Fears over flats plans for disused town land
IT has been billed as a great chance to rejuvenate a prominent town-centre site.
But neighbours are voicing concerns about the impact the McCarthy and Stone plan for riverside land behind the town hall will have on their lives.
Nearby Ham Place is populated by a number of elderly people and young families who enjoy living in a secluded area a short stroll from the town centre.
Tara Manley, whose cottage is at the bottom of Ham Place, closest to the Exe, says the sewerage system is already unable to cope, without a further 40-plus flats on the site, and wants an upgrade as part of any plan.
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She says she has experienced flooding at her property six times in the last six months due to a combination of water cascading down the steep incline in Ham Place and inadequate drainage.
Mrs Manley said: "We have lived here for three years and there were no reported incidents of flooding going back to the 1960s, but since we were first flooded in August it has happened again on occasions in October and November.
"We now have an extractor which is pumping the water into our garden and away from our cottage, but on one occasion the kitchen was flooded and it took eights weeks to get everything dried out and back to normal."
Mrs Manley was also concerned about loss of light and the visual impact from such a large scale development bordering her home.
She said: "When I first saw the plans I thought they seemed good because they might improve the general area.
"But when I realised just how high the proposed buildings are likely to be, I wrote to McCarthy and Stone to make my concerns known to them."
Worries have also been voiced as to whether vehicle access arrangements for Ham Place residents will be maintained when the development is carried out.
Residents say there are a number of older people and young mothers with pushchairs living nearby who would not be able to climb the steep and narrow path from Ham Place into St Andrew Street.
They say those people are reliant on use of garages and car parking spaces behind Tiverton Town Hall to be able to get into the town centre for shopping and other essential trips.
However, Mid Devon District Council, which owns the site, said consideration was being given to ensure neighbours would not be forced to use the unsuitable path in order to leave their properties.
Formal plans for the site have yet to be submitted by the developer but are expected in the next couple of weeks.
Kevin Finan, chief executive of Mid Devon District Council, said the development would "not block the existing vehicular access."
He said that in talks with McCarthy and Stone, the current thinking favoured a two-level parking deck at the site.
He said: "Underneath the deck, there will be car-parking for existing users plus provision for parking for those people in the council units in St Andrew Street which are being renovated alongside the McCarthy and Stone scheme."