Honiton homes plans opposed amid fears of ‘garden-grabbing’ and loss of inner-town green space
PUBLISHED: 17:00 09 May 2018 | UPDATED: 09:34 14 May 2018
A scheme to build two homes near Honiton’s town centre has been described as a ‘garden-grabbing’ bid by a town planner.
Cllr John Zarczynski made the comment when criticising an application to build two dwellings on land behind 157 High Street on Tuesday evening (May 8).
The plans, which include associated parking and garden space, came under from the planning committee, which agreed it would result in over-development of the site.
Applicant Mr James Yarrow wants to build a pair of semi-detached three-bed houses along a narrow plot behind properties in High Street, close to Toast Cafe.
His application said: “The dwellings have been orientated and positioned to accentuate the narrow long strip pattern of the plots, whilst maintaining a suitable buffer space to the rear of High Street properties 155 and 157 to reduce impact on these listed properties.”
Under the proposals, ‘Unit 1’ would have a private external garden and off-road parking provision for at least two cars.
‘Unit 2’ has a larger garden, but cars would have to park in the adjacent Lace Walk car park.
Councillor John Zarczynski said: “We have seen so much of what I call garden-grabbing in Honiton. We are losing quite a considerable amount of inner-town green space.
“If we are not careful, we are going to turn this town into one big gigantic concrete jungle.
“I feel this development is not suitable for that site - I think it will have a very detrimental effect on the neighbours.”
Under the proposals, some existing trees and shrubs at the site would be relocated.
Cllr Roy Coombs quoted a conservation officer’s report, which stated losing trees to accommodate dwellings would have an ‘adverse impact’ on the character of the town’s conservation area (the old part of Honiton’s town centre).
He added: “We have lost conifer after conifer in the conservation area... because they have not been in a sufficient condition to keep.
“Yet the consultant actually states... it [an existing conifer at the site] would have many years of life left if it was kept - and that is the applicant’s consultant.
“In theory, there might be a case to get a Tree Preservation Order on it.”
Planning committee members unanimously voted to oppose the plans.
East Devon District Council will determine its fate at a future meeting.
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