'Lost opportunity' for public garden

PUBLISHED: 09:20 22 August 2012

New plans to be approved for a residential development in Honiton.

A councillor has warned Honiton Town Council that it may never get an opportunity to have a community garden in the town centre again - if permission is granted for a new residential development.

Councillor Roy Coombs, speaking at a meeting last week, raised concerns over the proposals for land north of Field View, at the rear of 46 and 52 High Street, which have been recommended for approval by East Devon District Council.

He said: “It is a lost opportunity when there is a shortage of open spaces in urban parts of Honiton.”

Mr Coombs added: “We will never get this opportunity again in the centre of Honiton.”

The proposals comprise the redevelopment of the site, including the conversion of the existing building, to create eight dwellings with associated garaging and parking.

The site had been earmarked for a public garden - an amenity included in the new local plan for the town.

It is also covered by a development brief, which envisaged the site for residential use along with the provision of a public garden.

During the meeting, Councillor Vivienne Ash said she felt the town council had followed the district council’s guidance and stated “it seems to me we are damned if we do and damned if we don’t, dealing with East Devon District Council”.

Councillor John Zarczynski said he believed concerns over costs had stuck in the minds of the district council and said it could be one of the reasons it was not keen to get the garden off the ground.

It was noted that the town council had not been approached to maintain the garden.

Councillor Mike Allen told the town council it could still plead for a site visit to be conducted by the district council.

It was decided that Councillor Coombs would represent the town council at a development management committee meeting, held at the Knowle yesterday (Tuesday), when the plans were expected to be approved subject to conditions.

A report prepared by the district council states: “The brief does not propose provision of a formal public garden but for the reasons set out in the report it is not considered that the lack of this provision would warrant refusal of the application.

“As the application is considered to be acceptable in all other respects it is recommended for approval subject to the suggested conditions.”

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