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Land has successfully been secured by Teignbridge District Council, between Exeter Road and Eastdon Woods north of Shutterton Lane in Dawlish for a new countryside park for the community.
Due to open next year, the countryside park will provide a natural recreational area for local people to enjoy now and for future generations, as part of a £2.9m project called Suitable Alternative Natural Green Space (SANGS). This natural, green space is needed to help protect internationally important conservation sites at nearby Dawlish Warren and the Exe Estuary, providing more leisure choices for the growing population and people living in new developments nearby.
Teignbridge, in partnership with Exeter and East Devon Councils, recently established the South East Devon Habitat Regulations Executive Committee, to help protect these key conservation sites. The three authorities are working together to provide safe areas for all users to enjoy and care for the bird populations they support.
Cllr Humphrey Clemens, Teignbridge’s Executive Member for Housing and Planning, said:
“I’m delighted that this site has been secured for the enjoyment of local people and visitors as a countryside park.
“The new countryside park will be public open space with wild countryside and walks, available to all. It will be home to native species including wildflower grassland, scrub and woodland, and native wildlife, such as cirl buntings. In addition to nearby coast and countryside at Dawlish Warren and the Exe Estuary, it will give people more choice about where they go to explore the environment and enjoy nature at its best.
“Not only will this site ensure an area of countryside permanently remains as a valuable green space but also ensures the Council meets its legal obligations and the needs of Dawlish, Dawlish Warren communities and beyond. This purchase means that Teignbridge is adhering to its Local Plan, making sure development only takes place in agreed areas.”
Teignbridge worked closely with Natural England to assess all options for natural, green space near Dawlish. This site was finally agreed as suitable due to its size, access to roads including the A379, proximity to housing developments, tourist accommodation and Dawlish Warren’s busy tourist hub.
The site has been secured following 12 months of negotiation with the landowner. The 26.4 hectare (65 acre) site (around the size of 26 rugby pitches) will be paid for with money from developers, known as Section 106 payments and Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL), on new developments across the three council areas. Commercial sensitivity around the sale means that the purchase price of the land is not disclosed.
Councillor Andrew Moulding, East Devon District Council’s Deputy Leader and Chair of the Habitat Regulations Executive Committee, said:
“The work of the Habitat Regulations Executive Committee is a partnership between Teignbridge, Exeter and East Devon Councils working with wider partners including Natural England, Clinton Devon Estates, National Trust, RSPB, Exe Estuary Management Partnership and Devon Wildlife Trust to off-set the effects of new developments and population growth on protected conservation sites for future generations to enjoy.
“The new countryside park is a real asset for Dawlish, funded by developers, which will provide an alternative to important conservation areas at Dawlish Warren and the Exe Estuary. It will be solely for public access not for other uses and it will provide beautiful views of the landscape, provide a space for recreation and leisurely walks, for families and dog walkers alike.”
Councillor Rosalind Prowse, Teignbridge District Councillor for Dawlish South West Ward, said:
“I am delighted at the satisfactory conclusion to supply the necessary SANGS for Dawlish and am sure that it will be an asset to all who enjoy our wonderful countryside.”
Councillor Lisa Mayne, Teignbridge District Councillor for Dawlish Central & North East Ward, said:
“Teignbridge officers have worked very hard to obtain this suitable green space, which is in a beautiful location, protects the local conservation areas and at the same time is part of our Local Plan.”
Councillor Graham Price, Teignbridge District Councillor for Dawlish Central & North East Ward, said:
“I am extremely happy that this countryside park (SANGS) has been secured. It is and has been a necessary part of the Local Plan for the Dawlish area and I am confident it will be an asset to the community and will be of great benefit for visitors and residents alike.”
Aerial image of new Dawlish countryside park (c) Still Imaging