Plans submitted to turn Ottery’s Children’s Centre into a two-bedroom house

Ottery St Mary’s former Children’s Centre could be turned into a dwelling – with cash from the sale of the property being put towards the development of a new primary school for Tipton St John.

East Devon District Council has received a planning application to change the use of the Tip Hill building. The proposal seeks to convert the redundant centre into a two-bedroom house, with the removal of a canopy and ramps.

The application, submitted by Devon County Council, further seeks permission for the creation of parking and a garden.

A former hall of the Marist Convent, the property is not a listed building and does not require an Historic Context Assessment. However, much of its original fabric is retained.

Devon County Council recently offered the former children’s centre for sale with an asking price of £170,000, but efforts to market it without planning permission were unsuccessful.

Children’s centre and Sure Start cash

The county council refurbished the property in 2009 with Sure Start cash, as part of a national roll-out of children’s centres, and has previously marketed the freehold stating there is potential for conversion into a home.

The property is located in a Conservation Area and sales particulars state it largely comprises an open plan design internally.

Children’s centre services were provided under contract to the county council by Action for Children. However, the council decided to cease the contract for Ottery, leaving the building with no use.

The current application was submitted by David Bowles, of Devon County Council, and the agent is NPS South West Limited, the company which marketed the property on behalf of the county council.

In a Heritage Statement, the agent says: “The brick garden wall and trellis will be altered but this was a new addition installed in 2009. The alterations will allow the garden to be bigger and provide more privacy with a timber slatted fence on top of the brick wall.”

NPS has told East Devon District Council that the property was marketed between March and August with no offers being received. The sales particulars state cash raised from the sale will be put towards the development of a new primary school for Tipton St John.

East Devon District Council is currently seeking comments from consultees.

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