Proposals for new homes in Poltimore rejected ‘with sadness’ by East Devon planners

‘Unsustainable’ proposals for eight new homes in Poltimore have been turned by East Devon planning chiefs. 

Councillors made the decision ‘with sadness’ after the scheme for land west of Kilmore House  – which featured six ‘affordable’ dwellings – was considered by the authority on Monday (February 15).

Applicant Martin Reeves told the committee that the project was about keeping communities together in small village areas.

He added: “This is a must and, if you take the youth away, the village will die, as the properties are way too expensive for 99 per cent of people.

“People have a right to live in the village they have grown up in.

“There are schools in walking distance, a village shop, hall, pub, and the church, and we will have a play park in the development.

“We are trying to build a community and not dissect one. It is vital more than ever to keep the community together so the community can thrive.”

But recommending refusal, East Devon District Council (EDDC) development manager Chris Rose cited five reasons why the application should be turned down.

The mooted development site on land west of Kilmore House in Poltimore. Image shown to East Devon District Council's Planning Committee

The mooted development site on land west of Kilmore House in Poltimore. Image shown to East Devon District Council’s Planning Committee

He said: “While the proposal would address the housing need numbers for affordable housing in this immediate locality… it remains the case that insufficient justification has been provided to satisfy the policy requirements in terms of unit types and location.

“The site lies in an unsustainable location with insufficient services and facilities to meet the needs of potential occupiers resulting in an unsustainable form of development reliant on private modes of transport, and the proposed development, by virtue of the number and scale of dwellings, would introduce a form of development which would present a harsh urban form within the open countryside.

“The heritage impact of the proposed development on the adjacent Grade II listed building Poltimore House is not considered to be acceptable and it is not considered that any benefits of the proposed development would be sufficient to outweigh this harm.

“In addition, it has not been demonstrated how the development would achieve the valley park specific objectives for people and wildlife for the Clyst Valley Regional Park, or that there would be no adverse effect on the County Wildlife Site within which the site is located.”

Councillor Philip Skinner said: “I don’t want to be coming here and not supporting applications for affordable housing, but there is no support from officers, the parish council, and no support from the ward member.

“So on that basis, and the many reasons why we shouldn’t support, I have to move for refusal and the recommendation of officers.“

Cllr Olly Davey added: “There is just not enough support from officers for this one.

“It is in the Clyst Valley Regional Park, it’s too close to Poltimore House, and there are just too many objections, as sad as I am to refuse this.”

EDDC’s Planning Committee voted by nine to none, with three abstentions, to refuse the application.

Decision over ‘refreshing’ plan for affordable homes to ‘keep Poltimore alive’ is delayed