Neighbours win fight to halt homes plan

Axminster trade leader loses his latest bid for a homes development near a busy main road

The chairman of Axminster Chamber of Trade has lost his latest bid for a homes development near a busy main road.

Shane Morgan submitted revised plans to build two detached houses and a detached garage in the grounds of Browhill House.

The scheme for the two-storey homes also included improved vehicular access onto Musbury Road.

A similar application to develop the orchard site was rejected earlier this year on road safety grounds. Planners then ruled that the lack of a suitable footpath on the A358, a “narrow heavily trafficked county primary route”, would “prejudice pedestrian safety and also be likely to lead to increased reliance on the car”.

Mr Morgan maintained his new application addressed the concerns.

And Axminster Town Council, which opposed the first plan, supported the new scheme as did mayor Andrew Moulding.

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But at its meeting last week, East Devon District Council’s development management committee rejected the application after hearing from some eight angry neighbours and the highway authority.

Kevin Oliphant, whose bungalow adjoins the proposed development site, told them: “I am speechless that a property of this design would ever be considered. We are all single-storey dwellings in the immediate area.

“This proposed hut is totally unsuited to an area developed in the 60s/70s. Most of us enjoy far-reaching countryside views…the impact it would make would be devastating to many residents. The six bungalows here were clearly developed to enjoy the natural beauty and peacefulness of our area.”

Another neighbour, Colin Baker wrote to say: “It is unthinkable that any council would allow the building of such properties in an area mostly taken up with bungalows and a small terrace of houses. These two dwellings are not in keeping with the area, an offence to the eye.

“And none-the-less important is the access to the properties via the Musbury Road. There is still nowhere for anyone on foot to safely walk to and from the proposed site, and vehicular access appears to be very questionable indeed.”

The highway authority also recommended refusal, despite plans for improved road access.

It said: “Whereas the proposed pedestrian footway link to the footpath represents an improvement when compared to the previous application, the highway authority still does not consider that this link is sufficient to overcome the previous recommendation to refuse planning permission.”