Special meeting called next week to discuss new evidence

East Devon District Council’s Development Management Committee is holding a special meeting next week to consider a report about its decision to refuse a planning application to build a 113-apartment assisted living community for older people on the site of the council’s offices at Knowle in Sidmouth.

Applicant Pegasus Life, which specialises in providing living and care facilities for older people, is appealing against the refusal decision made by the committee in December 2016. The appeal will be heard by an inspector next month.

The committee is meeting next Tuesday (October 10, 2017) to discuss a report from planning officers who are recommending that the council no longer defends the refusal of planning permission at the appeal on the grounds of loss of light to neighbouring properties.

The report to councillors says that Pegasus Life has submitted new evidence as part of the appeal, which gives further information about the impact from the proposed development on loss of light, which is a small part of one of the reasons why the planning application was refused by the committee.

If the report recommendation is agreed by the committee at its meeting next week, the council will continue to defend the planning permission refusal for the other reasons relating to the overly dominant impact of the development, the visually overbearing impact, loss of privacy to neighbouring occupiers, that the proposal would not be a residential institution (C2 use) and is not exempt from providing affordable housing and the proposed development would have a harmful impact on the setting of the listed summerhouse.

Cllr Mike Howe, Chairman of East Devon District Council’s Development Management Committee, said:

"I appreciate how sensitive the redevelopment of Knowle is to Sidmouth and particularly to the residents that live around the site.

"It is therefore important that the community, and the owners of neighbouring properties who are most affected by this proposed change to the reasons for refusal, have adequate time to consider the report on the issue of loss of light and hear the matter being debated by committee members. This is why a special meeting of the committee has been called to consider this issue."

The meeting agenda and full report is available on the council’s website at /media/2230466/101017-combined-eo-dmc-agenda.pdf

The Pegasus Life appeal is due to be heard at a five-day public inquiry which starts on November 28 at Knowle, Sidmouth.