14. March 2021 · Comments Off on Planning News · Categories: News, Planning

Planning applications on the previously protected Topsham Gap Lands, continue to be a focus for the Planning Panel’s work. Recent cases include the Reserved Matters/replacement Detailed applications for 7 houses (20/0121/RES) and 27 houses (increased from the 23 approved at outline stages) (20/0437/FUL) off Newcourt Road, the approval of 64 houses at Broom Park off Exeter Rd (20/0321/FUL) 155 Houses off Clyst Rd (20/0849/RES) and a 5 storey office slab block off Wessex Close (20/0938/FUL).

In each case the Society has objected to proposals, but despite vociferous objection, including representing the town at Planning Committee meetings (which due to Covid restrictions are now online, buffering elected councillors from the impact of physical representation from towns people) all have been approved, despite all being in contravention of Exeter City Councils adopted Policy. Dispiritingly, at one recent meetings the Chairman of the Council, who had previously been a more understanding member of the pro-growth Labour-led council, stated in response to ward members observation that Topsham had taken its fair share of volume development, that “Topsham is a port and that boat has sailed”. From this and the recent draft GESP (Greater Exeter Strategic Plan) it is clear that the council no longer has the will to offer even token resistance to the loss of the Gap.

Whilst the Society understand the difficulty the Council has placed itself in by failing to foresee the impact of Housing Supply Targets when these were introduced in 2012, its inaction in the intervening 9 years to “plug the hole” is lamentable and leaves all City communities exposed to the Wild West of unplanned development. This pro growth at any cost stance was highlighted by the Wessex Close office approval, where despite there not being the policy driver as there is for housing  the Council placed reliance on the conclusions of the applicant-commissioned report by the Devon Design Review Panel which was not made available to the public for comment, over the strong opposition of the councils own Urban Designer who mirrored many of the Society’s objections. The Society believe this is a clear breach of due process, setting a dangerous precedent, and is pursuing the matter currently. Public presentations at Planning Meetings are limited to 3 minutes. Previously the Society has been able to boost its impact by our ward member asking questions, so we could expand our arguments, and making his own statement about applications. It was particularly concerning recently that our new local ward member on the Planning Committee failed to either ask questions or speak in defence of the town. We are attempting to ensure this situation does not reoccur.

20. August 2019 · Comments Off on Planning Application – May’s Field · Categories: Planning

The Society has submitted this objection to the application for change of use and to build a stable block in May’s Field.

15. February 2019 · Comments Off on Topsham Parking Review · Categories: Planning

At its meeting on 14 January 2019, Devon County Council’s Exeter Highways and Traffic Orders Committee approved the parking scheme proposals. The DCC website is not the easiest to explore: the relevant committee minutes are here. Details of the traffic order are in Report HIW/19/2 which is a pdf file. We have no information on when the scheme will be implemented.

13. February 2018 · Comments Off on Clyst Road Development · Categories: Planning

As expected, the developer appealed against refusal. A public inquiry was held over the period 4-6 December. The inspector could not be faulted for his efforts to allow all interested parties to put forward their views. He even allowed the Topsham Society to put questions to the appellants witnesses. The barrister appointed by the Council put forward the Council’s case better than could have been expected, but she was sorely let down by her client on the third day, when the Inspector was moved to describe Exeter City Council as “shambolic”.

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 has finally got around to introducing a residents’ parking scheme in Topsham. There will be an exhibition in the Rugby Club on 23 and 24 May 2018

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 …