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Philip Evans


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AXMINSTER: Eyesore car park to open this year?

Thursday, 01 May 2014

Tree and protected species reports for the disused Webster’s site in Axminster have been deemed satisfactory by East Devon District Council (EDDC) signalling the go-ahead for the eyesore to be turned into a car park. It was on March 4th that members of EDDC’s Development Management Committee (DMC) voted unanimously (subject to the completion of satisfactory tree and protected species reports) in favour of plans to turn the derelict Webster’s site into a car park for up to of five years until a long-term solution is found. They did so against the will of planning and conservation officers, who deemed the derelict Busy Bee building “a positive contribution to the significance of the conservation area” and wanted to refuse the application. Although seen as a formality, there was relief when the tree and protected species reports were passed and definite planning permission given on April 11th. The site is owned by Plymouth-based Hallmark Estates, whose agent Graham Barton said on April 14th: “Our next move going forwards is to deal with satisfying pre-development commencement conditions [demolition]. “My aim is to present what is required to EDDC within 4-6 weeks assuming no hiccups. “On the archaeological front the gist is that we won’t be required to do actual excavations looking for signs of history. “This will follow when the site is ultimately regenerated on a wholesale basis. “However, for our consent there will need to be archaeological monitoring when we break ground for ticket-machines, lampstands and so on. “Right now though I’m looking to sort out a demolition contractor to clear the site as well as a metal fabricator to produce the railings for the entrance off Lyme Street. “As to on what basis the car-park will be run, no decisions have yet been taken.” The aim is for the new car park to be operational at some point this year.

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