investment:

Tesco’s £2million boost for Seaton

Wednesday, January 30, 2013 
An architect’s impression ofwhat Seaton's Jurassic Coast Visitor Centre could look like. Designs for the Harbour Road building are still being worked on.An architect’s impression ofwhat Seaton's Jurassic Coast Visitor Centre could look like. Designs for the Harbour Road building are still being worked on.

Resort’s regeneration set to step up a gear with major funding now available
Ambitious plans to regenerate Seaton are stepping up a gear, with the release of major funding.
Tesco has paid the final instalment of its £2million contribution to East Devon District Council as part of the deal for its Harbour Road supermarket site.
The council plans to re-invest around £1.8million in a new Jurassic Coast Discovery Centre, which will be managed by the Devon Wildlife Trust (DWT).
The trust will also be overseeing a bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for £500,000 to help close the gap on the final sum needed to complete the project.
Tesco’s £2million boost for Seaton - News - Midweek Herald

And Tesco's itself is making efforts to communicate about how the development is going:

Be involved – let us know your views...

Thank you for taking the time to read this site. We hope it has been helpful. We would like to know what you think about the proposals, so please fill in the form below.

Name:  Email:  

Bringing Seaton’s Regeneration Area Into Use

What happens next?

We wanted to inform you of our proposals to bring forward this exciting regeneration area and gather your views. We hope that you will support our plans to bring about this regeneration in the least impactful way. After gathering local peoples’ feedback, we will then submit a planning application for the installation and operation of the pipeline to East Devon District Council.

Raising the level of the land

The site on Harbour Road has been allocated as a regeneration area by East Devon District Council and Seaton Town Council for redevelopment to include a mix of uses.
Planning permission was given to redevelop this site last autumn for a range of uses including a Tesco supermarket, residential properties, hotel and leisure facilities. One of the requirements from this permission was for the site level to be raised to accommodate the development.
We are proposing to import material and raise the level of Seaton’s regeneration area on Harbour Road. This leaflet tells you about our proposals and aims to answer any questions you may have.
During our last public consultation for the site, many local residents told us that they had concerns about the need to bring fill material to the site by road. We have listened to these concerns and are proposing to use a different method, bringing the material required by sea, and removing the need for nearly 30,000 lorries movements.
Tesco’s proposal to raise the land will have less impact than more traditional methods because:
  • Bringing the majority of fill material into the site by sea, rather than by road will significantly reduce the amount of construction traffic on local roads, which was important to local residents
  • It will reduce the time it takes to raise the land

Has this method been used before?

Westminister Dredging, a subsidiary of Royal Boskalis Westminster nv are carrying out the work for Tesco. They are one of the world’s largest dredging and marine construction groups, who are currently active in more than 50 countries and have been responsible for world renowned projects including the Channel Tunnel and major works in the Arabian Gulf including in the Palm Island in Dubai.
For further information about the types of projects Westminster Dredging have worked on visit www.boskalis.co.uk

How long will all these activities take?

  • It will take about four weeks for the pipeline to be constructed
  • The land raising process will take about four weeks to six weeks
  • Once the land raising process is complete it will take three weeks for the pipeline to be dismantled

Being a good neighbour

Once the pipeline is constructed and in position it will take 4-6 weeks for the fill material to reach the level required by the Environment Agency. Although this is a very large site, we are mindful that there are residents nearby. We have given careful consideration to the layout of the site and the operation during this process. All of Tesco’s contractors including Westminister Dredging are members of the Considerate Constructors’ Scheme, a recognised industry standard across the UK.

Protecting the environment

Once the fill material has been separated from the sea water, the water is moved to the settlement lagoon to stand. Each day after a period of time in the settlement lagoon, the water will be tested before being pumped back into the sea. This is to check that all the sediment has been removed and that only sea water is pumped back into the sea.

Reducing local congestion

We are aware of local concerns regarding the traffic levels that importing fill materials could have generated in the area. Our proposed method of bring the majority of the fill material by sea will generate significantly less traffic than the traditional ‘by road’ method. This will mean:
  • There will be limited movements by road, for example, equipment that can not be brought in by sea.
  • We are in discussions with Axmouth Town Council to address highways concerns that were raised when the application was approved.
Tesco New Store Plans | Seaton, Devon

However, there seem to be several 'ongoing' issues, as posted by Sidmouth Independent News:

Ongoing saga at Seaton

17 November
James Semple’s letter in the latest issue of Pullman’s View from is a reminder of the Tesco development tangle. SIN has been sent some earlier episodes in this saga, which reveal some familiar issues with EDDC.
For the record, we’ll publish the story here.  As sagas are of course lengthy, we’ll be telling it in 3 consecutive posts with three items  each..and some pics…starting with:
1. The text of the letter to View from   view ltr 
2. Record of correspondence with Paul Diviani about alteration of
minutes relating to the Tesco pipeline Diviani corresp
3. Press statement about the above democracy under threat
4. Collected correspondence about toxic hazard of infill Infill correspondence collected

5. Letter to HSE re pipeline bridge safety hse ltr

6. Noise critique (JWS) Noise critique

7. Emails to/from EDDC about noise critique email corresp noise
8. Noise meter picture
9. Tesco noise letter tesco noise letter 
10. Some pipeline pictures
1. Unlagged pipeline before pumping starts

2. Mid-air lagging

3. Lagged pipeline after noise
More episodes of the saga no doubt to come…..!
Ongoing saga at Seaton (1) | Sidmouth Independent News
Ongoing saga at Seaton (2) | Sidmouth Independent News
Ongoing saga at Seaton (3) | Sidmouth Independent News
Ongoing saga at Seaton (4)….some pipeline pics | Sidmouth Independent News

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