Fury over plans to build retirement complex on site of Honiton’s historic cattle market

PUBLISHED: 13:22 05 March 2020 | UPDATED: 13:34 05 March 2020

Dozens of people viewed the plans at the Mackarness Hall in Honiton on March 3. Picture: Callum Lawton

Dozens of people viewed the plans at the Mackarness Hall in Honiton on March 3. Picture: Callum Lawton

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Furious residents have lambasted plans to build a retirement complex on the site Honiton’s historic cattle market.

These diagrams show the elevation of the proposed retirement complex. Picture: Churchill Retirement LivingThese diagrams show the elevation of the proposed retirement complex. Picture: Churchill Retirement Living

A public consultation was held by Churchill Retirement Living on March 3, revealing its plans to build a 50-55 apartment retirement community on the site, which is close to Honiton Community College and the town's leisure centre.

Permission for the proposals has not been granted by district planners, but the scheme has been listed on Churchill's website, and invites those interested in buying a room to get in touch.

The plans were laid out to the public at the Mackarness Hall.

Resident Carla Salisbury said she was against the development and said the site would be much better used as a covered market.

These diagrams show the elevation of the proposed retirement complex. Picture: Churchill Retirement LivingThese diagrams show the elevation of the proposed retirement complex. Picture: Churchill Retirement Living

She said: "We have had nearly seven months of rain.

"Market traders desperately need somewhere they can have their market.

"That would be an ideal space."

The plans also drew criticism from Duncan Sheridan-Shaw, Honiton's deputy mayor.

He said the site is already a busy area at school times.

He said: "Silver Street is already bottlenecked around school times. You go down and there are people everywhere.

"The overflow traffic from Honiton Community College, LED and Honiton Youth Club park in the Silver Street car park, but they might not able to do so now."

Resident Sheila Budd said she was concerned by the development's potential implications on traffic using Silver Street. She said the existing access is 'very poor', adding: "It is a single-track road at the moment.

"It is not possible for pedestrians and a car to pass at the same time.

"At the moment pedestrians have to clamour into doorways holding their dogs and small children into them away from the wheels of the car."

Fellow resident Val Groves said the proposed building, which is up to three storeys high, means residents will be 'crammed in like sardines'.

She said: "With so many families with children living in overcrowded, damp and dangerous circumstances, you must not let retirement properties take the cattle market land.

"The retirees are well catered for - the homeless are not.

"Our GPs are already swamped by pensioners."

Online feedback can be submitted to Churchill Retirement Living here.

Stuart Goodwill, managing director of Churchill Retirement Living's in-house planning team, said: "The public exhibition of our Honiton plans was attended by around 50 members of the local community, and was an excellent opportunity for us to engage with people and hear their views at this early stage of the planning process.

"A few attendees expressed concerns around specific issues such as car parking and congestion, which we will take into consideration as we progress our plans.

"It's important to note that our proposed development would not lead to an increase in peak hour traffic, since our retired owners would not be coming and going at these times, and many would not maintain the use of a car.

"Most attendees agreed there is a compelling overall housing need in Honiton, especially for older people. Our proposed development will go some way to increasing access to this type of housing for local residents.

"By meeting this rising demand, we can allow older people to downsize and free up under occupied houses in the local area for families.

"As well as meeting the need for high-quality retirement apartments, the development will bring benefits to the local economy.

Owners will be within easy walking distance of shops, restaurants and other amenities in the town, helping to boost local businesses.

"Each person living in specifically designed retirement housing enjoys a reduced risk of health challenges, contributing to fiscal savings to the NHS and social care services of around £3,500 per person per year.

"We will take on board all the feedback received as we look to progress our planning application."


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