Honiton Town Council says no to Holyshute House development plans

Council questions whether there is a need for more sheltered housing in the town.

PLANS to build sheltered accommodation on the site of Holyshute House in Monkton Road have been unanimously opposed by Honiton Town Council.

The application, by Churchill Retirement Living Ltd, to build 41 apartments on the ‘non-designated heritage site’ was discussed during last week’s meeting of the council’s planning committee.

Many of the concerns centred on problems concerning traffic and access, together with fears that existing parking problems would be made worse by adding an additional 14 spaces.

The committee questioned whether there was a need for further sheltered housing in the town.

Councillor Nick Cornwell said: “For me, the heritage aspect is the clincher. If there is a need - I’m quite convinced there shouldn’t be more sheltered housing in Honiton - is this the right place for it? Why do they have to demolish an historic building?”

Councillor Elizabeth Tirard added: “We lose so much of our town’s history and we have very little in the way of regency houses.”

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A submission from the architects, working on the development plans, said it would provide much- needed social accommodation and the design was appropriate and would make a contribution to the street scene and enhance the character and improve road safety.

However, Councillor John Taylor said a new influx of elderly residents would have a knock-on effect on GPs and health services.

He said: “It is a serious pull on our health services to consider an increase in the number of people in Honiton. It has been generated by these sort of homes.”

Further concerns were raised on the impact on ecology and wildlife.

The principal conservation officer at East Devon District Council advised that the local authority should not support demolishing the existing building, which he stated was a non-designated heritage site.

The council felt the lack of facilities in the northern end of town would be a disadvantage to residents and would increase car journeys and pollution in Honiton.

Councillor Tirard said: “If they (residents) have to go to the doctors they have to go up a difficult hill and have to travel further to get to the surgery or hospital. We will have them dropping like flies on the way.”

Councillor Cornwell added: “My view is that it is a terribly overwritten application, saying it’s all brilliant and there are hardly any drawbacks. It is slightly misleading and a bit too rosy and glowing.”

Councillor Vivienne Ash proposed that, should the application proceed to the committee stage, the town council attend and make a presentation.