1,000 more homes approved for Exeter outskirts
CONTROVERSIAL plans for almost 1,000 homes on the outskirts of Exeter have been approved.
Councillors on East Devon District Council's development management committee backed proposals for 930 homes near Pinhoe – 580 homes are on the East Devon side of the border with Exeter and 350 homes are in the city.
The development, which includes a new link road, employment space, a park and ride, a garden centre, shops, a community facility, a health and fitness centre and a creche was submitted by Eagle One Homes Ltd.
The development of 350 homes at Monkerton will be linked, via Tithebarn Lane over the M5, to an urban village of 580 homes to be called Tithebarn Green, alongside Exeter Science Park.
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A leading planning officer told councillors at the district council's development management committee meeting how the authority is currently in a "planning black hole" – the 2006 Local Plan is out-of-date and the emerging draft Local Plan is unlikely to be passed for at least another year.
Members also heard that "great weight" must be applied to a recent planning inspectorate's decision to overturn the council's objection to two developments because the authority cannot prove it can satisfy the five-year housing land supply criteria.
Members were also reminded of the consideration that needed to be given to the Government's National Planning Policy Framework which has a presumption in favour of sustainable development.
A range of objections were lodged against the proposals.
Gerry Shattock, business development manager for Exeter Science Park, spoke at the meeting and said that although the directors were "broadly supportive" of the development, their main objections surrounded the proposed employment land.
He called for a buffer zone and said the development has the potential to "cause confusion" to the branding of the Science Park which it had "painstakingly" tried to create.
Broadclyst Parish Council objected to the development and claimed the new town Cranbrook should be completed first.
Councillor Jill Elson, cabinet member for sustainable homes and communities, said she was "extremely concerned" at how the NHS was going to cope.
Devon County Council raised no objections to the plans but specified that around £4m should be invested by the developers to provide roads.
The county council said the development would be likely to generate the demand for around 209 primary school places and 125 secondary places.
The education authority said it did not consider the provision of another primary school necessary.
But additional capacity would need to be secured through delivery and expansion of primary schools already planned in Exeter and East Devon.
The council is asking for £1.34m from the developer to mitigate the direct impact of the 350 homes for Exeter and £2.74m for the 580 homes in East Devon.
Both The Campaign to Protect Rural England and Natural England raised concerns.
Ward councillor Derek Button said that the application was made "defunct" because the majority of consultees had concerns about the proposals.
But Councillor Peter Bowden said the plans should be approved to avoid a series of developers coming forward to solve the council's five-year housing land supply problem.