Bid to build three-storey apartment block in Exmouth is rejected over fears for residents in neighbouring retirement complex

A bid to demolish a 14-bedroom house in multiple occupation in Exmouth and replace it with nine apartments have been turned down.

East Devon District Council’s (EDDC) Planning Committee refused the scheme for ‘Chestnuts’ at 65 Salterton Road by five votes to three, writes Local Democracy Reporter Joe Ives.

Concerns were raised over the size of the proposed new building and its potential impact on residents of neighbouring retirement housing complex Bronte Court.

I have noted in the past that some residents in such situations literally lose the will to live…

The proposed scheme would have been three storeys tall and contained three- and four-bedroom flats -.with a total of 18 parking spaces.

EDDC officers had recommended the plans for approval.

Exmouth Littleham councillor Nick Hookway said his main concern was ‘the harm that it will cause the residents of Bronte Court’.

He added: “I believe that it is the duty of this committee to protect those people who live in sheltered accommodation such as Bronte Court.

“These residents I classify as vulnerable. Let’s face it, many of us will end up in such accommodation and it’s not a pleasant prospect.

“I have noted in the past that some residents in such situations literally lose the will to live, especially when they have to deal with the ongoing pressure and hassle that a planning application like this can bring.

“As a council, I believe we should be protecting vulnerable residents from this type of pressure.”

Exmouth Littleham representative Councillor Bruce De Saram said: “The design could be classified as unpleasant, too large and a mass too great.”

Malcolm Gigg, an architect speaking on behalf of the applicant, said that the additional floor would not intrude on the privacy of neighbours.

He added that the upper windows would be above eye level and only the sky could be seen from them.

Mr Gigg also noted that greenery would shield the property lower down.

Cllr Philip Skinner spoke in favour of the application and said: “I think it’s making really good use of a particular building and bringing it into the modern day.”

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