Exeter Estates say that more than 1,000 new jobs have been put at risk after council planners turned down plans for a new major industrial development on the edge of Exeter.
Last week, Teignbridge Council’s planning committee rejected plans by 10 votes to six for a 47,000 sq m employment development at Peamore, known locally as the old Frank Tucker’s garage, between Exminster and Kennford at West Exe Park, Alphington.
The scheme had been recommended for approval, but was rejected on the grounds that it was contrary to landscape and highways policies and that the transport plan for workers making it to the site was not robust enough.
Exeter Estates Ltd, led by Exeter Chiefs chairman Tony Rowe, say that they are now considering a number of options to take the scheme forward. Planning permission for a smaller development on the site had previously been granted, but is not considered viable by the company to be brought forward.
The West Exe Park business park plan
A spokesman for Exeter Estates said: “We are obviously disappointed that despite Teignbridge District Councils and Devon County Councils own officers recommendation for approval and with no technical or policy reasons for rejection the Council members decided to refuse consent.
“This decision puts at risk over 1,000 new jobs and stifles economic growth at a time when Teignbridge District Councils own employment delivery plans are failing.”
A previous decision on the application was deferred in August due to the impact it would have had on traffic in surrounding villages. A new transport plan had been proposed by Exeter Estates to address the concerns, including a new cycleway and bus stops and a weight limit in the village of Kennford.
Ariel view of site
But councillors felt that the provisions didn’t go far enough and that even though they were being told significant benefits would be provided, it would create abject misery for residents if approved.
A spokesman for Exeter Estates added: “We offered extensive mitigations to the concerns raised by local parish council members although there was no technical evidence put forward that supported these concerns.”
They also added that the creation of a potentially strategically important slip road onto the A38 from the A379 is also at risk due to this decision.
The application originally envisaged the construction of a new roundabout which would be on the A379 at a position alongside the A38. But a revised application has seen the removal of the roundabout and slip road plan, although it could have been resurrected at a later date.
The spokesman continued: “We are currently considering a number of options to take the scheme forward.”
Councillors had criticised the plan, with ward member Cllr John Goodey saying: “Are the economic benefits from allowing this industrial estate to be built by shoehorning all Teignbridge’s employment requirements onto this one site worth the abject irreversible misery, the well aired traffic and environment issues that this will have on the thousands of lives of the residents of the surrounding parishes? It is my view that there would be a disproportionate adverse effect on the surrounding communities that outweigh any economic benefits.”
Cllr Alan Connett said: “There is no evidence to support this, but it will make the lives of people immeasurably worse.”
Cllr Alan Connett
Despite Nick Davies, business manager strategic place at Teignbridge District Council, warning that the council will not have any expert advice at a public inquiry to back up any reasons for refusal if one is held, and that there are significant benefits of the scheme, lots of jobs will be created and that those benefits are being turned away on reasons that are not supported by experts, the decision could be very costly for the council if an appeal was submitted by Exeter Estates, councillors voted by 10 votes to six to reject the application, to cheers from the public gallery.
Source: Devon live