Plans for 59 ‘extra care’ retirement apartments and office block in Exmouth are rejected

A bid to build 59 retirement apartments and an office block off Salterton Road in Exmouth has been rejected.

East Devon District Council’s (EDDC) Planning Committee turned down blueprints for the four-storey ‘extra care’ facility – exclusively for over-70s – earmarked for a plot next to Tesco.

They also panned the inclusion of a two-floor employment space as a ‘sweetener’.

Previous blueprints for just retirement apartments on the two-and-a-half-acre site were turned down by EDDC in 2017 – with a subsequent appeal also rejected on 2019.

The site is allocated as employment in the council’s Local Plan and applicant YourLife Management Services Ltd – a joint-venture by McCarthy and Stone and Somerset Care – changed its proposals to include office space.

The site off Salterton Road in Exmouth.

The site off Salterton Road in Exmouth.

EDDC planning officers had recommended that the scheme be approved.

But Exmouth Withycombe Raleigh representative Councillor Brenda Taylor said: “This has gone on for far too long. We don’t need another block on Salterton Road and we have plenty of care homes.”

Fellow ward member Cllr Steve Gazzard, who proposed refusal, added: “This revised plan is slightly amended and a sweetener offered to the council by the four business units.

“But the plan hasn’t addressed the issues of the marketing for the site and is snubbing the Neighbourhood Plan and we either agree that they are important and take note or we might as well have not bothered.

“We have more than enough of care facilities in Exmouth, and we have one around the corner.”

Cllr Philip Skinner said: “We are desperate to have flat employment space for Exmouth and the clear lack of employment space is evident for everyone to see.

“I cannot support this and it throws against everything that we do.”

Cllr Olly Davey added: “They have just tagged on four industrial units which is not enough to compensate the loss of the employment land. We have lost so much employment land and there is an overprovision of care homes.”

Exmouth From the planning application - an artist's impression of the proposed building.

From the planning application – an artist’s impression of the proposed building.

EDDC officers had recommended that the scheme for approval.

Development manager Chris Rose said in a report to the committee: “On balance, while the proposal would conflict with certain elements of the development plan, the economic benefits and the creation of additional jobs, particularly in this time of significant economic difficulty, is considered to outweigh the loss of a relatively small area of allocated employment land.”

Councillors voted to reject the application on the grounds of the loss of employment land.

McCarthy and Stone last year responded to criticism of its plans, saying the ‘much-needed’ scheme could inject £10.9million into the local economy.

‘Extra care’ is described as ‘suitable for tenants with a heightened level of assisted care requirement’.

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