15 home plan for West Hill set to be approved

A controversial proposal for 15 homes in West Hill has been recommended for approval by the district council.

The plan, which includes 10 affordable homes, is for West Hayes on West Hill Road, which sits outside the development boundary of West Hill.

The planning report writes despite this being contrary to restrictive rural planning policies, the council has adopted an interim policy allowing development of up to 15 houses if the developer can prove there is a need for affordable housing.

Ottery Town Council has expressed its concern at building on the site, and unanimously voted not to support the plans in September.

At a planning committee meeting, moved to the village to allow residents their say on the scheme, many of them argued West Hill was not the right place to build affordable homes.

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Residents stood up one after another to say there wasn’t the need for them, and there was a lack of infrastructure, despite agreeing with them in principle.

District councillor Tony Howard, who represents Ottery Rural ward, said the recent housing needs survey ‘very clearly states that the vast majority (of residents) are against starter homes/estate development’.

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He added: “The neighbourhood has spoken and rejects the type of site proposed for Westhayes.”

But the report, compiled by planning officers at East Devon District Council (EDDC), says the applicant Paul Humphries Architects Ltd has: “Conducted a suitable Housing Needs Survey which establishes the need for affordable housing within West Hill that the development can satisfy.”

It adds the development can be ‘assimilated within the landscape without undue harm’ and the scale of the plan suits West Hill.

EDDC’s planning committee meet on Tuesday to decide on the West Hayes plan, which is recommended for approval subject to a section 106 agreement being agreed upon.

This is a payment by developers towards public open spaces and education to compensate for the increased strain the new houses will put on local services.

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