Planners urged to reject changes to Axminster estate

Neighbours fear new homes will destroy their privacy and add to flooding risks

A CONTROVERSIAL Axminster housing development has sparked fresh protests.

Neighbours of the site at Duke’s Way, where 41 houses are being built, claim privacy and flooding issues are not being properly addressed.

And Axminster Town Council has detailed its concerns about the development in a lengthy report to district council planners - opposing Betterment Properties’ application to amend their original designs.

The company is asking to make a number of changes including raising ground levels, removing a footpath and altering plot layouts.

But the town council points out that this new application has arisen because of “a failure by the applicant to submit to the district council information required within the timescale set out in the original application”.

Town Clerk Hilary Kirkcaldie adds: “Works on the site have been started based on the plans submitted in relation to that planning application which are deviations from what was then proposed and approved.

Most Read

“Axminster Town Council opposes this new application on grounds relating specifically to issues at the Duke’s Way end of the site, in some instances arising from the applicant’s need to access the site from Duke’s Way by a route which differs from that in the original 2005 proposal.”

Site neighbours are also objecting to the amendments.

Leading the campaign is Duke’s Way resident Valerie Cullimore who has become increasingly worried as the new homes have started to go up.

She says one nearby bungalow is so high the kitchen windows overlook her neighbour’s bedroom.

And she is worried that there is no clear maintenance plan for a ditch running along the back of her home which she claims poses a serious flooding risk.

“The site is full of springs,” she said. “We don’t expect to halt the development but we are just hoping to get them to deal with things if a sensible way.”

In a statement John Loosemore, managing director of Betterment Homes said yesterday:

“The estate roads as already constructed on site commenced in September 2009 and have never altered from those approved on application 05/2665/MFUL and agreed with Devon County Council.

“Secondly, the surface water attenuation balancing pond designed by our engineers and then approved by the Environment Agency has already been constructed on site and is just awaiting connection of the pipework and headwalls.

“The infilling of the carpark was always part of the previously approved scheme and again has not altered. In fact on the resubmission Betterments has lowered the levels nearest the ditch and Duke’s Way bungalows at the request of the planning officer and agreed to erect a 1.2metre featheredge board fence along that car park boundary to give extra privacy to the bungalows at 26 and 28 Duke’s Way.

“Previously a public footpath was due to run along the ditch which had little overlooking and could have been something that may have caused residents to complain if used for antisocial purposes.”

To read the full sttaement visit the Herald website

“The overall concept of the site included some filling in the lower area for two reasons. Firstly, there was no existing foul sewer for the site (Duke’s Way properties all on private drainage) so we had to construct a new foul sewer all the way down the adopted Duke’s Way estate road. To achieve gravity drainage to houses by the stream these levels had to be set at a certain height. Secondly our policy for Construction, Environmental Management Plan stated we should minimise waste away from the site to tip by re-using onsite instead of sending away for landfill.

The gabion baskets to one side of the ditch is to hold up the raised levels of the car park area and these will be covered in subsoil & topsoil and then seeded so as to look like a natural ditch bank once completed. The other side of the ditch by Dukes Way bungalows is already a bank with hedge on and therefore needs no support or protection.

“As for maintenance of the ditch a new Ltd company has been formed called ‘Streamside Management Ltd’ which all homeowners on the site will be given a share when they buy a property. This company will maintain all the areas not being adopted by East Devon or the water authority by way of a site paid fund. This will include the ditch, balancing pond and also the pillbox on phase 2 and some open/space - garden areas not to be adopted.”

“Finally the tree species specified are those specifically requested by the planning officer for this scheme. As a developer we are happy & willing to plant the most appropriate trees but in this case they were specifically requested.”

Comments on the Betterment Homes application should be sent to East Devon Council by March 2.