On the 6th December 2016, Richard Thurlow , speaking on behalf of Sid Vale Association (SVA) and Save Our Sidmouth (SOS), made three points to the Development Management Committee (DMC) members. He said,
“Firstly, the proposal contravenes almost all of the relevant Strategies in the Local Plan. The major ones are:
Strategy 26, which allocates 50 dwellings to the site, against the 113 being proposed.
Strategy 31, which specifies that one job should be provided for each dwelling : 14 are proposed.
Strategy 34, which specifies that 50% of all new developments should offer Affordable Housing: the proposal has none.
Strategy 36, which allocates 50 Extra Care Home spaces in Sidmouth: 113 are proposed
The Planning Officer’s report recommends that all these are overridden. How convenient!
Secondly, Pegasus assert that all 113 apartments should be Class 2 rather than Class 3. If so, Pegasus will avoid ANY contribution towards Affordable housing or towards the infrastructure levy
Class 2 relates to Residential Institutions and attracts no local contribution in any form; Class 3 relates to Dwellings, where 50% of any development must be Affordable Housing a Community Infrastructure levy applies. If Class 3 applied, the CIL payment from Pegasus would be about £1.5m
The Planning Officer took legal advice in May 2016 and wrote to Pegasus, saying that the classification should be C3 not C2. However, despite stating in the report that “there has been significant concern that the scheme provides C3 use rather than C2”, he has now reversed his earlier view, and accepts that the dwellings are Class 2.
Apparently no further legal advice has been taken, but the new stance is justified by quoting selectively from a Guidance note .
However, just as relevant are other legal opinions in that note that came to the opposite conclusion. These have been ignored.
A much more robust analysis must be made before any approval is given.
Finally, the Report , having discounted all the Proposals’ detrimental effects, says that the scheme hinges on its impact on the Grade 2 listed Summerhouse, assessed against the “Public Benefits“ of the proposal.The 6 “benefits” quoted, range from general statements about the strategic need for an increased supply of housing, to … wait for it!..
- the employment of 14 equivalent full-time staff
- the access to an on-site café and a 3 year access to the Wellbeing Centre, that would “enhance the public’s experience of the space”
- the provision of an interpretative signboard to help understanding of the listed building .
The Report then finds that these 6 “Public Benefits” are significant and outweigh not only the harm to the listed building, but to all the other detrimental effects of the proposal.
What can I say!
Councillors please reject this outrageous proposal and thus give the clear message that Pegasus must come back with a proposal that really benefits the town and not just their own pockets.”