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Affordable housing plans 'nonsense' says councillor

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: November 16, 2012

By Joel Cooper

  • HOUSING PLAN: The old Furse Hill Road Bicclescombe Nursery at Doone Way in Ilfracombe. Picture: Paula Davies BNPD20121006A-003_C

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PLANS for a controversial housing development in Ilfracombe will be discussed by a specialist housing group next month.

Members of the Ilfracombe Affordable Housing Project Board (IAHPB) hope a development at the Bicclescombe Nursery site at Doone Way will help alleviate the town's dire affordable housing shortage.

However, one councillor says he will continue to oppose the plans which he described as nonsense.

Earlier this year the Journal reported that there was a 15 year waiting list for affordable housing in Ilfracombe.

North Devon Council formed the IAHPB, led by councillors Faye Webber, Geoff Fowler and Philip Webb, to tackle the problem.

The group's plans to build up to eight affordable houses on Greenways playing field were ditched in September after more than 800 residents signed a petition against the proposals.

The board is now focusing its efforts on the council owned Bicclescombe Nursery site.

The land has planning permission for 15 houses, of which at least four will be affordable.

Councillor Philip Webb said there were two options for the site.

He said: "We could either put the site up for sale to a private developer or we could work in partnership with a developer or social housing provider.

"There is still around £200,000 in section 106 money from the Lantern Court development so it could be that we put some of this forward to help deliver the project.

"However, this is a decision which would have to be made by the council's executive committee." But Councillor Geoff Fowler, who is also a member of the IAHPB and represents the west ward on North Devon Council, said the plans were nonsense and vowed to oppose them.

He said: "I'm not happy about these plans.

"The access to the site isn't conducive to that number of dwellings.

"Furze Hill Road is already congested and this will add an extra 100 car movements each day.

"The whole area is one of the biggest cul-de-sacs in the south west.

"I shall continue to oppose these plans, they are nonsense."

Councillor Philip Webb said he understood concerns with the location.

He said: "In an ideal world we wouldn't build at the nursery site.

"It's a narrow road which is in an appalling condition and there are always cars parked on either side.

"However, there are virtually no other options and the need for affordable housing is imperative."

The IAHPB is due to meet in December to discuss options for the site.

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  • Stork  |  November 16 2012, 4:36PM

    Countrylover I brought an American relative to Ilfracombe. They said, "Gee, they have a power station right in the centre of Town". I said, " actually, it's a sort of theatre, thingy ".

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  • SofaSnake  |  November 16 2012, 1:28PM

    I never quite understand the 15 year wait, as there is a fantastic development at chambercombe 1 and 2 bedroom flats, I live in one and there are 8 in total. We have parking and they're available on shared ownership meaning local people on average wages can get on the housing ladder via a split mortgage rent payment ,which equates to your share. We own 50% but we could buy more. As part of the conditions the housing association try and find a buyer first ie by consulting the "15 year waiting list" after 3 months it goes to open market, when they have been snapped up by people not on the so called "15 year waiting list" There are affordable homes out there ! But the waiting list could well be for social housing and not for affordable homes!!

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  • Bayview  |  November 16 2012, 11:08AM

    Why are only 4 of the 15 planned houses allocated as 'affordable' properties?

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  • Countrylover  |  November 16 2012, 10:14AM

    Re Ilfracome housing. All this talk about "affordable homes is nonsense, how much? When the first buyer goes to sell the "affordable" home,probably after a couple of yrs, they will want the market price, they won't want to subsidise next buyer. What I am very concerned about is the 750 houses,school,doctors surgery, small businesses etc that are to be built even further away than the "out of town super market near Ilfracombe. This to me is the start of a nother town and should not be allowed.According to NDC and Ilfracombe this is to regenerate the town! As Ilfracombe town itself has empty houses,derelict hotels, boarded up areas, empty businesses for a great many years.The councils should renovate the hotels into one or two bedroom flats for council tenants, buy some of the empty houses and do the same. Also instead of selling their office buildings, these too could be made into flats. They could encourage business into the town by reducing business rates as many look in need of refurbishment. They also need to clean the streets of the continual amounts of litter and dog mess, also been like this for years. The vast majority who would be able to buy these so called "affordable" homes would be "buy to let" agents or "2nd home" buyers, the latter would only be there for short periods. Tesco would benefit but not Ilfracobe traders. We do not need any more land destroyed by the obsession of unwanted housing by councils and planners who pander to the builders it seems. The Eco ones wanted by Damien Hirst are also suspect and not needed. A report came out recently saying they were not so "eco" as they were very expensive in building and running costs. Also if they were to be built anything like his obscene statue they would be out of keeping with the area. The statue is ugly more like porn to me, with scales apparently being put in its bottom and ruining what was a lovely view from the harbour. I have only heard many comments of disgust about it, aswell as how to improve it ie some comments suggesting "blowing it up in some way" , no wonder it needed police protection at council tax payers cost. As it alledgedly was in a warehouse for a very long time, it seems abvious to me that the deal was done before local people knew anything. Both councils and planners have shown total lack commonsense all the way through. I am very shocked that the councillors want to advertise that Ilfracmbe has the highest teen pregnancies, which I didnt know until this "thing" was put up. I have asked a councillor what happens after 20yrs, does Hirst present Ilfracombe with a huge bill or get it taken away at his own cost. No one has replied.? I wonder why. Also why are council tax payers having to foot the bill for it to be cleaned. The rest of the town has so much rubbish for many yrs surely that should be dealt with. Let the councillors who voted for this monstrosity, clean it in their own time,own cost, not be able to claim expenses. As D Hirst apparently already owns four properties along the harbour area, surely he could pay for this, especially as it belongs to him. The councils have wasted our money for a very long time, its about time this all changed. They say they want to regenerate Ilfracombe, so do it, but no more of these dreadful statues that they say they are thinking about. The town is becoming a laughing stock,in which the cooling towers has not helped. Mrs Coleman

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