For the ‘reserved matters’ decision on the first phase of their latest estate at Gittisham (outline approval was granted against local opposition in 2014, before the Local Plan was adopted), EDDC’s Development Management Committee was supplemented by rarely-seen EDDC big-wigs. Development Officer, Chris Rose, who normally presents applications to the committee, was joined by EDDC’s Solicitor, Henry Gordon Lennox, and Development Manager, Ed Freeman, to counter the objections of a single representative of Gittisham Parish Council even though ward member, Independent Susie Bond, voiced her reservations.
New-kid-on-the-block Bakers was ably supported by Councillor Phil Twiss, Cabinet Member for Economy, who said that ‘£50 million’ would be generated for the local economy by the development. Bakers’ Tom Hammond was seen to give Councillor Twiss a cheerful wave as he left the meeting.
The Parish Council and Councillor Bond were both concerned about three 3-storey blocks of flats, built at the highest point on the site, which will tower over 2-storey houses built lower down. These blocks, of course, will house the ‘affordable’ dwellings which Bakers are (so far) obliged to build (though as with many local developments these days this is subject to change if they find the condition too onerous at a later stage), and so they have been shoe-horned into the smallest possible space, leaving more room for the profit-earning properties for sale on the open market.
The local representatives felt that the blocks were out of keeping with the setting – a feeling that other members appeared to share. However most seemed swayed into allowing the development – with only Independent Matt Coppell and the two Liberal Democrat members voting against.
Bakers say that they now have a ‘track record’ in East Devon. However, as far as we know, they have only two other approved developments in the district, both in Seaton – at Barnards Hill Lane (not yet commenced) and at Rowan Drive – where residents are said to be complaining to EDDC on an almost daily basis about alleged breaches of planning conditions by Bakers’ builders.
Gittisham, keep your eyes on this development.