Fury over plans to extend Axminster estate

PUBLISHED: 09:01 15 February 2012

Lesley Gale (left) with near neighour Heather Collins and her children Hana and Megane near the portable cabins where they thought a play area was to be built. Photo Chris Casrson

Lesley Gale (left) with near neighour Heather Collins and her children Hana and Megane near the portable cabins where they thought a play area was to be built. Photo Chris Casrson

Archant

Developer accused of planning to build houses on land earmarked for a play area and open space

RESIDENTS on an Axminster housing estate are going into battle to halt the bulldozers.

Families in Millbrook Meadows are furious over plans to build a further 98 homes on land they claim was designated as an open space and play area.

They say developers Wainhomes have broken a promise not to extend the estate beyond the existing boundary and are meeting with MP Neil Parish next week to urge him to join their fight.

Campaign leader Lesley Gale, who lives in Flax Meadow Lane with husband Paul, is marshalling support from fellow residents to back their case.

She told The Herald they were never told there would be a “phase three” development on the site when they bought their home.

She said: “When we bought in 2011 we were told, as were many other people, that our house would have nice views, be at the end of a cul de sac, and that there would be a public open space and play area in front of us. If Phase three goes ahead we will lose all of that.

“From the very beginning Wainhomes has been telling buyers there would be a play area and public open spaces. This played a major part in the decision to move to the development for many people, especially to families with children.

Mrs Gale says she is so fed up with no one listening to their complaints she has contacted the BBC consumer programme “Rip off Britain” who are investigating the matter.

She added: “I was threatened with legal action by Wainhomes the day after I started visiting neighbours’ homes to let people know about the planning.

“A lot of residents’ anger is because most of them have had no idea what is going on which is extremely stressful. I have spoken to several residents who will be affected, yet they knew absolutely nothing about it. One neighbour told me she finds out the most by talking to the workmen on site.”

Heather Collins lives at 78 Flax Meadow Lane with husband Daryl and children Hana, two, and Megan, eight. Step children Ross, aged 10, who has learning difficulties and Eve, 12, are regular weekend residents there.

She said they were horrified to find potable work cabins have now been put on land outside their home which was allocated for recreation use.

She said: “We have been waiting years for the promised play area – if they build houses in front of ours we will lose our freedom,” she said.

Now Mrs Gale wants people to contact her with their experiences of dealing with the developers ahead of her meeting with Mr Parish on Friday, February 24.

Contact her on 01297 792065 or at lesley.gale@sky.com

A spokesman for Wainhomes said: “The proposed development at Axminster is an allocated residential site within the East Devon Local Plan adopted on 19th July 2006.

“It is a site that has had extensive consultation throughout the Local Plan process and a very long planning history. We are therefore very surprised if any local person was not aware of the future intentions that this land was to be developed for housing. This full planning application reference 10/0132/MFUL was submitted in March 2011 and approved at committee in June 2011, it has undergone the full statuary consultation by East Devon Council. “Wainhomes are pleased that after long delays this land can be finally released to provide much needed affordable housing to local people.”


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