An EDDC spokesperson says it will be up to the DMC to decide classification but then says there are legal aspects to be considered.
The DMC are laypersons- surely they are not qualified to take such decisions?
“District chiefs have yet to decide how the use of a proposed 115-home retirement community at Knowle should be classified.
The Knowle Residents’ Association this week called for clarity on the matter. Householders say that, if the development ends up classed as ‘C3’ – housing – developer PegasusLife will need to either include ‘affordable’ homes on-site, or pay towards them.
If it is care accommodation [C2], the group says the development will be even further from the 50 homes the site is allocated in East Devon District Council’s (EDDC) Local Plan.
Residents’ association chairman Kelvin Dent said the group is ‘amazed’ the authority has not decided what use class the development falls into. He added: “Our view is that the application is akin to housing – albeit with the occupants of the proposed apartments being able to purchase a package of care to suit their needs.
“Under planning law, this equates to a C3 use and PegasusLife will be obliged to provide social housing as part of their development or to make a substantial financial contribution towards the social housing that Sidmouth desperately needs and support for the local community.
“We look forward to receiving confirmation from EDDC that they agree and will be helping local young people to find a home.”
A spokeswoman for EDDC – which intends to relocate from the Knowle HQ to Exmouth and Honiton – said officers had been working on the basis that the development’s use would be C2.
She added: “However, officers have been considering whether the form and layout of the proposed development and the manner in which it is proposed to operate would constitute a C2 use or not.
“In considering this issue, officers have been, and continue to consider, the views expressed by residents and relevant case-law.”
The spokeswoman said the officers’ conclusions on PegasusLife’s application will likely be presented to EDDC’s development management committee (DMC) on December 6. The agenda will be published 10 days beforehand.
She added: “Ultimately, a decision on this issue is for the members of DMC to make.”