Councillor calims Axminster ‘stuffed’ by planning decision

Douglas Hull fears gridlock in town centre.

The road was identified as a priority during the Market and Coastal Town Initiative, which culminated in a document setting out Axminster’s aspirations for the future.

Town and district councillor Douglas Hull is disappointed Axminster will have to wait.

And he says the town has been “stuffed” by East Devon District Council’s decision.

“I am so disillusioned as the council one day said we’ll have consultations and has then given planning permission for a development that is outside the development line of Axminster.

“People in Axminster are saying ‘I told you so’.

“I have no faith in East Devon District Council.

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“We have been stuffed.”

Axminster Town Council had recommended the plan for refusal, due to concerns over the traffic infrastructure.

Councillor Hull added: “I fear that we will have gridlock in the town.

“We’ll have more vehicles coming in and out of Cloakham Lawns and coming through the town.

“The infrastructure should be dealt with first, before any more planning is given. As far as we’re concerned, the planning committee has said ‘we don’t want to know you’ and give planning permission - the views of people in Axminster are completely meaningless.

“Why do East Devon District Council come out with policies to give us the chance to put our views forward and don’t really mean it?

“The shopkeepers want development and I want more in the correct places, not stuck in the middle of a number of developments. We have got to have them in appropriate places.”

Councillor Hull is also concerned that the approval of the development could make way for other, similar developments in the town.

He said: “It will mean that it will open up the possibilities for developers to put forward an application for another 100 homes alongside Cloakham Lawns.

“We are not anti-Axminster Carpets, we are just anti the fact that the infrastructure needs to be sorted out.

“We want homes for young people and homes in Axminster to enhance our town, but in the right place, and have the right infrastructure before anything else is given.”

A spokesman from East Devon District Council said: “The council cannot refuse to deal with an application on the basis that it is premature until such time as the Local Development Framework is approved.

“We are under an obligation to determine the application.

“In this particular case, the outline proposal is in line with the emerging policy.”