Richard Thurlow gave the following summary of the Sid Vale Association’s objections, in his speech to Sidmouth Town Council at last night’s Planning Meeting.
Comments on Application 16/0872/MFUL, (The Knowle).
1. The SVA will object to the Application on a number of grounds,these being:
a. Departure from the Local Plan. The Local Plan stipulates that up to 50 residential dwellings may be built on the site. Pegasus has applied for 115 dwellings plus Care Home facilities. Clearly, the Application is for 115 dwellings. The number vastly exceeds the allocation for the site and distorts the Sidmouth strategy, (Strategy 26), of the Local Plan, which allocates 100 new homes in the plan period.
b. Change of Use. The Local Plan does not specify the Class of housing. Pegasus have applied for Class 2…Class 2 is “Residential Institutions, (Care Homes)”; Class 3 is dwellinghouses), By implication, and also because EDDC themselves planned 50 Class C3 dwellinghouses in their earlier Application, it is clear that the provision of Class C3 dwellings is intended. If Class 2 were approved, then Pegasus would be under no obligation to provide Affordable Housing, which they would be obliged to do if the Class were C3.
EDDC themselves have taken legal advice on the use Class and have informed Pegasus that they believe that Class C3 applies, and Affordable Homes should be incorporated, unless Pegasus can prove that they are not affordable.
c. Massing of the Buildings. . Because Pegasus has consciously overprovided housing on the site, they have had to build to its boundaries and higher than the existing buildings. As a consequence Building A is 5.36m higher than the existing building; Building C is 4 storeys and 4.5m higher than the existing; and Building F is 4 floors and 7m higher than the existing building… The actual heights from the ground floor are about 17m.
Pegasus has carefully chosen locations from 5 verified views of the site and the new buildings. These, not surprisingly, show visual intrusion to be present but not overpowering…
Pegasus has chosen another 29 views from other locations where only the “existing buildings” are approximately indicated. They have not attempted to show the new buildings. From our own work it is clear that the new buildings, particularly Building F will intrude significantly into most views from the current Knowle estate, the surrounding landscape and the views from the surrounding hills. It is important to note that Pegasus’s own Design Panel Review considered that the massing is too large, (particularly the height of the buildings A and F and those in the Dell.
d. Intrusion. Because of the numbers and proposed heights of the buildings, extensive visual intrusion, 24 hour light pollution, traffic noise, will increase markedly, particularly for nearby residents.
e. Appearance of the Buildings. . Pegasus has, in their attempt to please everybody, chosen a hotch-potch of materials and their usage. There is a combination of wood, flint, timber cladding, cedar shingles, and clay tiles, without any distinctive local style. The result is disastrous, We will have to live with these buildings forever, but the current design shows they are neither sufficiently distinguished to make them attractive in their own right, nor sufficiently like others so as to complement them. The design is disappointingly unimaginative, when we should be given a well-designed attractive development which the residents and public should be proud of.
f. Parking. There is an allocation of only 127 spaces for residents, staff and visitors. This allocation, for the 115 dwellings and the care facilities, is, based on EDDC’s own Local Plan provisions, far too low, (it should be 196+ spaces.) If the Application were approved unchanged, then the result would be continual parking on the Knowle Drive and in the lower grasscrete car park which EDDC has graciously allocated for town parking.
g. Building on the Southern Terraces. Despite Pegasus’s early assurances to the contrary, they have planned buildings right up to the limit of the terrace. This is contrary to Sidmouth Town Council’s stated view that this should not happen, and intrudes greatly into the Parkland.
h. Refuse collection and disposal. We oppose the position of the proposed refuse collection point from Knowle Drive. Not only will the storage and collection point be detrimental to a number of properties on the Drive, but Pegasus have not demonstrated that the waste from 115 dwellings plus the clinical waste from Care Home facilities can be accommodated on the areas proposed.
i. Sewerage. We do not believe that the Application conforms to Policy EN 129 of the Local Plan, as Pegasus has not proved that the discharge from 115 new dwellings, plus other facilities on site, will not overload the current system. It should be noted that there are already considerable problems with foul water and sewerage in the overloaded sewage treatment works and discharge system.
j. Drainage. We do not believe that the Application satisfactorily conforms to Policy EN22 (Surface Run-Off Implications of New Development) of the East Devon Local Plan (2013 to 2031).
2. Recommendation: Pegasus has clearly done their utmost to maximise the development on the site for commercial reasons. The current planning application should be refused on the grounds that it seeks to more than double the number of dwellings earmarked for this site in the new East Devon Local Plan; that it proposes buildings of a poor architectural design, and that its impacts on nearby residents and on the public parkland are unacceptable.