Councillors have approved plans for a major redevelopment of the old Hatherleigh Market site, with over one hundred new homes give the green light as part of the development.
The plans which have seen some resistance from local residents were approved after a lengthy campaign to preserve the current market site.
West Devon Borough Council voted unanimously to approve the site, which does include plans for a modern, but smaller, market space. The current market site will be demolished to make way for the development. The current building is suspected to contain asbestos which will need to be removed by specialists before work can begin.
Councillors had received objections from residents about the lack of affordable housing, insufficient parking and the sheer scale of the development. The closure of the former cattle
market also dashes hopes of a traditional livestock market returning to the town, the likes of which are in rapid decline across the country.
A representative for Kingswood Homes told councillors they were keen to get to work as soon as possible.
Andrea Fortune said: “We are wholly committed to getting on site this side of Christmas. We are not a large scale builder, we need this development for our cash flow. We absolutely need to get on site as soon as possible and deliver this.”
When addressing concerns over the viability of the new market Paul Jones, MD Kingswood Homes said: “It is very clear people are passionate about the market but it needs investment and this scheme would provide a bespoke building that will be a flexible asset for the town.
‘Repositioning the Market Square in front of this Pavilion would maximise the views of the town’s most important historical asset, the Grade I listed St John the Baptist Church, while a small terrace row of retail units on the opposite side helps create a sense of enclosure.
We listened too about the type of housing needed locally and have incorporated a number of bungalows into the scheme as well as one and two bedroom apartments above the retail units.
‘Kingswood is a small developer, committed to working with communities to provide the best solutions to sites and we believe our new plans for Hatherleigh will enable the market to not just survive but thrive and provide a mix of high quality new homes needed in the town.”
“A mechanism has been agreed where the completed market building will operate for five years rent free, and then five years with a reduced rent to help the market continue.”
Clare added: “There was particular scrutiny over the lack of affordable housing and the suggestion this did not follow the National Planning Policy Framework. The response to this was that there is a ‘special circumstances’ clause of which it was considered the market site falls into with the need of the ‘public realm market area’ taking priority.”