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HONITON : U-turn on Cedars chalets?

Thursday, 03 July 2014

A shortage of housing looks could force East Devon District Council (EDDC) into a controversial U-turn on an ‘extremely sensitive’ Honiton issue. The issue is about allowing 37 chalets at The Cedars, Otter Valley Park to be used as permanent abodes. But should the U-turn materialise, it will be too late for those who were forced off the site by EDDC enforcement action only a few years ago. Year-round occupation is currently in breach of planning rules as the chalets are for holiday occupation only. But a planning application has been submitted to change this, and planning officers are supporting it, recommending approval because there is a shortage of housing in East Devon. EDDC officers admit the issue is ‘extremely sensitive,’ and said in a report: “The application relates to an existing holiday park site on the northeast edge of Honiton. “It seeks a variation of the condition imposed on the occupation of the static units on the site and which restricts their use to holiday use only. “There is an extensive planning history to the site which has been in use for such purposes for over 30 years, formerly by touring caravans and latterly by static units. “In 2001 permission was granted to, amongst other things, alter the occupancy condition to a less restrictive condition which sought only to restrict the use of the units for holiday purposes, rather than the period or length of time when they might be occupied as such. “However, a large number of the units were subsequently occupied as permanent accommodation in breach of this condition. “Enforcement action was taken and upheld at appeal and occupiers of the site subsequently pursued civil action against the site owners for misselling of the units, this was also upheld. “The current application is therefore extremely sensitive in that it seeks to effectively remove the condition against which enforcement action was taken. “Whilst it is understood that former residents will necessarily feel aggrieved if the condition was to be varied, the proposal needs to be considered against the planning context now rather than at the time action was taken.” The proposed U-turn is explained by a shortage of housing, the report saying: “In light of the council’s acknowledged shortfall in demonstrating a five-year housing land supply, considerable weight must be given to allowing residential development in sustainable locations. “As the actual physical impact of development would not be materially different to that which currently exists (or is lawfully permitted) there are not considered to be any other justifiable reasons to withhold permission and as such the application is recommended for approval subject to conditions.” The application will be discussed today (July 1st) by the district council’s Development Management Committee.

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1 comments on this news item

Posted by : Mike, Honiton | Saturday 05/Jul/2014 | Report this comment

There was a clear welcome for the proposal to bring the Cedars homes to full occupancy at the Development Management Committee. I am delighted that the residents have security and also that the landowners have agreed to allotments with the storage and water needed which Ihave been urging on the Town Counil for 6 years. This was a win for everyone at last

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