Homes and industry mix ‘could put lives at risk’
08:55 24 January 2013
Axminster councillors deplore decision to allow 36 homes to be built next to a busy industrial estate
Planners have been condemned for allowing a housing development near a busy industry site at Axminster.
Building family homes next to businesses could put lives at risk, they have been warned.
The outcry follows East Devon District Council’s decision to give the go ahead for 36 homes on the long-derelict Rodney Rendell site, at Millwey Rise.
In granting permission to Brookvale Homes the development management committee rejected calls for at least part of the land to be retained for employment use – its designation in the local plan.
Last week furious business bosses from the nearby industrial estate complained they were never consulted about the housing application.
They warned that children could be put at risk from commercial vehicles and residents in the new homes – 26 houses and 16 flats – would be subjected to smells and noise form the neighbouring industrial units.
Angry Shaun Vining, who runs the Complete Meats plant nearby, said the first he knew of the homes development was when he read it had been approved in The Midweek Herald.
Speaking during the public forum session he asked Axminster Town Council: “Why did this slip through without a fuss? No one told us about this until it was too late.”
Millwey ward councillor Ian Hall said the town council had opposed the application but unfortunately the district authority had the final say.
“It’s a crazy idea on traffic grounds alone – a no brainer,” he said. “I don’t want anything to do with this – if anyone gets hurt we can say we told you so.”
He added: “It is frustrating the way East Devon Council treats us. We are the voice of the community but time and again the civil servants don’t listen because they have their own agenda.”
Mayor Andrew Moulding said it was a democratic decision “but it was the wrong decision”.
He agreed that nearby business owners, like Mr Vining, should have been consulted about the housing application. It was a failing of the system that only residential properties received notification.
He said he had huge concerns about the dangerous bend there and children going on the industrial estate with heavy traffic. Conditions needed to be imposed to ensure safety
“We will be watching like a hawk when we see the final details,” he said.
Axminster district councillor Graham Godbeer said he had been unable to make his objections about the “deplorable” loss of employment land in person to the planning committee but they had been read out.
“So the committee was aware of our feelings but perhaps not the strength of them,” he said.
Cllr Gobeer also questioned whether the committee had been given the full information about the extent of efforts made to find an industrial use for the site.
Deputy Mayor Jeremy Walden asked: “Could it be rescinded if the information given subsequently proved to be false?”
Cllr Moulding said any information that an offer had been made for the site for industrial use and rejected would be “very useful”.
The town council is to write to East Devon Council condemning the decision to allow the housing scheme.