On Tuesday, the District Council's planning committee will be considering the planning application for Knowle:
Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project: planning application to be considered by District Council: Tuesday 6th December >>> planning officers brush aside planning policies
Even though, back in February, Officers clearly wanted to give the site 'C3' status - which would mean the developer would have to contribute S106/CIL payments or build affordable housing - they have changed their mind and are waving the whole application through:
Futures Forum: Knowle Relocation Project: How to classify the proposed development: as C3 housing or as C2 care home?
Futures Forum: Making millions on 'high-quality specialist retirement accommodation' in Sidmouth, rather than spending on S106 cash for affordable housing
In fact, there is absolutely no S106 cash being paid by the applicant - apart from a £10-15k contribution for offsite landscaping - which may or may not include relocating the Gingko in a blaze of doing-good-for-the-community PR:
Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project: the PegasusLife 'vision' >>> >>> "We strive to make all our projects unique, relevant and inspiring"
Futures Forum: A new plaque for the historic ginkgo in the Knowle park ..... “There is no need to make a TPO, as it is not at risk from untoward management or removal.”
Landscape and Wellness | PegasusLife
Here is the front-page piece from the latest Herald detailing the Officer decision:
Knowle demolition wins officer support - News - Sidmouth Herald
The East Devon Watch blog comments:
KNOWLE OFFICER DECISION EXPOSES HYPOCRISY OF PLANNING SYSTEM
2 DEC 2016
Unsurprisingly, planning officers have recommended the PegasusLife planning application for luxury flats at the Knowle.
Well, be honest, would you go against the wishes of your CEO, deputy CEO and all the Tory councillors?
Yet a very similar (almost identical) planning application in Bath has just been turned down – but that isn’t being built on council land and part- financing a new HQ.
Knowle officer decision exposes hypocrisy of planning system | East Devon Watch
And the EDW comments again:
THE LOCAL PLAN IS NOW READY TO DEPART FROM SIDMOUTH …
4 DEC 2016
The agenda for the December 6th DMC meeting makes an interesting read. Two very contentious applications are being considered.
First: The Pegasus Life, Sidmouth scheme is, to quote a planning officer-
“A DEPARTURE FROM THE LOCAL PLAN, providing apartments with extra care in excess of the allocation or requirements of the plan, it therefore makes a meaningful contribution to housing delivery on a largely brownfield site.”
Second: The Syon House, Frogmore Road, East Budleigh scheme is, to quote again-
“The application represents A DEPARTURE FROM ADOPTED POLICY as the proposal does not fully accord with Strategy 35 in that a lower than 66% affordable housing provision is proposed.”
It makes Owl think that council tax payers should wonder why East Devon District Council spent a lot of time, money, tears and effort to finally get a local plan adopted just to DEPART from it less than a year from adoption.
The Local Plan is now ready to depart from Sidmouth … | East Devon Watch
Indeed, it does seem strange that elsewhere in the country that several similar planning applications from PegasusLife have been rejected:
Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project: Is PegasusLife targetting retirees outside Sidmouth?
Here's another one:
Hampshire-based Pegasus Life plans to knock down 60-bed Lyndhurst Park Hotel and replace with flats (From Daily Echo)
With a couple of details - and note the similarity between this application and the one for Knowle:
Planning Development Control Committee - 21 July 2015 Report Item 3
Application No: 15/00327/FULL Full Application
Site: Watersplash Hotel, The Rise, Brockenhurst, SO42 7ZP
Proposal: Creation of 27 age restricted residential units communal facilities office and guest suite; partial demolition, alterations and extension to the former hotel building; removal of swimming pool; associated car and cycle parking; refuse store; landscaping; new vehicular and pedestrian access; stopping up of existing vehicular access.
Applicant: Pegasus Life Limited
9.1 11 letters of objection have been received for the following grounds:
• Brockenhurst does not need more over 55 housing; rather it needs affordable housing for younger people
• The scheme does not propose any on-site affordable housing
• the urban character is out of keeping with surroundings and is poor design and too high a density
• The proposal is overbearing for its location and of inappropriate large scale, causing overdevelopment of the site
• The loss of the hotel causes loss of amenity to the village as people used the hotel, its pool and its garden/ cafe
• The proposal result in the loss of a place of employment potential
• The proposal would result in loss of privacy and loss of light to neighbours
• The proposal is hazardous to road safety
• Underground streams could result in flooding of the garage storey
• The woodburning stoves would be harmful to air quality and no log store is proposed
• The proposal would be harmful to ecology and result in the removal of trees, understorey and landscape which would be detrimental to character and cause enhanced overlooking
• The proposal will put additional pressure upon local services and roads
• Whilst there is demand for this type of accommodation, there is no need for it locally.
1 The overall extent of the development dominates the site and undermines local character. The proposed detailing cannot conceal the fundamentally awkward module of accommodation and the related conspicuous form and design, which does not relate well to the core Victorian building or Brockenhurst's established traditional, small-scale building stock.
2 The proposal fails to provide 50% on-site affordable housing as required by Policy CP11. Whilst the application makes reference to the intention of providing affordable housing contributions, this is not by way of a secured legal agreement and is of no fixed amount or percentage.