Residents in fresh fight over Axminster homes plan

Latest application to build at Cedar Gardens sparks more fury from neighbours

ANGRY residents are going into battle again over revised plans for a controversial homes development in the centre of Axminster.

In a fresh attempt to build on land fronting Cedar Gardens, off Musbury Road, owner Justin Werb is now seeking permission to put up two houses and two flats.

His firm, Shute-based Berkley Park, Cedar Ltd, is also asking East Devon District Council for consent to make alterations to the existing parking and communal areas and convert two existing flats into a single two bed dwelling.

The latest scheme comes after planning chiefs rejected two previous proposals to develop the site – ruling the last one, for six new homes, would be “seriously detrimental” to the character of Musbury Road.

Their decision came after protests from nearby residents who claimed the area had already been turned into “a third world ghetto” – a situation they say is now even worse.

And Axminster Town Council says it is equally unimpressed with the new application.

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Members have told the planning authority that the development would be out of keeping with Musbury Road – “a feature of which was its relatively open aspect.”

The also object to the height of the proposed dwellings and say their construction would mean the loss of valuable off street parking, much needed in the town.

They added: “Nor can the destruction of the original soft-landscaping, which has taken place on this site in the last few years, be deemed acceptable as it has been replaced by hard landscaping which could exacerbate the flooding problems in this area.

“It is our understanding that the site owner has been requested by the district council to reinstate some of the original soft landscaping elements of this site which have been removed but this has not yet been done – if this is the case could this be investigated.”

District councillor Douglas Hull also opposes the plan. He said: “This is I consider over development. The present owners have done nothing to enhance the site which was kept in excellent order by the previous owner.

“I believe this to be a blot on the area of Musbury Road.”

Amongst nearby residents objecting is Mary Lewis.

She said it appeared to be a re-hash of two previous failed applications.

She said: “Each time an application is turned down Cedar Gardens and Cedar Close have fallen into an even greater state of disrepair. In our last objection it was likened to a Ghetto – now it resembles a third world slum.

“There is rubbish piled around the parking area. The first floor flat in Cedar Gardens facing Musbury Road has piles of smelly rubbish bags overflowing which are never removed, all kinds of old cars ion various states of disrepair appear regularly in the car park, brambles are growing down from the gardens and hanging over Musbury Road – can you imagine adding more houses? Who would want to buy them?”