From a correspondent:
The Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission advised the Government to promote and increase the use of high-quality styles and designs for new build homes and neighbourhoods to reflect what communities want by building on the knowledge and tradition of what works for their area.
However, the newly submitted Reserved Matters Application ((Ref: 21/2217/MRES) by Burrington Estates to East Devon District Council Planners to build 40 four-storey blocks of flats on an existing car park at Winslade Park, doesn’t appear to adhere to that vision!
This is, surely, an opportunity for Burringtons to create a truly outstanding build back better brownfield design standard that could be revered as an esteemed design guide for future admiration that will stand the test of time – but Burrington Estates’ current proposals for 40 four-storey blocks of flats fail to follow such aspirations.
Winslade Manor (image below) has recently been very sensitively re-developed by Burringtons to now include Winslade Manor Restaurant and Bar, Number 6 personal training and wellness studio and office accommodation.
The architecture of the Manor continues to evoke an admiration and appreciation today, around 220 years after it was built (in 1800) by Edward Cotsford, the High Sheriff of Devon and, it is fair to say, that Burringtons have successfully returned this Grade II* Listed Georgian Manor to its former glory and consequently this renovation deserves accolades and commendation.
So, it is surprising, having gone to such great lengths to safeguard and preserve the Grade II* Listed Manor House, that Burringtons are now submitting three, inappropriately towering, blocks of 40 four-storey flats directly opposite the Georgian Manor and historic St Mary’s Church and the design of these new apartments has been likened to an urban car park!
Although architectural designs are creative and vulnerable to personal, differing opinions – surely this historic site requires a conscientious discernment and a more imaginative, high-quality style of design to compliment the valued Georgian Manor? Developers and decision-makers have an ethical responsibility to improve areas. Many people believe that these proposed designs appear far too utilitarian and fail to achieve aesthetic, quality, harmonious standards because these proposals overpower, clash and are incompatible with the historic Manor and its surroundings.
Such tall, design structures are considered to be an overdevelopment and incongruous in this rural, village setting because they fail to reflect distinguished, prestigious standards in architecture in the immediate setting of a valued, historic asset by conflicting with Government recommendations to enhance our communities.
Burringtons’ original proposals for this brownfield area included only 14 traditional houses, which were displayed for viewing to the entire community at Burrington’s first Public Consultation in February 2020. These 14 homes were supported by the majority of the community – but when the outline hybrid Planning Application was submitted to East Devon Planners, 14 houses on this brownfield car park had morphed into almost 60 flats (which after objections) have now been reduced to 40 – but 40 flats are still considered outrageously excessive, especially as 39 more homes have also received outline approval on a green field site nearby at the entrance to Winslade Park.
This amounts to a housing overkill in this village and Clyst St Mary residents’ views cannot be described as myopic, provincial NIMBYism because what this community was originally shown and found acceptable at a Public Consultation bears no resemblance to what is now being proposed!
In 2021, shouldn’t we be designing new homes in this small community that reflect the existing low-density, rural village environment and do not degrade the significance of a valued, elegant Georgian Manor House?
The proposed designs for these 40 four-storey high flats and a service road are directly adjacent to existing homes in Clyst Valley Road and will create an extreme intensity of development, which will cause ramifications resulting in detrimental visual issues and noise problems for existing residents by the sheer magnitude of such development in this confined location.
Although in the 1960s/1970s, deciduous woodland screening was planted between the Manor House and the now established Clyst Valley Road homes to protect The Manor’s visual amenities, surprisingly, these towering 40 four-storey flats are planned on the same side of the woodland as the Manor, in the direct sight-line of the northern façade of the historic building! Furthermore this woodland will provide little or no screening in the winter for existing residents to three multi-storey blocks containing 40 flats.
So, not only will these towering blocks obtrude on the distinguished Manor – but also on the established homes in Clyst Valley Road, who will be overlooked by such high structures and susceptible to all noise and light pollution from the flats and the service road running directly alongside their boundaries.
Although the principle of outline development was approved by EDDC Planners in December 2020, surely in 2021 we can expect a build back better from homebuilders and planners to achieve a quality development that this historic, rural village deserves and one that can be acknowledged with pride.
We must surely not create ‘eyesores’ that will scar a small, rural village by building multi-storey structures which are more appropriate in an urban environment similar to Exeter City – but are so inappropriate in a rural East Devon village setting.
Whatever East Devon Planners approve, opposite a 200 year old, stylish, Manor House, adjoining and overlooking existing homes in Clyst Valley Road, the Planners’ combined decision must surely be one that evokes pride and results in building back better with the correct quantity, density and design choices.
East Devon District Council Planners must ensure that whatever they choose to approve will be what each and every one of them, as individuals, would wish to see in their own communities and back gardens and that their combined planning judgment will result in a development that will stand the test of time for another 200 years!