Application for development of this site was allowed at appeal following a Public Inquiry, held in 2014. Despite the efforts of Exeter City Council, 120 houses with ‘associated infrastructure and open space’ were allowed, with all matters reserved for future consideration apart from access.
At a recent meeting of the Planning Committee on Monday 30th September 2019 to discuss ‘Reserved Matters’, all three of Pinhoe’s local councillors raised detailed concerns following discussions with local residents. These concerns included:
safety of the highway at Church Hill – for pedestrians and cars – resulting from landscaping proposals
remote location of the proposed playspace areas and the safety concerns of access to areas of open water, which had been relocated in the updated plans
imbalance in the development of the site, specifically regarding required sensitivity in handling the landscape context of the listed, historical Home Farm buildings – dating from 15th century and on a central historical route through the village – according to Heritage England recommendations, which had not been considered by the Heritage Officer
residents’ concerns regarding flooding measures and ground water considerations, based on current and historical evidence of substantial problems
adequate provision for reinstatement of the important hedgerow linescape along Church Hill in line with biodiversity requirements
Councillor David Harvey mentioned recent problems holding developers to account when they exceed permitted development, however Council officers confirmed they do not routinely enforce or regularly monitor compliance. Indeed, when Cllr Harvey described Linden Homes’ recent removal of a large hedgerow at Gypsy Hill during nesting season, which was confirmed as an illegal act, Committee Members openly laughed when he said there had been no evidence remaining for the Devon and Cornwall Police to act upon.
Burrington Estates purchased the Home Farm site from Waddeton Park and the RB Nelder Trust. However, no site modelling or detailed location images were presented for the Committee’s consideration by Burrington Estates, who were represented at the meeting by Mr Seaton. Despite considerable changes to the original proposals, Mr Seaton suggested the entire case made by local councillors and residents was simply an attempt to review the original planning consent. No further detail or response was offered to the meeting.
Throughout the Committee, Council officers restated the details for consideration within “Reserved Matters” included layout, scale, landscape and appearance. Labour Councillor Emma Morse declined to support the concerns of local residents anxious to protect both the heritage and history of the site. Describing Home Farm as “an open wound” she described losing every battle for the site and announced her ‘practical’ approach meant she could only support the development.
With fellow councillors moving to support her position, including Cllr Phil Bialyk who recently commented in the Express & Echo, Cllr Yolanda Henson said the play areas ‘were bigger than some in other developments across the city’.
Cllr Amal Ghusain asked detailed questions regarding drainage provision and liability if the development was approved. Council officers said they were unable to answer and stated that drainage would only be signed off when considered satisfactory. Chair of the Planning Committee, Cllr Lyons, suggested submitting photographic evidence and Council Officers agreed benchmarking measures would be considered.
Chair of Pinhoe Village, Kate Jago, approached Mr Seaton following the Committee’s decision to approve the development, but neither he nor the developer were willing to comment at that stage. We hope Burrington Estates will recognise the widespread community interest in the development of the Home Farm site and look forward to positive discussions in the future.
Meanwhile, we are developing a “Flood Monitoring” resource for local residents across the Home Farm and Pinhoe Quarry sites – please contact us for further information.
We are also monitoring both the removal of protected hedgerows, and problems for the local community caused by the long-term blocking of the main route along Church Hill, from the village to the church
NOTES:Extensive planning notes from the Exeter City Council Planning Dept are available here (as a pdf), including the following protection for the hedgerows:
“Notwithstanding the details shown on drawing no. ML.01 Rev D all the existing hedgerows on site shall be maintained and managed in accordance with details that shall previously have been submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority. The submitted details will be expected to demonstrate how the hedgerows will be managed to secure their long term retention and health, and how any additional boundary treatments alongside them will be erected so as not to compromise them in the future. Reason: In the interests of the privacy of the occupants of both existing properties adjoining the site and the proposed properties, the visual amenities of the area and the ecological interest of the site”