Planning officers approve revised plan for up to 257 homes and a new home for Crediton RFC at Creedy Bridge

by Alan Quick

MID Devon District Council’s planning committee members approved the revised application for development at Creedy Bridge (Pedlarspool), by seven votes to four when it met on September 19.

Gleeson Strategic Land submitted revised proposals in March 2018 for up to 257 homes at Creedy Bridge, including 56 affordable homes.

Gleeson said the revised proposals sought to respond to comments on the original application by stakeholders and consultees.

The revised outline application (Application 17/00348/MOUT – Creedy Bridge, Crediton) includes 8.6 hectares of land for a new clubhouse and replacement and additional sports pitches for Crediton Rugby Club, up to 1.1 hectares of land for a new primary school and, in line with the site allocation and at the request of the council, up to five pitches for the Gypsy and Traveller community.

Financial contributions of around £2 million for local education, transport and healthcare will also be provided.

The approval comes after detailed discussions with the council and endorsement by all the statutory consultees as well as community consultation.

The amended plans went on view at an exhibition for residents earlier this year with an opportunity for further comment.

The number of homes is now 69 fewer than in the original application while the provision of affordable housing has increased to more than 22 per cent (56 affordable).

Prior to the meeting, John Smith of Gleeson Strategic Land said: “The proposals will provide much-needed new housing and affordable housing for the district, will support Crediton Rugby Club - an important community asset, and bring many benefits to the wider area of Crediton and Sandford, including substantial financial contributions.”

Speaking at the meeting in public question time, Ray Grigg, on behalf of Crediton Rugby Club, said that the club’s currently cramped and outdated site, built more than 50 years ago to house just three teams, was jeopardising the club’s future.

He said: “We are currently struggling to accommodate over 500 members and 16 teams and have problems arranging training and fixtures - but that if the Creedy Bridge application is granted we will be able to provide up-to-date facilities such as a new clubhouse with a greater number of changing rooms and more pitches and we can solve current parking problems?

Also supporting Crediton RFC, Mr Newstead asked: “Is the committee aware of the valuable work the club does with our growing youth membership? – we have nearly 300 junior playing members in 11 junior teams, including three girls’ teams, and that if the Creedy Bridge application is granted we will be able to offer more rugby to more people – in particular younger people - in the wider community if we can provide better facilities?”

A number of Upton Hellions residents raised concerns about the plan during the public question time and Liz Toms from Sandford asked: “What plans are there for employment opportunities that go alongside this development?”.

Detailed information was provided by Mid Devon District Council’s Area Team Leader and Ian Sorenson (Devon County Council Highways).

The Area Team Leader outlined the contents of the report highlighting by way of presentation the proposed area for development, the site location plan, the proposed land uses and the means of access.  He identified the areas for housing, the school site, the gypsy and traveller site, the green infrastructure and the access and movement plan which identified the proposed means of access to and from the site, vehicular and indicative locations of internal routes and principle pedestrian connections.  Plans were also shown of the proposed offsite highway works at Pounds Hill and Jockey Hill to assist safe pedestrian movements to and from the site.

The transport strategy plan was produced with an additional plan highlighting the Red Hill Cross site which had received planning permission (now extant) and the closest residential properties. The presentation also included the density plan, an indicative masterplan for the site and a plan which identified the accessibility of the site to the town of Crediton.

He explained the allocation within the adopted Local Plan and the emerging Local Plan; the footprint had not changed however there were changes to the proposed land use.

He further explained the proposed Section 106 agreement and the allocation of affordable housing and provided photographs from various aspects of the site.

Providing answers to questions posed in public question time, the officer stated that with regard to the safe use of the lane network, it would be advised that the A3072 would be the preferred route for use, funding had been secured for sustainable travel.

With regard to the transport issues raised, he felt that he had covered the issues within his presentation, with regard to the affordable housing and it being sold off to other local authorities in the country, the affordable housing allocation within Mid Devon was dealt with via Devon Home Choice.

With regard to sustainable employment, the allocation within the emerging Local Plan did not include an employment site, previously featured in the adopted Local Plan, however there were employment sites within Crediton and he was in receipt of an application for new industrial units in the town.

With regard to transport movement, Mr Sorenson stated that a number of passing places would be introduced on Stonewall Lane and that there would be safe vehicle access via a roundabout on the A3072 via Exhibition Road, he explained the proposed routes outlined in the transport assessment which included movements to and from the school and pedestrian access along the narrow lane.

Future development in Crediton would lend itself to greater strategic networks.  The officer stated that further footway improvements were being looked into and the development proposals that had lapsed would give further footways onto Old Tiverton Road.

The development of the site would move the rugby club and training ground; those sites may come forward which could bring forward further traffic improvements.

The meeting then considered Members questions with regard to:

• Education funding, specifically early years funding.

• The number of dwellings proposed for Crediton.

• The affordable housing allocation and how that would be cascaded.

• Open space on the site, specifically play areas and how they would be managed and maintained.

• The Wildlife Trust representation and how issues raised would be mitigated.

• How much weight should be given to the emerging Local Plan, the lack of a five-year land supply and the planning balance.

• Sustainable transport issues.

• The viability of the proposal and the number of affordable homes.

• The number of traffic movements around the site.

Consideration was then given to:

• The views of the objectors with regard to the visual impact of the development on the village of Shobrooke, whether the site was sustainable, the impact on the local lanes and flooding issues.

• The views of the agent with regard to the benefits of the development for the town and local area, the financial package, the lack of a five-year land supply and the fact that the development would aid the issue, the density of the site which would be considered at the reserved matters stage and that the developers were willing to talk to Sandford Parish with regard to any particular projects they would like to discuss.

• The views of Sandford Parish Council with regard to Government policy for house building and the impact of this on the small town.  The historic parkland which surrounded the site and the lack of broadband in the area.

• The views of Upton Hellions Parish Meeting with regard to the impact of the development on the rural landscape, the number of dwellings within the proposal were more than identified in the emerging Local Plan and the destruction of the Creedy Valley.

• The views of the Ward Member with regard to the history of the site, the lack of a green buffer, the sensitive heritage site and the area of flood plain, the inadequacy of the highway proposals, the site would fund improvements for Crediton, but what of Sandford? Issues with regard to the gypsy and traveller provision, the affordable housing, whether the bus services would be improved, whether the density on the site was acceptable and the S106 agreement.

Discussion then took place regarding:

• The site visit that had taken place which had proved to be very useful to Members.

• The retention of the trees in Pedlarspool Lane, any visual impact that the development would cause and the connectivity of the site to the town.

• The education proposal within the S106 agreement, whether the schools in the town were over prescribed, the town of Crediton would not receive any Council Tax income as that would go to the parish of Sandford and the impact of the proposal on local doctors’ surgeries.

• The housing need, the phasing of the affordable housing and the need to use the Devon Home Choice cascade system.

• The valued english landscape with regard to Creedy and Shobrooke Parks.

• The allocation within the adopted and  emerging Local Plans and whether the site was sustainable.

• The fact that the land was allocated for development and that it met with planning policy.

• The density on the site.

Cllr Georgina Ford spoke on behalf of Sandford Parish Council and Cllr Lindsey Kuzara spoke of behalf of Upton Hellions Parish Meeting.

Cllr Mrs J B Binks spoke as Ward Member and the Chairman read a statement on behalf of Cllr Mrs M E Squires (Ward Member).

It was resolved that planning permission be granted subject the prior signing of a S106 agreement to secure the previously set out conditions with one update, that Cascade arrangements for the affordable housing would be as set out in the Devon Home Choice policy framework.

The draft minutes of the meeting have been published on the MDDC website at: .

A link to the site can be found at: .