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No declarations of interest were made by Members.
To consider the report of the City Development Manager.
The Principal Project Manager (Development) (MD) presented the application for mixed use development to provide town centre facilities comprising retail units (food and non-food) (Use Class A1) and restaurant units with ancillary drive-throughs (Use Class A3), together with associated access, access roads, service yards, car parking, infrastructure and landscaping (all matters reserved except access). The application has been submitted in outline with all matters reserved except access.
He set out the context of the application, detailing how the application differed from a similar application by the applicant refused in 2014 and subsequently dismissed by the Secretary of State in 2016 and referring to four other current major applications for retail development on out of town centre sites in Exeter, being those on the WDP Depot, Moor Lane, the B & Q site at Avocet Road, a bulky goods proposal on the Police Headquarters Middlemoor site which was subject to a holding objection from Highways England and a non-food retail unit on part of the existing Tesco Car Park, Russel Way.
He reported that 40 representations had been received, including 24 objections and 14 in support. Objections had been received from the Hill Barton Consortium, Legal and General UK Property Fund (owners of Exe Bridges Retail Park), East Devon New Community partners (developers of Cranbrook New Community), East Devon District Council, Exeter Civic Society, the Exeter Cycling Campaign and Stagecoach. A further late letter of objection had been received from Legal and General. The majority of the letters of support had been received from businesses in the area, including Exeter Science Park Ltd. The Exeter Chamber of Commerce and Industry was also in support.
The update sheet covered further objections from Persimmon Homes and the Crown Estate who owned Princesshay and a newly submitted planning application to vary a condition of planning permission of the former Toys R Us site in order to sell any non-food products from part of the floorspace.
The City Development Manager commented on the differences in the application to that previously refused and the changed retail landscape referring to greater sector uncertainty and challenging market conditions, particularly with the growth of on line shopping. He stated that further information was required in respect of the competing schemes before they could be brought to Committee and that this application was fully funded and operator supported.
He advised that a deferral of the application to consider the cumulative impacts of the development with the other out-of-centre retail applications would not be appropriate and that the view of the applicant that the proposal would deliver the objectives of the Monkerton and Hill Barton Masterplan by providing facilities for the local community, including the local business community was a satisfactory reason to determine this application before the other applications.
He referred to potential economic, social and environmental benefits the scheme could offer including linkage to the district heating network although there was no timetable yet for its implementation. He advised that the provision of a local centre even for ... view the full minutes text for item 161.