Members of East Devon’s Strategic Planning Committee will be asked to endorse a masterplan for the Axminster urban extension on 29 January 2019

Members of East Devon District Council’s Strategic Planning Committee will meet on 29 January 2019 to consider whether to endorse a masterplan for the proposed urban extension to the east of Axminster, which has been produced by consultants on behalf of the council, who are working with The Crown Estate and Persimmon Homes who between them have control of the land.

The masterplan has been prepared following consultation events held in July and December 2018 and provides a template for development of the area, which will include a mixture of housing, employment and community uses as well as a range of public open spaces and the proposed north/south relief road.

The masterplan aims to determine a distribution of uses across the site, including the route of the relief road. It will also provide design guidance for developers to follow when submitting planning applications on the site. This includes different character areas within the site to ensure that the development forms an attractive neighbourhood for residents.

One of the key proposals in the masterplan is an increase in the size of the urban extension and the number of homes to around 850 homes. This is because the work has demonstrated that the previously envisaged development of 650 homes could not be accommodated in an acceptable form on the original allocated site and would not have paid for the relief road. The additional housing numbers is the minimum amount necessary to deliver the required funding to supplement the £10 million of Housing Infrastructure Funds committed by Homes England to the project last year.

The masterplan work has already helped to influence planning applications submitted by Persimmon Homes for the parts of the site that they wish to develop. One of these applications relates to full planning permission for 104 houses on the most southerly part of the masterplan area on land to the north of Lyme Road and south of Sector Lane (application ref: 19/0150/MFUL).

The other application is for the most northerly part of the site and includes employment spaces on land to the north of Millwey Industrial Estate and up to 305 homes on land to the south/east of the industrial estate (application Ref: 19/0108/MOUT).

Both applications seek detailed consent for the relevant sections of the relief road, but the latter application seeks only outline planning permission for the proposed housing and other elements would then be the subject of a further application to determine the design of the houses, layout, landscaping detailed etc.

These applications are available to view through the “view planning applications” function on the council’s website. Got to that page and input the relevant application number. Comments on the applications are welcome and can be submitted on-line by following the relevant links.

The masterplan is envisaged to form a key document in helping the council to consider these applications and those that will follow from the Crown Estate in the spring. The council’s cabinet has already agreed in principle to support borrowing to enable the up-front delivery of the road subject to a detailed proposal being presented and agreed. The masterplan has been developed on the basis of the public sector delivery of the road in the early stages of the development to ensure traffic mitigation is in place early in the build out.

Councillor Ian Hall , East Devon District Council’s ward member Axminster Rural, said:

This is a really exciting opportunity for Axminster to deliver new homes and jobs to meet the needs of the existing community, as well as those that we hope to welcome into our community in the future. The masterplan also enables us to deliver the Relief Road, which is so badly needed to resolve issues of congestion and air pollution in the town centre. Funding a £17+ million road is not easy and in order to achieve this more development is needed than was expected, but this is a long term initiative that is intended to ensure that the relief road and other infrastructure is delivered alongside the homes.

The full report can be found in the agenda for Strategic Planning Committee, which is on the East Devon web site.