Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Campaigners in Newton Poppleford are celebrating after they forced district council planners to back down on a decision to allow a controversial development in the village.
The group of residents took their case to the High Court after permission was granted for 40 homes and a doctors’ surgery on land south of King Alfred Way.
Their case was based around the fact that East Devon District Council (EDDC) did not fully consider the environmental impact of the development, and wrongly gave too much weight to the promise of a fully equipped health centre.
And now EDDC lawyers have settled out of court – conceding that the authority breached regulations when its planning committee green-lit the proposal in September last year.
However, the campaigners’ victory could prove to be short-lived as the same application is set to go in front of the same development management committee that approved the original plans.
Matt Coppell, who spearheaded the legal challenge, said that the next challenge was making sure villagers opposed to the development register their objection ahead of the meeting on May 8.
“There is quite a large section of the community who are outraged by the original decision making process,” he said. “We’re particularly frustrated because we raised this issue with EDDC through correspondence at the time, but they pressed on with it anyway.
“The ideal outcome is that EDDC go back and review the whole process [of how many homes should be built in the village] – nobody wants the 40 houses in one place, and that site wasn’t chosen by the local population.”
But Matt added that the campaigners were resigned to the fact that the houses would probably be built on the six-acre site.
“Probably the best we can hope for now is that they agree to the 40 houses without the doctors’ surgery,” said the High Street resident. “Now we need to try to get as many people from the community as possible to voice their concerns.”
The original application from Clinton Devon Estates received 374 letters of objection from residents, who raised concerns about the environmental impact, flooding issues and the amount of extra traffic the health centre would bring.