Planners back proposed £400k community cash injection into Honiton and Gittisham
PUBLISHED: 11:00 01 November 2017 | UPDATED: 09:19 03 November 2017
The money comes from an amended section 106 agreement offered by Baker Estates.
A developer has promised to inject £400,000 into Honiton and Gittisham if it can reduce the amount of social housing in an approved scheme.
Baker Estates will be building 300 homes on land west of Hayne Lane in Gittisham, which received planning permission in 2015, but now wants to slash the number of affordable homes from 120 to 90.
In return, it’s offering £250,000 for healthcare projects in Honiton and Gittisham and £50,000 for sports facilities within both parishes.
The developer also plans to contribute £100,000 to affordable housing projects being undertaken by Gittisham Community Land Trust or on similar projects within both parishes.
The final condition of the agreement will see a new 1,000 sq ft community building be construction on the site.
If approved, the money will be secured by East Devon District Council through a section 106 agreement.
At a meeting on Tuesday, Baker Estates’ technical director Graham Hutton said: “The reason we have come up with the proposed section 106 package that we have is that we have understood what the desires of Gittisham and Honiton are.
“We have tried to come up with a package which is better – under the current scheme nobody seems to get what they want.”
Mr Hutton said the 40 per cent affordable housing does not seem to be the top priority of either Honiton Town Council or Gittisham Parish Council.
Cllr John Zarczynski said the ‘vibrations’ he was getting from East Devon District Council meant he was ‘wobbling’ on whether Honiton would receive the money.
He added: “What you are proposing is very generous, but I just feel at the moment there is nothing concrete that we will actually see the money.”
Mr Hutton said Baker Estates has written things ‘as carefully targeted as we can’ to make sure the money is ‘ringfenced’ in Honiton and Gittisham.
He added: “The challenge is to make sure that the drafting of any 106 amendment ties that money specifically to benefit your town.”
Baker Estates has already agreed to pay £825,000 to Devon County Council for primary education facilities, and provide allotments and a play area, as part of its original 106 agreement.
Town planners unanimously supported the proposed amendment.
Speaking after the meeting, Mr Hutton said: “We are delighted that Honiton Town Council last night voted unanimously to support our proposals to vary the section 106 agreement for the land west of Hayne Lane.
“Through our extensive consultation on the two reserved matters applications for the site, it became clear to us that the existing agreement didn’t adequately meet the needs of the local community.
As such, we feel that the addition of significant financial contributions towards healthcare, off-site affordable housing and sports facilities, alongside a new community hall in the development better meets the aspirations of Gittisham and Honiton.
“However, while we are very grateful for the support of Honiton Town Council, we are well aware that Gittisham Parish Council and East Devon District Council still need to have their say and we look forward to meeting with them soon.”