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District council gives gardens access all clear despite fears
Monday, 15 October 2012
A LICENCE for access across Windsor Gardens is to be granted by East Devon District Council despite concerns from Seaton residents.
At this month’s full town council meeting, members of the public, chamber of commerce, local businesses and the United Reformed Church on Cross Street expressed reservations over the licence.
The public forum concluded that the licence would cause great commotion in the town to both traffic and operating businesses and services.
Church representatives complained that funeral services and church occasions would lose dignity with noise pollution and eye sores from the building site, whilst Marcus Hartnell of the Chamber of Commerce supported Seaton Town Council stating that businesses on Cross Street were sure to suffer.
Other concerns included congestion and noise pollution from traffic, the difficulty of working vehicles and lorries reversing in Cross Street, the accuracy of Section 106 funds, the positioning of site welfare huts such as legally required WCs and wheel washing facilities and the lack of tangible benefit for the town as a whole.
Financial flaws to the plan were also criticised, as in return for the 12-month licence across the gardens, Milkbere Properties will be rebuilding a retained wall in the corner of the plot.
Councillors said that this is not a balanced agreement and the value of the licence is worth more than rebuilding of a wall that was EDDC’s responsibility to fix in the first place.
Despite this, EDDC’s Deputy Portfolio Holder for the Environment, Councillor Phil Twiss, is now in agreement with the granting of the licence now that all reasonable efforts have been made to address concerns from interested parties.
A practical test on October 11th took place to prove the viability of 16 tonne lorries reversing in the Cross Street area, amid major concerns from the town council that this was a difficult process for lorry drivers to complete.
EDDC Streetscene manager, Andrew Hancock, said: “The test was deemed as successful and included a ‘margin of error’ of 1.5 metres with all the parking bays opposite the site fully occupied for the period of the test.
“There were no issues reversing on to the point of entry into the site. This was under the control of the banksman, who will be present on a full time basis on the gate into the site once the licence comes into force and works begin.”
As the reversing was successful, it is difficult for EDDC to reject the licence and so finalising work will now go ahead with the EDDC legal team who will issue the licence without further delay.
The work to build 13 dwellings, an access road, parking, turning areas and a cycle track is set to take 12 months to complete and the licence for access will cover these 12 months only, from the date of signing with the developer.
Mr Hancock continued: “Our engineer Keith Steel has met separately with the developer and Devon County Council to look at issues of access across the highway, and the developer is still required to gain consents or approval from DCC to this affect.
“The licence that we will grant only relates to temporary access across the strip of Windsor Gardens for 12 months, but it also requires the developer to gain all other necessary consents such as planning and highways.
“However, as with any development, the holding of these consents are a separate issues for which the developer is responsible and are dealt with outside of this licence by other departments or bodies. Information boards to affix to the hoarding telling people why the strip of gardens is closed are in production, and the developer has produced a summary of works and lorry movements which has been sent to the town council and which we have on signs ready to go up in the gardens.”
Seaton town councillors will collate all the necessary reasons to oppose the access, including those new issues, which arose at the town council meeting.
Further worries from the lorry demonstration will also be added to the list of oppositions, when more than 25 cars queued through Cross street and Fore Street waiting for the lorry to reverse.
Seaton Town Council will then write to clarify these reasons in one last bid to oppose the access and letters will be sent to the leader of EDDC, Councillor Paul Diviani, Councillor Phil Twiss and engineer, Keith Steel.
All content © of Pulmans Weekly News unless stated otherwise.
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