Controversial Exeter development gains planning approval

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Despite receiving more than 360 objections a planning application for over 120 homes in Exeter has been recommended for approval…

Plans to create 123 homes in the Ludwell Valley Park, Exeter, have been recommended for approval, despite opposition from the local community.

The controversial development, which was put forward by ADP&E Farmers through agent JLL, received more than 360 objections. Plans were drawn up for a 16.6-acre parcel of land adjoining the West of England School. It would see 123 two-, three-, four-, and five-bedroom properties built on the site, some of which would be deemed affordable homes. The development would also include upgrades to local infrastructure.

The site has been put forward a number of times for development. An application was dismissed on appeal in 1962, followed by other rejections in 1967, 1976, and 1996. Another application was refused in May 2002 on the grounds it would “give rise to prominent development adversely affecting the character and appearance of the Ludwell Valley Park”. An appeal was dismissed by the Secretary of State in November 2003.

Ludwell Valley Park was previously named a site of nature conservation in the local development plan. However, in 2014 a study found the site no longer qualifies for this status, which will be updated when the plan is reviewed.

The application is set to come before Exeter City Council’s planning committee on 27 June 2016, but a report prepared ahead of the meeting has recommended the scheme should be approved, providing more details are given regarding the proposed green infrastructure improvements.

It said: “The substantial amount of correspondence from local residents shows the strength of feeling regarding the site’s development and the comments made indicate that residents are well informed of its planning history.

“The benefits of the application for up 123 houses including the provision of 35 per cent affordable homes, greater public access within and to the adjacent Valley Park and through improved green infrastructure in the area are significant material considerations that weigh in the application’s favour.

“This has to be balanced against the loss of an area of land in the Valley Park which contributes to the open character.”

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