Ref: 15/01770/FUL: The Square, Old Exeter Street, Chudleigh: Demolition of existing single storey commercial unit and replace with retail unit and seven dwellings.
Firstly, may I thank you for allowing us an extension of time to submit our comments. This was invaluable as it allowed more time for the community to be made aware of the application and for them to become engaged in the consultation process. This was important, I think, given that the outcome of the application will have a fundamental impact on the centre of the town.
The Town Council’s planning committee met on 5 August, a meeting that was attended by around 127 parishioners. That number might well have been higher had the room had a bigger capacity. I mention this because I think it is important to make clear to you, and also to the Development Control Committee, that this application has generated an unprecedented level of interest within the town. This is, by far, the highest public attendance at any Council meeting in recent times – far higher than for major applications for 200+ dwellings.
You will have noted that, to date, there are some 95 objections on the planning portal. There is also an objection from Chudleigh & District Amenity Society who represent around 100 members. I have to tell you that the entire audience at the planning committee meeting were also opposed to the application. I believe this makes clear that, should the application be passed, a development that will change the nature of the centre of the town will have been imposed on the community against their expressed wishes.
Without a doubt, this site is the most high-profile and high-impact site left for development within the town. The location is highly visible as one proceeds down Fore Street and will set the tone for the visual impact of the town centre. As such, it is imperative that the design of any development is in keeping with the current appearance of the town and supportive of the conservation area.
After listening to the views of the community Councillors have decided to strongly oppose the application. They do so on four grounds:-
That the design and scale of the proposed building was unsuited to the town centre and conservation area
It was not in keeping with the street scene in Old Exeter Street and New Exeter Street
It was over-bearing in relation to the listed war memorial and obelisk
Loss of the green open space