The Dartington Hall Trust (‘The Trust’) believes greater community consultation could help enhance the proposed Brimhay development by South Devon Rural Housing Association (SDRHA).
The Trust has been supportive of the Brimhay scheme as it is 60% affordable, providing the dual social benefits of redeveloping unfit social housing for SDRHA residents and creating much-needed places to live, in the community, for Robert Owen Communities (ROC) to benefit people with learning disabilities.
While the Trust was not responsible for the planning application submitted by SDRHA, it had assumed the public consultation process would have allowed ample opportunities for the community to engage in productive discussion on these plans. While SDRHA have followed their normal public consultation process, it seems clear from the strength of local feeling that the community does not feel this has been adequate.
As we are learning ourselves, effective community consultation is essential and can lead to real benefits but does require sufficient time and ongoing communication.
Given this, The Trust supports the Parish Council’s offer to hold a stakeholder meeting to encourage more consultation with the community and welcomes the offer from SDRHA to consider appropriate alternatives or modification.
However, it is important that any further discussion is approached with mutual respect and we would urge all parties to engage in constructive dialogue that appreciates the real challenges and constraints that SDRHA faces in carrying through such an ambitious scheme without government subsidy.
About the SDRHA regeneration plans at Brimhay
On 4 December 2014, The Dartington Hall Trust sold two small areas of land to SDRHA to enable the regeneration of the Brimhay site in Dartington village.
The scheme involved the replacement of 18 outdated, poor quality, energy-inefficient bungalows with 12 new homes for SDRHA residents and a new building of 15 independent-living units for ROC, which will benefit all ages of people with learning disabilities. To help finance the development without the need for Government subsidy, the proposal was for a mixed scheme with some market housing.
The sale of land was in keeping with The Trust’s aims of encouraging specialist housing and supporting disadvantaged groups.