Budleigh Neighbourhood Plan group apologises for being unable to save hospital garden after being outmaneuvered by Clinton Devon Estates

“A neighbourhood plan focus group has apologised to the Budleigh Salterton community after a bid to save the entire hospital garden from development failed.

The former hospital garden, in Boucher Road, had been listed in the draft neighbourhood plan as one of the key green spaces to be protected from future development.

It had also previously been earmarked for health and wellbeing activities for a new hub being built on the site of the former hospital.

In February this year, landowner Clinton Devon Estates (CDE) put in a planning application to build two houses on half of the site, keeping the other half as a public-access garden.

An independent examiner assessing the town’s draft neighbourhood plan requested more information clarifying the importance of the hospital garden.
Chartered town planners Bell Cornwell, on behalf of CDE, wrote a letter to the examiner confirming that the planned public access garden would be “more than adequate” for hub activities.

One of the examiner’s alterations to the plan, ratified by the district council, was that the area of protected green space in the garden be reduced by half.

Nicola Daniel, on behalf of the Budleigh Neighbourhood Plan Built and Natural Environment Focus Group, has apologised for not being able to secure the whole garden for the town.

In a letter to the Journal (see page 20), she said: “By the time we saw this letter it was too late to challenge it. We were outmanoeuvred.
“Bell Cornwell was given more weight than the expert knowledge of the medical practitioners involved in setting up the hub, who know the full benefits of having the entire garden as a facility for the health and wellbeing hub and its success.”

In response, a CDE spokesman said: “CDE has for many years supported the NHS in Budleigh Salterton and, more recently, the Budleigh Salterton Hospital League of Friends, by making available the garden area off Boucher Road.
“We submitted proposals to East Devon District Council which include keeping half the garden, nearest the site of the new health hub, as a garden which would be open to the public for the first time.

“Our position has not changed since the application was submitted.”

Prince Charles gets his own (beautiful?) way with his new south-west town

Owl says: bet this wouldn’t happen in the Republic of East Devon! And wonders if a “zombie town” of which they speak might be on our own doorstep!

Jerome Starkey
http://www.thetimes.co.uk

“Three of Britain’s biggest housebuilders have lost an attempt to change the plans for a garden town designed by Prince Charles’s architects, amid claims that the builders’ proposals would have created a “zombie town”.

The Sherford Valley, on the outskirts of Plymouth, had been earmarked for 5,500 new homes and was designed by the Prince’s Foundation to create an eco-friendly pedestrian community like Poundbury in Dorset.

Bovis Homes, Linden Homes and Taylor Wimpey, which bought the site in 2014, had applied to Plymouth council to water down the design rules and change Prince Charles’s plan so that they could build cheaper homes more quickly.
Councillors said that the move would have created a “zombie town” with “years of planning thrown out of the window” and rejected their application.
The builders had built fewer than 300 of the homes when they applied to amend the town code and master plan.

“Instead of having the highest standard of new homes, we will instead have a rather large housing estate,” Vivien Pengelly, a councillor, said.
The housebuilders said that they were asking for minor changes that would not have affected the quality of homes. However, Ben Bolgar, a director of the Prince’s Foundation, said that they were trying to strip out commitments to quality.

He said that Sherford was designed to prove that Prince Charles’s model village of Poundbury, near Dorchester, could work on a larger scale but that the builders were determined to “build their normal boxes”.

The design code meant that the builders had to produce a range of houses, built from local materials, which were not more than 500m from the shops. Cars had to be parked in hidden courtyards rather than on the street to encourage people to walk.

Mr Bolgar said that the builders’ plans would have transformed Sherford into a “rubbish housing estate”.

Jonny Morris, a councillor, said that he did not want Sherford to end up like the sort of place you would see “in the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse”.

Housing companies applied to ditch a town code drawn up 13 years ago and replace it with a set of “fundamental principles” which they said allowed them greater flexibility over materials and construction methods.

“This is simply far too premature to take such a radical act, disregarding all those measures that allowed permission to be granted in the first place,” Nick Kelly, the deputy lord mayor, said. “We want development but everybody thinks, ‘This is what we’re going to get’, and at the stroke of a pen years of planning and assurances go out of the window.”

Lord Taylor of Goss Moor, who wrote a report in 2015 calling for dozens of new garden villages, said that Sherford had an excellent town plan and was “overwhelmingly supported by the local community” because of its commitment to quality. “The housebuilders knew what they were signing up to. There should really be no question about what will be delivered,” he said.”

Times (paywall)