Objectors lose fight to restrict the height of homes at Axminster courthouse development

Axminster's old courthouse and former police station where eight new homes are to be built. Picture

Axminster's old courthouse and former police station where eight new homes are to be built. Picture Chris Carson - Credit: Archant

Plans to increase the height of some properties at a proposed housing development in Axminster have been approved despite strong local opposition.

Permission has already been granted for eight homes on the site of the former courthouse and police station in Lyme Close.

Now members of East Devon District Council’s planning committee have agreed that three of them can be changed from the original two-bedroom, two-storey dwellings to three bedroom, three storey dwellings with dormer windows.

The decision, which was in line with the recommendation of planning officers, comes despite local concerns the taller buildings would overlook nearby properties.

Axminster district councillor Andrew Moulding said: “I still maintain my objection as I don’t consider that three-storey properties in this location are appropriate.”

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Axminster county and district councillor Ian Hall said: “I recommend refusal as three-storey buildings are not a suitable or conducive to the area.”

Axminster Town Council said it objected on the grounds of loss of amenity by virtue of overlooking for the properties on the opposite side of Lyme Close. Councillors said there was no evidence to support the applicants’ assertion the proposed alterations to the homes on an elevated site would ‘meet local demand’.

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There were also four objections from local residents referring to the loss of privacy to properties opposite and the setting of precedent arising from the proposed dormers.

But in a report to the committee planning officers recommended approval for the application, saying that with the changes the development was considered to be acceptable in terms of amenity and streetscene impact’.

They added: “A slight increase in contributions towards off-site affordable housing provision would arise due to the increased floorspace created.”

Councillors were told that the former police station and magistrates’ court which currently occupy the site have been vacant for some years.

Historically, the site was the gardens/grounds for Lea Combe, a large detached property with associated outbuildings on the corner of Lyme Road and Field End.

This has since been demolished.

Adjacent to the Axminster Conservation Area, the site, despite the current buildings, it has been said it ‘gives a sense of green space and openness’.

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