Land in Axminster is reserved for affordable homes and council housing

Affordable housing and new council homes could be within reach for Axminster after a suitable parcel of land was identified this week.

Becca Gliddon

East Devon District Council (EDDC) said it ‘hopes’ to build ‘much-needed’ affordable and social housing on the former football pitch, in Millwey Rise, Axminster, after councillors on Wednesday (July 14) approved the use of the land.

Councillors this week recommended the land was reserved for council homes, affordable housing, and a new community centre.

An EDDC spokeswoman said: “Some years ago the land at Millwey Rise was returned to East Devon District Council and is now currently designated as land for council housing.

“At the authority’s cabinet meeting on Wednesday, 14 July, councillors approved a report recommending the land is reserved for much needed social and truly affordable housing development and a replacement community centre undertaken by the council.

“Councillors felt passionately that, in view of the desperate shortage of affordable housing in the district, they wanted to set the wheels in motion for the site to be used for its original intended purpose, at the earliest opportunity.”

She added: “There is currently a well-used and valued community centre, owned and managed by EDDC and allotments, on the site.

“This means any future use of the site will need to factor in considerations for the future provision of these essential community facilities and balance the need for housing against competing demands.”

EDDC said the report, which was in the form of a discussion document, was considered by the cabinet.

Councillors ‘recognised a range of planning constraints’ that would need to be overcome as part of any plans, EDDC said.

The district council spokeswoman said: “Although comments from the local community were gathered some years ago, on the original plans, these will need to be updated and addressed before any work can start on-site too.

“EDDC’s next step will be to produce a development brief and feasibility study for the site, consult and report back on options.

“The cabinet were clear that they wanted to optimise social housing and incorporate other community uses, as appropriate including retaining the existing amenities wherever possible.”