The government agency behind the biggest development in Colyton for 30 years is set to choose a developer to deliver 74 new homes and 1,000sq m of employment space.
East Devon District Council’s (EDDC) Development Management Committee last week gave the go-ahead for the scheme on the site of the old CeramTec factory in Sidmouth Road.
The former factory at one stage employed more than 200 people, but it closed four years ago.
Homes England since purchased the site.
A spokesperson for the government agency said: “Homes England works to ensure more high-quality homes are built in the places where they’re most needed.
“Following the council’s unanimous approval of our plans for the former CeramTec factory, we will look to select a developer to deliver a mix of homes, business and public space at this important site in Colyton.”
A statement from Colyton Parish Council was read out to the Development Management Committee, saying that it was the largest development to take place in Colyton for more than three decades and was a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ solution towards the housing and employment needs in the town.
It added that, while representatives were pleased to see a mix of housing and employment for the site, the affordable housing contribution was ‘embarrassing’.
The applicants have proposed that 20 per cent of the homes are affordable, but the parish council said it would only support 30 per cent.
This equates to 21 houses – which would go some way towards fulfilling the 34 affordable homes recognised as being needed in the Parish through the housing needs survey.
Councillor Paul Arnott, who represents the Coly Valley ward, also raised his concerns about the affordable housing contribution.
He also questioned whether the business space was actually needed, but did say that Homes England is in a sense ‘white knights’ as, if it didn’t purchase the site, then it could have been left derelict for years.
The council’s development manager told the committee it was disappointing that a higher level of affordable housing could not be negotiated.
But he added: “The provision of an element of affordable housing, in the context of a significant local need, while not the full amount, would go some way to also offset the contravention of policy.”
A further application for the detailed elements of the scheme is now expected to be submitted.