NEWS PLANNING & PLACE

Seabrook Orchards development plans submitted one house short of key planning condition threshold

Residents group says Bloor Homes application does not address pedestrian and cycle connectivity and is 'seeking to actively avoid delivery' of agreed transport infrastructure.

Cycling & walking

Developer Bloor Homes has submitted a reserved matters application for the third phase of its Seabrook Orchards estate which would mean it would not meet a key threshold specified in its site-wide planning agreement with the city council.

The outline application for up to 700 dwellings and supporting infrastructure at the low density greenfield development between Newcourt and Topsham was originally approved in January 2012.

Planning permission was subsequently granted by the city council in October 2013 on the condition, among others, that a junction connecting Dart Avenue with Admiral Way to enable multi-modal travel accessibility at the northern end of the development would be constructed.

The condition would be triggered once more than 650 dwellings were occupied.

337 dwellings have so far been constructed and another 108 granted planning consent in earlier phases of the development. The final phase would add another 204 to bring the total to 649, one less than the threshold at which the transport infrastructure is required.

Seabrook Orchards phase three illustration Seabrook Orchards phase three illustration. Image: LHC Design.

A statement accompanying the application says that access to the final phase of the development will be via the existing road network, from the Topsham Road end, apparently confirming the developer’s intention not to meet the planning condition.

The statement also says that cycling access “has been considered” but does not say that it will be delivered.

An existing walking and cycling route that connected the development to adjacent Vernon Crescent via Fish Street has recently been blocked, apparently with intent to create a ransom strip.

Exeter Cycling Campaign says that this has presented “particular difficulties for children and parents travelling by foot, scooter or bike from Newcourt to the school and safely onto Topsham”.

It adds that access at this location should be included as a planning condition for the final phase permission and that it “requires urgent attention to unblock again”.

Seabrook Orchards Residents Group represents more than 150 households already living in the development.

It says that the final phase application “does not adequately address pedestrian and cycle connectivity between Seabrook Orchards and the Greater Newcourt area” and is “seeking to actively avoid delivery” of the transport connections stipulated in the planning agreement.

Commenting on the application, residents group committee member Andrew Sails says that many residents who bought houses in the second phase of the development did so on the basis of “oral assurances by the Bloor sales office that direct vehicular access to the rest of Newcourt was to follow”.

He adds that the planning condition requiring transport infrastructure “as originally envisaged” should be adjusted to ensure that it is delivered as planned.

Bloor Homes is one of the largest privately-owned housebuilders in the UK. The net worth of its owner John Bloor is estimated to be $1.4 billion.

There have been 70 public comments in response to the application in the past fortnight of which 69 are objections and none are in support.

Comments on the proposals can be submitted via the city council website where the application details can be viewed in full.



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