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The long derelict Rodney Rendell site at Axminster where 36 homes are to be built. Photo by Chris Carson

Homes go ahead for Axminster eyesore site

Wednesday, November 28, 2012
1.06 PM

But local councillors angry that calls to retain some of the Rodney Rendell land for industrial use were rejected

One of Axminster’s biggest eyesores is set to be redeveloped for housing.

Brookvale Homes has finally won permission to build 20 houses and 16 flats on the long-derelict Rodney Rendell site, on Chard Road.

It is hoped to make all 36 properties available as affordable housing.

In granting permission East Devon District Council rejected calls for at least part of the land to be retained for employment use – its designation in the lcola plan.

The development management committee’s decision to reject a compromise deal to include both houses and industrial units on the site was slammed by ward member John Jeffery this week.

“It beggars belief,” he told The Herald.

Cllr Jeffery and Axminster town council had called for split scheme on the site, a mix of small houses along the roadside and industry units behind, where the site adjoins a working farm

“We are desperately short of industrial land in Axminster,” he said. “There is quite a strong interest from a local company to develop the land in front of the farm for industrial use. It is not common sense to put houses there.”

Cllr Jeffery said the compromise scheme could also have included a much needed footpath down to Weycroft, and with 36 homes now approved he said he did not know “how much more traffic Chard Road can cope with”.

But in their report to district councillors, planning officers said there had been no interest from anyone in using the land for employment purposes.

They said it could be shown there was “a surplus of employment land in the area” and options for retaining the site for employment uses had been fully explored without success.

“It had been comprehensively marketed but there has not been any serious interest in the site,” they added.

The committee also heard about the poor untidy state of the site – at Axminster’s northern gateway - and the number of years it had been vacant and derelict.

The joint scheme between Brookvale Homes and Hastoe Housing Association proposes 20 two-storey houses and a three to four storey block of 16 flats. The houses will be a mix of two and three bedroom and the flats two and one bedroom.

Access will be taken from a new road to the rear of the site with pedestrian access maintained to the front, linked to the existing pavement by a new section of pavement across part of the frontage.

Parking will provided adjacent to the properties and in two courtyards, allocated at the ration of two spaces per house and one space per flat, to provide 56 spaces in all.