Wednesday 25th October 2017

Brimhay Press Release

Once again South Hams District Council (SHDC) has approved South Devon Rural Housing Association (SDR) plans to redevelop its site at Brimhay Dartington. It seems now would be a good time to review all the allegations that have been made regarding our intentions and to review the minutes of local meetings to establish a balanced view of the journey we have all taken. If you examine what SDR has been saying over the last few years on this development, you will find that little has changed from our original objectives: to provide 12 homes for affordable rent for local people according to our charitable aims and subsidised by the sale of 12 open market houses. This remains the case today, although the costs associated with the scheme have increased significantly, largely because of the delays.

You may ask why various parties opposed to the scheme have pursued an ‘Alternative Plan’ which is not considered to be financially viable. Instead they have tried to persuade others that theirs is a viable alternative. What you may not have known is that the door has always been open to the local community to discuss our plans. To that end we had a number of meetings with local people, DBDUC and the Parish Council. We did not receive any constructive or collaborative feedback from the Parish Council regarding our offers to consider our development. Along the way there were voices of reason within the Parish Council regarding our proposed scheme. Those reasonable views seem largely to have been ignored. The board are fully aware of the issues and comments put forward by local people on our planned development and we have taken the constructive comments on board, making any adjustments that we are able to do within the constraints of the site and the project’s viability.

Energy efficiency, sustainability, car parking affecting Gidleys Meadow and night lighting have all been adjusted since the plans first went to SHDC. We have also addressed the ecological issues raised during the planning process and have agreed an Ecological Management Plan in perpetuity for the site to protect the wildlife corridor along the edge of the site.
Originally, we were set to rehouse 12 existing tenants, some of whom were enthusiastic about a move into energy efficient, larger flats. Sadly the community of Brimhay has been decimated during the delays everyone has faced in getting this scheme delivered. Now only three residents remain. They can remain in their current homes during the construction of the new apartments and will be offered new homes in our completed scheme. We hope that the remaining apartments will attract local people, especially those already in homes that are too large for them. This downsizing and release of much needed social-rent family homes in Dartington would be a silver lining. As a result of delays and associated increased costs on the Brimhay Development, SDR will have less to spend on future developments for local people requiring homes. However, our commitment to provide homes for people who are not able to buy or rent on the open market remains our highest priority.

the Board of Management of SDRHA