Thursday 17 November 2016

Knowle relocation project: planning application rejected again by Town Council: 85% of the development should be restricted to local residents

Last night, the Town Council's planning committee met to consider the application to build at the Knowle site:
Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project: planning application to be considered by Town Council: Wednesday 16th November

With an overview of the issues considered from the SOS blog:
TONIGHT! Town Council considers latest amendments to Knowle plans. 6.30pm, Sidford Social Hall. | Save Our Sidmouth
Overdevelopment of Knowle could cause problems for town’s drains | Save Our Sidmouth
URGENT! Just two more days left for comment on latest revisions to Knowle plans. DEADLINE THIS FRIDAY (11/11/2016). | Save Our Sidmouth

The Town Council rejected the planning application - as reported in the minutes to the meeting:

Minutes of the meeting of Sidmouth Town Council’s Planning Committee 
Wednesday 16th November 2016

South Ward 

Members were unable to support the application for the following reasons: 

The amendments to the proposal were not considered sufficient enough to alter the Committee’s previous views: 

 The development size is contrary to the newly adopted East Devon Local Plan which allows for up to 50 units on the site. 

 The development would be intrusive and out of keeping with the character of the area by reason of height, inappropriate design and materials, overwhelming bulk and massing 

 The development is considered to be an overdevelopment of the site resulting in an unnecessarily high and overbearing structure 

 The development would adversely affect the amenity of the neighbouring properties by reason of loss of light and overlooking of properties from development blocks A and F. 

 The proposed drainage is considered to be inadequate for the site and further drainage should be provided by the applicant. 

 Members objected to the Class C2 classification which was proposed and continued to be of the view that the application should include either affordable housing on site or a financial contribution towards offsite affordable housing. 


 Members were not satisfied that adequate or appropriate plans had been put into place to cater for the amount of waste and recycling which would be generated by 113 units. Planning Committee 16th November 2016. 

 Members considered the applicant’s claim that there was a need for this type of housing in Sidmouth, and suggested that should permission be granted, a planning condition be added that states that 85% of the development shall be restricted for purchase by existing residents of Sidmouth and its surrounding parishes. 

(13 letters of objection had been received by the Town Council) 


Points had been raised from the public gallery before Members debated the application.

District Cllr Marianne Rixson referred to her objection:

I object to this application on the following grounds:
Strategy 4 - Balanced Communities
The District Public Health Summary 2015 -16 (Devon County Council) for East Devon reveals that Sidmouth has a far higher over 85 population than the rest of the country, let alone Devon. Assisted living accommodation on this site will do nothing to redress the existing imbalance.
Strategy 36 - Accessible and Adaptable Homes and Care/Extra care homes
The figure quoted in the local plan for Sidmouth is 50 care/extra care home spaces up to 2031 and Green Close will provide 36 sheltered apartments. The Knowle will add another 113 apartments, which will bring the total to 3 x the numbers in the Local Plan in just one year.
Where are the Affordable Homes for local families which are needed to redress the balance in the existing housing mix?
Strategy EN22 Flood Mitigation
Pegasus Life are trying to avoid the responsibility of installing adequate flood attenuation tanks to cope with flooding on the site. This contravenes East Devon Local Plan Policy EN22 (Surface Water Run-off Implications of New Development).
The Environment Agency report on Adapting to Climate Change: Advice for Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Authorities was issued on 13th April 2016. The report states: 'This advice should be applied to all future appraisals that are started (new) from March 2016 or are to be submitted for approval after 1st September 2016.'
Previously, The Environment Agency advised an increase in peak rainfall intensity of 20% in terms of surface water. This guidance has been revised in the south west to 40%. Pegasus must be required to provide double the flood attenuation tank storage: these tanks should also meet the design standards approved by South West Water.
If Pegasus Life are unwilling or unable to guarantee they will meet the new guidelines, this application must be refused, as The Environment Agency guidance is already a material consideration for all new planning applications and, therefore, a valid reason for planning objection.

16/0872/MFUL | Council Offices Knowle Sidmouth EX10 8HL

During the ensuing debate, Members of the planning committee made the following points:

According to information gathered by the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group, planning policies in Sidmouth should seek to rebalance the population:
Futures Forum: East Devon's demographic time bomb >>> "the District Council has a duty to create balanced communities"

Reference was made to the flood-attenuation promised for the Woolbrook housing estate:
Futures Forum: Urban runoff and flooding in Sidmouth... Relying on 'Victorian plumbing' or building on soakaways...
Futures Forum: Persimmon, Sidmouth and "promoting well-designed housing that is sustainable and provides much-needed new housing..."

The District Council's planning officers had changed their mind over the designation of the development from C3 to C2 - which will mean that no affordable housing will be provided:
Futures Forum: Knowle Relocation Project: How to classify the proposed development: as C3 housing or as C2 care home?

The problem being: who will look after the elderly and sick at the new development?
Futures Forum: Population and migration: care for the elderly
Futures Forum: Jobs and services: caring for the elderly

It was pointed out that Sidmouth residents might chose to move into the proposed development, which might free up housing for newcomers - which in turn prompted questions about the 'Housing Need' for the Sid Valley
Futures Forum: Identifying housing 'need' in East Devon: "Floodgates are open for developers"

[And the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group will be commissioning work on assessing housing needs in the Sid Valley:
NeighbourHood Plan - Sidmouth Town Council
Sid Valley Neighbourhood Plan | Facebook]

Throughout the meeting, references were made to the St Ives Neighbourhood Plan which stipulates that any new-build cannot also be second homes:
Futures Forum: Nieghbourhood Plan: and the impact of the St Ives ban on new-build second homes

The concluding proposal from the meeting was that 85% of the new-build at Knowle should be made available firstly to local residents - which would certainly be a challenge to both the developer and the District Council:
Futures Forum: "Developer-led free-for-all is actually council policy"
Futures Forum: When is a development 'viable' or not?
Futures Forum: "Viability assessments conclusively prove that we cannot rely on developers to build affordable housing."

See also:
Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project: VGS Futures Forum - comment on Knowle planning application

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