Friday, September 20, 2013
CONTROVERSIAL plans to build 40 new homes in Newton Poppleford were given the go-ahead this week despite strong objection from residents.
East Devon District Council’s development management committee voted unanimously to approve the development of a six-acre site south of King Alfred Way, which will include up to 16 ‘affordable’ dwellings and a fully equipped health centre.
The proposals received more than 400 letters of opposition from members of the public who are concerned about the size of the development, the impact on the landscape and the increase in traffic on the already busy road.
The applicant, Clinton Devon Estates, has agreed to build a doctors’ surgery as part of the scheme, but is currently not legally obliged to do so, the meeting heard.
Sue Stokes, practice manager at the Coleridge Medical Centre in Ottery St Mary, said that it fully supported the new surgery because the current facility in Newton Poppleford is too small.
She added: “If this is approved, we will be able to provide a much more suitable and sustainable service for our patients.”
Villager Matt Coppell echoed the concerns of a number of residents when he said he was worried that the developer would go back on the pledge after they received planning consent.
He added: “This promise of a surgery is just designed to gain public support – it is unviable, and unlikely to be built.”
Chris Burhop urged the planning committee to listen to the people of Newton Poppleford and refuse the application.
He said: “This is strongly opposed by the majority of village residents - we do not want this ill-conceived, opportunistic application.”
The development will fill the village’s allocation of new homes until 2026 in one go, and resident Jane Willet said she thought it was unfair that Clinton Devon Estates be given the sole opportunity to build them.
She added: “Should more suitable applications come along in the future they will be refused.”
But committee member Councillor Tony Howard said he thought the development ‘ticked all the boxes’ in terms of benefits to the community, and Cllr Ben Ingham said it would be irresponsible of the committee to say that any other sites were more suitable.