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.

The following applications affecting Topsham were listed by Exeter City Planning Department on 12 November 2015. Letters of objection, comment or support must be made in writing (or by email to planning@exeter.gov.uk) within 21 days of the listing date.

62, 63 & 64 High Street, Topsham. Change of use from takeaway/restaurant (in part) to residential accommodation comprising conversion to 2 flats at 1st and 2nd floor, creation of a four person house to rear and alterations to the frontage. 15/1187/03

1A Tresillian Gardens, Topsham. Erection of a garage. 15/1208/03

Middleten, 13 Station Road. Fell 1 tree. 15/1214/06