Regrettably, Heritage Homes appealed successfully against Exeter City Council’s refusals to permit development of an office block or a block of flats on the corner of Exeter Road and Retreat Drive. We do not know which, if either, will be built.

As expected, Heritage Homes have submitted appeals against the refusals of planning permission for the Exeter Road site between their current housing development and the motorway. Anybody who submitted comment on either of the applications should have received notice of the appeals. Note that these appeals are linked and will be considered together by the Inspector.

The details:

PLANNING INSPECTORATE REF: APP/Y1110/W/17/3168134
LOCATION: Land bounded by Exeter Road and The Retreat Drive (Heritage Homes Office), Exeter Road, Topsham, Exeter, EX3
PROPOSAL: Erection of a B1 Office Building, access and associated infrastructure works

If you want to make any comments (or add to or withdraw those already made), you can do so by emailing the Inspector using West1@pins.gsi.gov.uk. Alternatively, you can go to the Planning Inspectorate’s Appeals Casework Portal, although you will need to set up an account before you can proceed. If you know of somebody without access to the Internet who might wish to comment, you could let them know that they can write, sending three copies, to  The Planning Inspectorate, Room 3P, Temple Quay House, 2 The Square, Bristol, BS1 6PN.

Please note all representations must be received by 20 June 2017.

The appeal documents are available for inspection at the Civic Centre, Paris Street, Exeter, EX1 1NN between 9.00am and 5.00pm Mondays to Fridays or via the Council’s website at www.exeter.gov.uk/planning. These links take you to the relevant pages. 16/0963/03  16/1505/03

Devon County Council is proposing to introduce a residents’ parking scheme in Topsham later this year. This follows the public consultation early in 2016. Details of the scheme are not yet available.

We have been informed by Exeter City Council that Heritage Homes has submitted appeals against the refusal of planning permission for the office block and the subsequent refusal for a block of flats on the same site. Details are not yet available.

In my post of 3 November, which followed the rejection of the Heritage Homes plans for an office block, I wondered how soon they’d be back. The answer is one month. They are now applying to build a block of flats in the same place and of about the same size as the proposed office block. You can find the full details here.

We are very pleased to be able to say that after a strenuous fight by David Burley and our local councillors, Exeter Planning Committee narrowly turned down the application to build a four storey office block on Exeter Road. Special thanks go to David and to Cllr Margaret Baldwin who made impassioned representations at the meeting on 31 October.

It was a particularly difficult battle to win because, for reasons not entirely clear, the planning officers were strongly supportive of the Heritage Homes application.

And of course many thanks as well to everyone who added their objections and made many important points, adding to the argument

We wonder what Heritage will think of next …

The application by Heritage Homes to build a four-storey office block close to the M5 on Exeter Road (16/0963/03) was considered by the Exeter City Council Planning Committee on 3 October. Despite strong objections by the Society, and some 100 objections by local residents, the Planning Department saw fit to recommend the plans for approval. The Society found this recommendation astonishing.

An excellent detailed presentation by Cllr Margaret Baldwin, a strong supporting speech by Cllr Andrew Leadbetter, and David Burley’s statement on behalf of the Society made the objectors’ case clear. After a lively discussion and some penetrating questioning of Heritage’s representative, the proposal was deferred for presentation to the Design Review Panel of independent Architects and Specialist to view and report on the appropriateness of the proposed building.

Given the one-sided position of the Planning Department, the Society will seek the Design Review Panel’s agreement to hearing a brief account of the Society’s objections. We consider that important to ensure that the Panel’s decision can be seen to be fair and balanced.

The Inspector’s report following the appeal by Waddeton Park Ltd against Exeter City Council’s refusal of planing permission was released today, 28 April 2016. We very much regret that despite the very strong objections of the local community, the Inspector found in favour of the appellant. The full report may be downloaded here. The report includes details of the conditions applying to the development.

The Public Inquiry opened at 10 am on 24 November in the Newcourt Community Centre. More than 100 members of the public were present.

The Inspector, Mr Bore, observed that he had been appointed at short notice because it was recognised that the Inspector originally appointed might have been prejudiced by a previous case. On examining the case papers before the Inquiry he had realised that Topsham Rugby Club was not a neutral venue, as required by legislation, because the Rugby Club had objected to the planning application. He thanked Exeter City Council (ECC) for having found a new location at such short notice. Although the legislation allowed the Secretary of State to change the venue in this way, Mr Bore recognised that the late change may have been prejudicial to members of the public wishing to attend. He also considered the premises to be inadequate given the numbers present.

He decided that he should adjourn the Inquiry and proposed to reconvene on 8 February 2016. The appellant and ECC both stated that this date was acceptable. Given that several members of the public wished to give evidence, he said that the reconvened Inquiry should be planned to extend over four days, not the three days originally proposed. It is for ECC to identify a venue. The details will be publicised in due course.

STOP PRESS

The Inspector has decided that it is inappropriate to hold the Inquiry in the Rugby Club. It will now be held in the new community centre on the Newcourt Housing Estate.

Please note that the Inquiry is expected to last for three days.

Exeter City Council refused to decide an application for planning permission to build a care home, assisted living apartments and dwellings on land to the north of Exeter Road. (Application 14/2066/01). The Planning Committee deferred a decision because the facts relevant to the Home Farm site appeal were also relevant to the Topsham Gap proposal.

The developers’ appeal against the Planning Committee’s action is due to be heard by the Planning Inspector at a public inquiry starting at 10 am on 24 November. The inquiry will be held at Topsham Rugby Club. The inquiry is open to attendance by members of the public.

The Society has previously objected to this development and intends to make a further representation to the Inspector.