32-home development at former Halse of Honiton site thrown out - despite calls for approval

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. - Credit: Archant

Proposals to transform a major Honiton brownfield site into a 32-home development have been refused by district planners.

East Devon District Council’s development management committee voted to support planning officers’ proposals to reject the plans at the former Foundry Yard, despite arguments the site would not be viable anymore.

The outline application proposed the demolition of existing buildings at the site, the former home of agricultural machinery supplier Halse of Honiton, to develop up to 32 dwellings, including 30 per cent affordable housing, and access.

Paul Britton, representing applicant Homes England, told the meeting that keeping the site as employment land was not viable and the focus was to provide affordable housing aimed at first-time buyers.

He said: “We want for people that have grown up here in the town to stay within the town, to have families and to contribute to the huge benefits that are within Honiton already.”

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Mr Britton was supported by district ward member Councillor Phil Twiss who said the site had been an ‘accident waiting to happen’ when Halse of Honiton occupied it and that Honiton needed homes.

Cllr Twiss said: “There should be a degree of common sense with a finely balanced application such as this one that is clearly in the common good.

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“As an employment site, this was an accident waiting to happen and the relocation by the previous occupier has been a huge success with all Honiton staff, relocating to the new premises, 15 additional new jobs being created and more to follow in the next three years.”

Committee member Cllr Alan Dent also supported the application, telling colleagues that it was one of the council’s main priorities to provide affordable housing for young people in a sustainable area.

Officers had recommended refusal as the site was employment land, susceptible to flooding, and the applicant had not carried out marketing exercise to show a need for a change of land.

Councillor Steve Gazzard said: “Although the scheme has a lot of good in it, unfortunately I do feel we have to protect our employment land.”

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