Developers behind controversial plans for housing plans on green space at Eggbuckland Community College have attempted to allay fears that residents have over the scheme. Plans for 115 affordable homes with a sizable number of homes set aside for military veterans and key workers have been put forward for the ‘wildlife green haven’.
The proposed aims for the plans for the site are to ‘enable significant investment to improve educational and sporting facilities,’ which will be funded by selling the land for housing. But they proved unpopular with locals, who have raised concerns about what the scheme would mean for them.
A consultation event was held at the end of last month for locals to find out more about the proposed plans, which would see 13 acres of green space, formerly used by the school for sporting activities, be turned into housing. All 115 would be affordable, and the man behind the plans said that the scheme is needed to massively address the housing crisis in the city.
“There are north of 10,000 people on the housing list in Plymouth, affordable housing is a very hot topic so we are looking to deliver 115 affordable homes here of which 40 per cent will be shared ownership,” director of Spinnaker Land, Steve Smith said.
Mr Smith said the public are “absolutely right” to highlight their concerns on the impact to wildlife, and that it is their job to engage with specialists to carry out an assessment on the local habitats in the area.
He said: “A lot of people who are quite close to the boundary are concerned about how it will impact on them and that’s understandable. Part of our job is to listen to their concerns and maybe where possible mitigate the issues.
“We are here to listen to the concerns, we can’t promise to have a solution for everything but an important part of the process is that we listen and it may well be that we can put in additional planting, a new fence up or whatever it happens to be, maybe we slightly redesign the layout so that it is slightly away from the boundary to reduce the impact, it’s all that sort of stuff are what these consultations are all about.”
Mr Smith said there would be a six-acre area that would be used for public space, where members of the public can play football, walk, or use the community Orchard as well. He added: “It is our job to coordinate these things and understand and listen to what we are being told but not lose sight of the fact that ultimately the college needs a capital receipt, the money has to come from somewhere, so what generates that? Obviously it’s the housing.
“We have also said that given that this is a military city, up to 25 per cent should be given to military veterans and key workers. We are not just here to run roughshod otherwise we wouldn’t be doing this sort of thing at the minute.”
He added: “We have tried to explain the benefits of the development. I think there are a lot of people that we will never convince and I accept that but I think there are also a lot of people who can see the merits of one: the benefits to the school and the students and two: of course to provide much-needed housing.
“If we are going to deliver housing, we need new homes in Plymouth but also nationally because of a gross housing shortage then people have got to start to consider looking at the challenges that this sort of scheme involves. This challenge is not for the faint-hearted and we want to rise to the challenge.”
Matthew Corrigan, Principal of Eggbuckland Community College, said: “The College’s building and facilities are over 40 years old. We’ve been exploring how we can fund the necessary upgrades to our existing sporting facilities, as well as provide new facilities, so our students get the best experience possible.
“We believe the proposals will provide great benefits to our school community and the wider community, too. Our students have been involved in the process and we are all very excited about the potential future improvements.”
The proposed plans for the site will aim to
· Enable significant investment to improve educational and sporting facilities, for use by Eggbuckland Community College Students and the wider community.
· Provide much-needed affordable housing, including for military veterans and key workers
· Create publicly accessible areas of green space, for community use, on land which is currently private.
Locals were left unhappy with the plans when they first came forward. Many of the residents in the local area have called Eggbuckland home for 40 years or more and simply don’t want the most desirable aspects of where they live to disappear.
Get the best stories delivered to your inbox every day. Choose what you love here