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CORRECTION: Inspector’s site visit tomorrow (Tues 5th December) starts from outside Council Chamber, Knowle, at 1.30pm.

Please note that those wishing to join the Appeal Inquiry Inspector on the site visit, should meet at 1.30pm outside the entrance to EDDC Council Chamber (not at the Dell, as previously suggested).

Please also note that no new evidence can be presented to the Inspector, as the Appeal Inquiry closed on Friday (1st Dec).

 

Two points of interest from the final day of the Inquiry were that no weight would be given to photomontages submitted by members of the public, as they did not match approved methodology. Simon Bird, QC, for PegasusLife, also dismissed claims that the emerging Sid Valley Neighbourhood Plan (SVNP) carried weight, as it is not due to be published until January 2018, so has not in fact “emerged”. This will be disappointing news for all those, young and old, who have participated in the SVNP process.

As referred to in the SOS post yesterday, the s106 agreement can be viewed on the East Devon planning pages, or at this link, but may take a while to download:

http://planningapps.eastdevon.gov.uk/Planning/StreamDocPage/obj.pdf?DocNo=2880743&PDF=true&content=obj.pdf

On page 23 of the agreement, the value of the Knowle site is given as £5.8 million.

 

 

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Knowle: on Friday (1st Dec), Inquiry heard barristers’ closing statements, and saw the agreement signed by EDDC and PegasusLife

The last topic for examination in Friday’s session of the Appeal Inquiry (1st December) was planning obligations and conditions as set out in the S106 agreement signed between PegasusLife and East Devon District Council. To view the S106  agreement, go to  http://planningapps.eastdevon.gov.uk/Planning/StreamDocPage/obj.pdf?DocNo=2880743&PDF=true&content=obj.pdf

 

Most of the day had been taken up by lengthy closing statements by the two barristers who addressed the issues identified by the Inspector, namely the impact on:
Character and appearance of the area
Residential amenity
C2 or C3
The listed summerhouse.

 

Some points which emerged, are believed to be as follows:

-Neither side asked for costs.

-The section 106 agreement now includes an overage clause so if PegasusLife make greater profits than expected they will have to pay the Council for public benefit.

-The interpretation of “on-site team” of carers seems to be unclear.  Residents must sign up for a minimum of 2 hours ‘extra care’ per week. 

-Residents would be paying council tax as well as service charges (flats leasehold, 999years) 

-There is no evidence that the developer has considered a design that does not build on the terraces.  PegasusLife argues there is no need to look at such an alternative viability option, as they are using the site to capacity.

-Planning spokesperson can’t say exactly how big the bins would have to be to store 3 weeks’ rubbish for 113 flats (collection will be 3-weekly) . Nearby residents believe the bins may be of a “considerable” size. 

-When asked whether Pegasus Life, in providing a care environment, has “an equal duty of care to the people who are already living here”, the planning spokesperson said he “Would accept that overdevelopment of the site could cause harm.”

-No assessment has been carried out to check affordability for local people, and whether Sidmouth demand (as identified in the Local Plan allocation) for housing for people of all incomes, will be met by the developer’s plans. 

The Inspector will carry out a site visit on Tuesday 5th December, starting at 1.30pm, from the Dell (Station Road, approximately midway between  entrance to Knowle Drive and Council Office car parks.). Interested parties may go along, but no new evidence can be presented at this stage.

 


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More on Planning Inquiry ,Thursday 30th November 2017: Design and Heritage.

Thank you to the contributor  who kindly sent in this personal view (copied below) of yesterday morning’s proceedings. It expands our blogpost earlier today https://saveoursidmouth.com/2017/12/01/knowle-appeal-inquiry-considers-massing-scale-and-an-original-fish/

Prof Robert Tavernor (design) claimed that:-
1. the plans draw on the town’s Regency architecture and local building materials
2.the design breaks up the existing single block with variously aligned buildings with glimpses through
3. buildings A and F enhance Knowle Drive by fronting the road rather than the back views of the existing buildings
4. the position of E is only 9.5 metres further forward than existing
5. building D is only 1.5 metres higher than the existing building but appears bigger as it is further forward
6. the photomontages presented were not produced to a recognised methodology and should not be relied on
On cross examination he:
7. disputed the dell buildings as being 5 storeys as they were affected by the topography
8. cited other buildings in Sidmouth such as St John’s School, Powys and flats in Knowle Drive itself as being several storeys high
9. seemed to agree that no quantum study of the 9,700 sq metre plan had been undertaken (later Mr Shillito stated the architects had undertaken this)
10. agreed that D would overlook the approach from the park with its large windows and roof terrace

Mr Simon Roper-Pressdee (heritage)
The majority of the time was in looking at maps, pictures and a photograph to ascertain the dates of the buildings, the terraces and the summerhouse.
He considered the new buildings would enhance the setting of the summerhouse.

The Inquiry continues today, at 9.30 a.m. The time and route of the Inspector’s site visits will be announced during the day.  We understand that any interested parties can participate.