PLANS for the major redevelopment of Hatherleigh market were set to be given the go-ahead at a meeting on Tuesday (after the Post went to press), writes Daniel Clark.
Kingswood Homes’ plans to revamp the former cattle market site include 102 new homes, a new market square, an auction facility, a pavilion, commercial units, and car parking facilities.
Designed to fit the Hatherleigh 2028 vision, the plans are for ‘what a rural town should be’ with the best market in the South West, the documents submitted to West Devon Borough Council state.
Around £1-million is set to be invested in the new market as part of an overall £20-million investment in the scheme.
Plans for a new supermarket, a medical centre and industrial units, all originally proposed for the site, though have been scrapped as there was little appetite locally and commercial for them and alternative medical provision were being made elsewhere.
The proposals have split the town, and the ward member, Cllr Patrick Kimber, had called for West Devon’s planning committee to make the decision, said: “I think it should go to the planning committee because it is a major change for our town and the community is divided. I would like residents to be able to make representations directly to the members on the committee.”
West Devon Borough Council’s Development Management and Licensing Committee met on Tuesday, where the plans are recommended for approval.
A report to the planning committee says: “The development of the market site is understandably highly emotive — the site sits physically, historically and socially at the centre of Hatherleigh town, which in turn is central to so many surrounding rural villages.
“It is understood from discussions with, and representations from, the community and their representatives, that there are very mixed views regarding the current scheme. However it is evident that this scheme has evolved — responding to community comments and needs, changes in viability and the housing market, abattoir operations and officer advice.
“The scheme now includes more parking than any previous iteration and has sought to join the feather and furs building to the market hall in response to community requests.
“Although there is never complete certainty that an applicant will build out a site as sites can change hands, it is Kingswood Homes’ intention to develop this site and their portfolio of previous sites suggests they are adept at developing bespoke schemes for sites with constraints and idiosyncrasies, rather than simply mass housing on greenfield sites.”
The report admits that the scheme has planning policy shortcomings with regards to a lack of Affordable Housing provision and financial contributions and some shortfalls in the view a portion of the community, it adds: “It is considered overall to be a sound and considered scheme for the town and most importantly has prioritised continuation of the market whilst improving the current facilities.
“The market can be accommodated throughout construction and eventually relocate into its new improved facilities. The levels of parking proposed are considered adequate for the market to operate and thrive and improved bus route through the development right past the market square will improve its accessibility.
“The housing is of an appropriate mix, type and quantum to complement and diversify the housing offer already present in and around the town. As such it is officer recommendation that this scheme be approved.”
The approval is subject to a section 106 legal agreement being signed within six months that outline timescales for when the new market, pavilion, shops and apartments and riverside path be delivered, as well as £178,000 to be given to Devon County Council towards education provision.
The plans would see 102 homes built — 25 one-bed properties (including 21 bungalows), 21 two-bed, 35 three-bed and 21 four-bed. There would also be a market pavilion with attached enclosed feather and fur building, a market square, 200 car parking spaces, and shops, restaurants, cafes and professional services.
The scheme has been some support from residents in the town — with one resident who has lived in Hatherleigh for 50 years saying: “I fully support the redevelopment of the market. It has become a real eyesore to Hatherleigh, the majority of the town want the redevelopment. I really hope this gets through planning and the works starts promptly so we can all move on and make Hatherleigh a better place.”
Other representations said that Kingswood seem to have listened to local people and adjusted their plans accordingly, the cattle market was the heart of the town years ago but now it has dwindled and is an eyesore and a health and safety hazard, and that the prospect of new homes and a secure area for the market traders would be a very good outlook for the town.
But twice as many people objected to the plans, saying that the design looks cheap and nasty with no real thought gone into design, the infrastructure can’t cope, the loss of the market will lead to social isolation and mental health issues and that other markets in the area are too far away to travel to.
Paul Jones, MD Kingswood Homes, had previously 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.”