Exmouth “has too many retirement flats” – what, only Exmouth!

“The number of elderly people moving into new retirement developments in Exmouth is becoming unsustainable, town councillors have warned

Developer McCarthy and Stone is proposing 59 retirement flats on land to the south of Redgate, next to Tesco in Salterton Road.

Members of Exmouth Town Council’s planning committee were asked this week to reconsider plans for the scheme, which they had previously opposed, after additional information was submitted by the developer about why permission should be granted, on subjects including flood risk and land use policy.

However, councillors voted to continue their previous objections, which were on the grounds that site had been allocated as employment land in the East Devon Local Plan, and they felt Exmouth had reached ‘saturation point’ with developments of this type.

Councillor Brenda Taylor said: “All of that land up from Tesco is allocated as employment land.

“We need jobs here. I think we should again refuse it on those grounds.

“Years of work went into the local plan, and for what?

“They have got five or six properties in Exmouth already, and it’s a huge overload on our services.

“We can’t sustain these older people.”

Councillor Maddy Chapman said that an argument by McCarthy and Stone that employment would be provided by the development was not satisfactory.

She said: “When they say they are supplying jobs, and it’s going to be a care home sort of thing, the qualifications of people they employ, you cannot say it is a care home.

“For those number of flats, to say they are going to employ 15 people, you put them on a rota basis, and it’s absolute rubbish.

“Also we’ve got the other retirement flats being built up Drakes Avenue, so we’ve got two lots of flats going up. Who is going to look after all these people?”

Councillor Fred Caygill said: “If it’s not going to be employment land I would rather see affordable housing on the site, rather than I think probably the fifth McCarthy and Stone development in the town, which we cannot sustain.”

EDDC will rule on planning permission.”


“Sainsbury’s faces anger over London plot with just 4% affordable homes”

683 homes on a prime London site and Sainsbury’s says it can afford for only 27 of them to be affordable … beggars belief. PLEASE, PLEASE get this government – which not only allows this sort of thing but encourages it – OUT!

“Sainsbury’s is facing housing campaigners’ anger over a proposed high-rise development surrounding an east London superstore that includes just 4% affordable homes.

Local opponents have described the supermarket’s proposal that just 27 of the 683 homes in the Ilford project will be available for affordable rent as “insulting”.

Planning experts for the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, have said the offer “falls substantially short” of City Hall’s plan to deliver 17,000 affordable homes per year – equivalent to 40% of the strategic housebuilding target.

It also falls well short of the London Borough of Redbridge’s target of 50% affordable housing across all new developments. There are currently over 8,000 households on the waiting list for affordable housing in the area, and more than 2,400 living in temporary accommodation.

The borough estimates it needs an extra 15,000 affordable homes by 2033. The case is set to go before a public inquiry starting on Tuesday, but the project appears likely to go ahead after the council withdrew its opposition on Saturday.

Sainsbury’s says the “maximum reasonable” amount of affordable housing it can include is 14 one- and two-bedroom flats, a dozen three-bedroom units and a single four-bedroom property. It estimates making a 20% profit selling off the private flats, according to planning documents. At current local prices that could exceed £40m.

It has described it as “a financially challenging project”, partly because of lost revenues to its retail operation when it closes its existing store for construction. It has also agreed to pay Redbridge £11.4m in community infrastructure levy, although this cannot be used to fund affordable housing.

But Meenakshi Sharma, co-founder of Ilford NOISE, a local residents group, said the amount of affordable housing being offered was “ridiculous and insulting”.

“People can’t believe it is 4% especially with all the publicity about the need for affordable housing,” she said. “And yet this still carries on. They don’t take any notice whatsoever. There’s a big housing need in the area. There are lots of people in temporary accommodation and lots of overcrowding.”

It is the latest in a series of high-profile battles over the financial viability of private housing schemes in the capital with councils seeking to maximise the number of cheaper homes in developments and developers seeking to minimise them. Previous disputes have centred on central London sites where developers have argued that the high cost of land limits their ability to subsidise affordable housing, but the row over the Ilford site suggests the issue is spreading to the outer London suburbs.

Affordable in this case means rents capped at 60% of market rates. Sainsbury’s is increasingly moving into housebuilding, using the space above its stores for housing. The Ilford project is its largest yet, but it has also built 650 homes around a store in Nine Elms and 500 homes above a store in Fulham, both in London.

Redbridge had originally rejected the application because of the lack of affordable housing and was planning to oppose it at the public inquiry, but it has now reversed its position and accepted the 4% offer.

On Friday, a spokeswoman for Redbridge told the Guardian: “We declined the application because of the huge gap between the borough’s expectations on affordable housing in new developments, and the proposals we were given. The capital is critically short of housing, especially affordable housing and we need to increase the stock in the borough.”

But on Saturday it told the planning inspector it was withdrawing its opposition and would not resist Sainsbury’s appeal against its original refusal.

In a letter to the planning inspectorate, the head of planning, Joanne Woodward, said it had agreed common ground on the financial viability of the project and a planning deal, although without any increase in the affordable housing included in the development.

“The council will attend on the first day of the inquiry to explain how the position it has now adopted has been reached,” she said.

Sainsbury’s said: “Our plans will help kick-start Ilford’s future regeneration by driving growth and job creation, as well as provide a broad mix of housing for local people. We look forward to the outcome of the appeal. We have agreed with the council to review the provision at certain points throughout the development, and if we can increase the number of affordable homes we will.”


Telegraph: “There are more than 200,000 homes sitting empty in England – worth a total of £43bn”

“In England there are 200,000 homes that have been sitting empty for more than six months, according to new Government figures. This is equivalent to £43bn worth of housing stock.

In London alone there were 19,845 homes sitting vacant for over six months last year, property that is worth £9.4bn, taking into account average prices.

Kensington and Chelsea has the capital’s highest number of homes which are vacant for more than six months with 1,399 empty, up 8.5pc on last year, and 22.7pc higher than 10 years ago.

This is likely due to the buy-to-leave phenomenon, where wealthy buyers snap up homes as an investment, and leave them empty while waiting for its value to increase.

Communities secretary Sajid Javid downplayed the role of such foreign buyers in exacerbating the housing crisis, saying the problem “isn’t as bad as some people think”. A Savills’ report found that the majority of homes bought by people based overseas were being rented out, rather than left empty. …”


Devon planners told they are not needed – part 2

See post below this for a somewhat puzzling company (Wilson Planning and Architecture) which appears to talk like a big developer but seemingly performs as an architect for single dwellings.

Firstly, it does appear to be Torridge [where EDDC’s former planning supremo Kate Little was once in charge) the company is talking about:

We are actively seeking land sharing a common border with a village or town to assess the sites suitability for inclusion in a wider proposal to benefit the whole district. If you have land, email us the details and we’ll get back to you.”

(this has so far engendered at least 35 mostly less than supportive responses!)

Their earlier Facebook post (picked out by Andrew Lainton’s ‘Decisions, Decisions’ blog) seemed to imply that developers are now fully in charge in Devon, not planners, and that Local Plans are easily overcome, and indeed, the company has secured planning permission for individuals on contented sites.

They have many posts and tweets in similar vein on




though some are more easy to understand than others.

For example on their home page they say:

“Having experience of working in the South West area for over twenty years, we have been able to build up significant and mutually respected relations with local authorities throughout the South West.”

but then it gets a bit confusing with the post we initially blogged:

“The land in our country and our district is irreplaceable. My [not sure who the ‘my’ is] proposal unites the land owners, puts differences aside and makes the actual most efficient use of the land humanly possible by collaboration. This proposal is for the good of each and every individual within the district. We have total flexibility whereas the local plan is rigid and doesn’t think on an actual district level, it’s fragmented and broken. Every single person should support this.”

to which a number of people have rightly responded on the lines “what on earth are you talking about?”!

Wilson Architecture and Planning appears to be in Bideford and seems to have started up in 2015 with George, Christopher and Paula Wilson (so presumably existed as some other entity prior to 2015 if they have been in business for over 20 years) though Christopher resigned in 2015 and was re-appointed again quite quickly:


Not a developer as such, then, but appears to think that developers are now (or should be? difficult to work out!) in charge of the county.

Elucidation appreciated!

Is there an election coming up? Neil Parish suddenly gets interested in new house design

Suddenly, as a bolt from the ( Tory bright) blue, Parish rediscovers his inner planning officer! Is there a new housing estate planned near his gaffe in Somerset? Or is he desperately seeking pre-election brownie points, aware that he has perhaps spent too much time on farmers and dualling the A303?

“ … when Parliament returns in September, I will be holding a debate on New Housing Design.

As a former Planning Officer at District Council level, I know just how terrified some communities are of new development. Not because they are NIMBYs. But because they have seen how previous developments in the last 50 years have left communities with homes totally unsuitable for their area.

The 2017 Conservative manifesto, for all its controversy, pledged to build “better homes which match the quality of those we have inherited from previous generations”. This is a must.”


Devon planners told to go home by developer – s/he has the county sewn up?

Not sure which district council this is (Teignbridge, Torridge?) but one developer appears to believe s/he runs the district and possibly even the county. As the blogger (Andrew Lainton – Decisions, Decisions blog) says, the alleged author may well regret his or her early morning post!

The wild (south) west of planning!