Coming soon to a HUGE development near you, Axminster!
“Calls for a £1m performance bond to be placed against housing developers Persimmon Homes were made by councillors who said ‘we cannot rely on them to deliver what they promise’.
Cllr Phil Bullivant launched a stinging criticism of the company when their plans for 99 new homes on green space at Ogwell Mill Road, Newton Abbot, were being discussed by Teignbridge District Council’s planning committee.
He outlined his concerns with the planning application that they have submitted, but added that he had an issue with the developer because of the fact they have created so much trouble at the Hele Park development they have been building.
Cllr Bullivant said: “At Hele Park they have just ignored the conditions that we put down and they still haven’t put in the green space and allotments, seven years down the line. There are still unadopted roads in the estate and they have ignored the advice of a planning inspector.
“We cannot rely on this developer to deliver what they say they will and any performance that we give to them has to come with a caveat that they will deliver what they say they will deliver.”
He said that the faults of Persimmon Homes led to the council being ordered by the Local Government Ombudsman to apologise to a member of the public and pay him £300 in recognition of the frustration and inconvenience he has experienced because the council had failed to deal with a breach of planning control at the Hele Park site.
Larkspur Drive, between Thistle Close and Mile End Road, was being used as an access road, contrary to the planning permission granted to Persimmon Homes.
At the Hele Park development of 650 new homes off Ashburton Road, to the west of Newton Abbot, councillors had previously been told of a ‘catalogue of errors’ from Persimmon Homes, with pavements not linked, no allotments coming forward, the road not being adopted, a close being called a close when it is a through road, roundabouts in use that shouldn’t be, and a lack of bus services.
Cllr Bullivant added: “There should be a £1m performance bond attached to them that means if they don’t deliver what they say they will in a reasonable time then we can do it for them.”
But Nick Hill, the council’s planning solicitor, said that even though the committee may have a concern about a developer, their previous reputation isn’t a material consideration that can be considered during the planning process, they have to look at the application, not the applicant, and the council does have enforcement mechanism they can use.
The committee though raised a litany of other issues that they had with the development, which is included in the Local Plan for at least 70 homes.
Cllr John Nutley said: “I have concerns over the amount of houses being built and the design of them, as it is atrocious. This will be a complete blot on the landscape.”
Cllr Richard Keeling said that the design looked very similar to the ‘horrible box houses’ being built at the Penns Mount estate in Kingsteignton, Cllr Mary Colclough said the designs were abysmal, while Cllr Alistair Dewhirst said: “The designs look like children’s drawings.”
Cllr Bullivant added: “I called this in to the committee as I considered this was overdevelopment, and when I look at the detail, this is overdevelopment so much so they cannot even design space for bins to be stored.”
A whole range of problems were raised by Cllr Jackie Hook, who said that some of the houses that were being built were so small that housing associations won’t take them on as ‘they cannot even fit a bed in a bedroom’. She said that the committee couldn’t approve this and should either refuse it or defer it for more discussions to take place.
But Cllr Mike Hocking said that the application was much improved from the initial one that they proposed. He said that the originally proposed 109 homes had been reduced down to 99, the location of the houses had been moved further down the hill, and that the access to the site was now going to be from Emblett Drive and not from Ogwell Mill Road, next to Bradley Barton Primary School, and originally proposed.
He said: “I think 99 homes is too many so something closer to 70 would be more realistic, but then we start to lose some of the affordable homes. We have done a good job in persuading them to tone down the development, but this will be built on at some point.
“If we turn this down then Persimmon will go to appeal and we may well lose all the benefits that officers have worked hard to try and get.”
Planning officers had recommended that full planning permission for the development be granted, but Cllr Hook said that as there were still a lot of outstanding matters and that councillors were unhappy about parts of it of the plans, a decision should be deferred so further discussions between the council and the developers to address the concerns could take place.
Councillors voted by 11 votes to 1 to defer the application until April’s meeting for further discussions.”