Scheme for 32 homes at former Halse of Honiton site recommended for refusal

PUBLISHED: 18:00 23 April 2018 | UPDATED: 09:03 25 April 2018

An artist's impression of the proposed 32-home development at Foundry Yard, Honiton.

An artist's impression of the proposed 32-home development at Foundry Yard, Honiton.

Archant

An application to build a 32-home development on the former site of Halse of Honiton is being recommended for refusal.

EDDC's Knowle HQ. Ref shs 7705-15-12SH Picture: Simon HornEDDC's Knowle HQ. Ref shs 7705-15-12SH Picture: Simon Horn

In October last year, Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) unveiled plans for the brownfield site, which was vacated by the agricultural machinery company after 75 years of trading in Honiton.

The application will be debated at East Devon District Council’s development management committee meeting on May 1 as the officer recommendation differs from the view of one of the ward members.

A report to the committee said: “Options for retention of the site or premises for its current or similar use have not been robustly explored, the site having been subject of a flawed marketing exercise that ruled out any such uses before marketing began.

“Evidence... also indicates a strong demand for employment-generating sites in Honiton coupled with a shortage in the supply of such sites.

Councillor Phil Twiss pictured at the King's School in Ottery St Mary. Ref sho 3361-05-16SH. Picture: Simon HornCouncillor Phil Twiss pictured at the King's School in Ottery St Mary. Ref sho 3361-05-16SH. Picture: Simon Horn

“The release of the site for housing would therefore... not be sustainable development as it would contribute to imbalances in the provision of housing and jobs in Honiton.”

In its application, the HCA said the proposed development, at Foundry Yard, creates an opportunity to provide a ‘high-quality residential development’ that ‘integrates well’ with adjacent areas of Honiton.

The document adds: “The development will be sustainable, providing much needed open market and affordable homes in a town centre location, with good connectivity.”

The developer is also proposing ten of the proposed homes - or 30 per cent - to be affordable, five per cent more than the required provision of 25 per cent.

While the planning officer’s report notes this, it said the harm caused by losing such a major employment site carries the ‘most significant weight’.

In a report to the committee, Councillor Phil Twiss (Honiton St Michael) said the district has not lost any employment because Halse of Honiton relocated to Ottery St Mary, which is ‘easily accessible’ for both employees and larger vehicles.

He added: “I fully support the application and would be happy for the development management committee to make the decision of approval or otherwise, if required.”

Agenda papers also detail an objection made by Honiton Town Council’s planning committee, which highlighted the ongoing construction of homes by developer Baker Estates in Hayne Lane, Gittisham - and homes planned on employment land at Ottery Moor Lane.

In its report, the committee said: “There is no need for houses at Foundry Yard to help Honiton meet its current housing allocation and other possible uses not reliant on heavy goods vehicles do not seem to have been adequately considered.”

The committee also said a car park constructed on the site would benefit Honiton, adding: “Unless the Hayne Lane Old Elm Road junction is opened to non -emergency vehicles all vehicular traffic from both the above developments heading for the town centre will be funnelled along Exeter Road and the High Street.

“A public car park on the Foundry Yard site would reduce congestion and pollution in the town centre where it is sometimes already difficult to find a parking space.”

HCA’s application, of which all matters are reserved for approval except for access, will be debated at the development management committee meeting on May 1.

The meeting will take place at Knowle in Sidmouth from 10am.

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