No deal over Axminster eyesore

12:03 30 January 2014

The former Busy Bee florists shop in Axminster which EDDC

The former Busy Bee florists shop in Axminster which EDDC's conservation team say is an asset to the street scene. Photo by Chris Carson

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East Devon conservation team rejects compromise plan to allow demolition of former Bury Bee florists

Planning consultants have rejected a compromise deal to enable the demolition of one of Axminster’s biggest town centre eyesores.

While the district council’s conservation team is happy that Websters Garage is pulled down to make way for a temporary car park it says the neighbouring former Busy Bee florists shop should remain.

To the dismay of local residents it claims the derelict building makes a “net positive contribution to the significance of the Conservation Area” and its demolition is considered an unacceptable part of the application.

The view was described as “astonishing” by the town council, which unanimously agreed to write and express its anger that it could delay the long awaited redevelopment of the site.

Planning committee chairman Chris Scott said his members were “aghast” at the ruling.

Site owners, Hallmark Estates, also protested at the conservation team’s view.

But their agent Graham Barton, says their attempts to reach a compromise have fallen on deaf ears.

He told The Herald this week: “In an endeavour to pacify the conservation officer we offered to have a wall surrounding the right-hand landscaped seating and public art area.

“This was so that there was something solid in place of Busy Bee rather than the see-through railings we had proposed as part of the application when it first went in.

“The conservation officer has considered the offer and his response on the EDDC website is: “The addition of a rendered wall forming the right-hand side splay of the access has not allayed my concerns regarding the demolition of No 9 Lyme Street (Busy Bee). As long as there is no justification for the removal of this property I would strongly recommend the application for refusal.”

Mr Barton said the ruling was very disappointing and he hoped local people would make their feelings known to the planning authority.

“This standpoint could well result in a recommendation for refusal being put to the development management committee by the actual case planning officer if he follows his colleague’s lead,” he added.

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