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AXMINSTER: Councillors ‘aghast’ at move to retain derelict former shop

Friday, 24 January 2014

“Aghast” and “mad” were two of the words used when Axminster Town Council discussed a conservation officer’s provisional recommendation to retain a derelict building.
As reported in Pulman’s View last week, plans for a temporary car park on the disused Webster’s site are in jeopardy because East Devon District Council’s (EDDC) conservation team wants to save the adjoining former premises of Busy Bee.
The conservation officer’s report said: “”Its prominent position in the street scene, its proportions and massing, and surviving shop front and window apertures make it a positive contribution to the significance of the conservation area. “
The desire to save the building doesn’t necessarily mean that planners will recommend the car park application be refused, but there is considerable concern.
‘Blot on landscape’
Axminster Town Council, meeting on Mondayof last week, decided to write to East Devon District Council’s planning department to oppose the conservation team’s recommendation in the strongest of terms.
Mayor Jeremy Walden repeated his previous opposition to the conservation officer’s views.
Councillor Waldden thinks the recommendation is “untenable” and that the building in question is “a blot” on the landscape.
He said: “In the longer term that site will be developed. To maintain consistency he [the conservation officer] would have to say it is worth keeping then.”
Town planning committee chairman Chris Scott said: “To say we are aghast would be putting it gently and politely.
“I think it is safe to say that the majority of the population think it is mad (the wish to keep the building].
“We need all the space we can get on that pavement, particularly if the post office relocates.
“We have had enough brickbats thrown at us for the delay and this is a perfect example of what we are up against.”


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