Council committed to development of Sidford employment site, but found details of application unacceptable

A decision was made yesterday (27 September 2016) at East Devon District Council’s weekly planning chairman’s meeting to refuse an outline planning application for the development of the Sidford employment site at Two Bridges Road (reference 16/0669/MOUT).

In accordance with the Constitution, as both Councillor David Barratt, the ward member for Sidmouth Rural, and Sidmouth Town Council were opposed to the development proposal, and the officer recommendation was for refusal, the application did not need to be determined by the Development Management Committee (DMC).

The application was therefore presented by officers at the DMC Chairman’s delegation meeting where the decision was made in consultation with the ward member and DMC Vice Chairman Councillor Mike Howe (standing in for the Chairman Councillor David Key).

The reasons for the refusal were that the application failed to demonstrate how the developers would achieve the high standards of design and landscaping, which are a requirement for all developments taking place in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The proposal also did not sufficiently prove that traffic likely to be generated from the proposed mix of uses at the site would not be harmful to highway safety.

Members attending the delegated session were also not satisfied that any noise impact would be acceptable and were concerned that the application did not show how a cycle route would be put in place. The proposal also failed to include possible junction improvements and did not show how the site would be landscaped to reduce its impact on the surrounding area.

The applicant has a right to appeal the decision to the Planning Inspectorate within six months, or they may wish to attempt to address the reasons for refusal through the submission of a new planning application.

It is important to note that the council remains committed to seeing the Sidford Two Bridges site developed for employment purposes - its allocation remains in place and is supported by the Local Plan. All future applications for the site’s development must fulfil the requirements of the Local Plan and should include specific details that justify the extent and mix of proposed employment uses.