15 homes for West Hill rejected

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New homes

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Plans for 15 homes in West Hill were unanimously rejected by East Devon District Council (EDDC) after an appeal decision changed their minds

The application to build at West Hayes in the village was set for approval until just minutes before last month’s EDDC planning meeting.

But when the news came through the planning inspector had rejected calls from Blue Cedar Homes to allow them to build 50 homes at the adjoining Eastfield site following a public inquiry, the district council withdrew it from the agenda.

They said the planning officers needed to take the decision into account in their updated report into Paul Hunt Investments’ plans.

The government planning inspector Dave Prentis had said the proposal at Eastfield conflicted with countryside protection policies.

So when the new planning report was released with the agenda for Tuesday’s Development Management Meeting the recommendation was now for refusal.

It read: “Consequently officers consider that the proposed development would be intrusive to the rural character of West Hill.”

Up until then planners had supported the scheme, which includes 10 affordable homes, even though the land sits outside the development boundary for West Hill, as it fulfilled special criteria to encourage building low-cost housing.

And at the planning meeting at Knowle the district council went along with the recommendation and refused the application, despite a last-ditch offer of £100,000 for a bus service in the village from the landowner announced last week.

Paul Hunt said he was not at all happy with the council’s change of heart, calling it a ‘knee-jerk reaction’ to the inspector’s report after months of consultation where the council indicated the scheme was acceptable under the departure policy.

He believes the planners had wrongly applied the decision by the inspector onto their application, as it was based on a departure policy with different rules to the Eastfield scheme.

He confirmed they will be appealing the decision.


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