Appeal to revive plan for Ottery town centre apartments is rejected

A bid to revive rejected proposals for five ‘affordable’ apartments in Ottery St Mary town centre has been turned down.

The Government has dismissed an appeal over blueprints for homes at 8 Mill Street because the scheme would affect the privacy of neighbouring residents.

The applicant took their case to the Planning Inspectorate after East Devon District Council (EDDC) refused the scheme in November last year.

They had asked for a change of use at the premises, formerly an electrical shop, to create five dwellings aimed at ‘local young people’.

The apartments would have been created on the building’s first and second floors, while keeping the shop front and a portion of the retail space.

EDDC did not grant permission because of the ‘unacceptable levels of overlooking’ and ‘intrusion onto the privacy of the occupiers’ posed to homes to the east of the site.

Appealing the decision, the applicant said housing developments in the town – at the old mill and near to The King’s School – were ‘out of the price range of local young people’.

“The scheme we have put forward creates quality dwellings/apartments at affordable prices and ensures that local young people who want to stay in Ottery St Mary can afford to rent them,” the Planning Inspectorate was told.

It was also questioned whether people ‘meaningfully’ look out of their lounge or bedroom windows.

“The higher chance of overlooking is from a commercial use, and not residential that is in high demand,” stated the appeal submission.

“We do not feel that the development of 8 Mill Street will be detrimental to the surrounding residents.

“We feel that affordable homes should be available for all.”

A government planning inspector dismissed the appeal.

He said the ‘main issue’ of the proposed development was its effect on the living conditions of occupants of three neighbouring dwellings which face the east elevation of 8 Mill Street.

“There would be direct inter-visibility at reasonably close quarters so as to be particularly uncomfortable, not only for the occupants of the neighbouring residences but also correspondingly for prospective residents of the proposed flats,” said the inspector.

He concluded: “The proposed development would not result in harm with regards to outlook from either the appeal property or from the neighbouring residences.

“However, the appeal scheme would have a significant harmful effect on the living conditions of both future occupants of the proposed flats and for existing occupiers of the neighbouring dwellings in terms of privacy.”

The ruling was made on May 17.

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