A developer in Ottery has been blasted as ‘utterly deplorable’ for making a U-turn on promises to gift the allotments to the town when it won planning permission

The developer - Redrow - has also been criticised for what has been described as ‘victory flags’ erected on the site behind Butts Road since it won an appeal decision.

The developer had stated on numerous occasions, if it was successful in applying to put 130 homes on its land, which includes the town’s allotments, the 100 or so plots would be transferred to the council to ‘secure it for community use’.

Following the developer’s appeal success last month, Ottery Town Council, who did not recommend approval of the plans, wrote to its land director, Lee Hawker, about the issue.

But he replied saying the land ‘didn’t form part of the planning application in the end’, and the town council would have to continue leasing the allotments from the developer.

The clerk replied saying the council was ‘disappointed’ at this decision, pointing out the developer’s previous promises to gift the allotments to maintain their future benefit for the parish.

Mr Hawker said Redrow, whose 130 homes scheme was rejected by the district council before the decision was overturned by the planning inspector, was ‘equally disappointed by the lack of support’ for transferring the land from Ottery Town Council.

“The securing of the long-term future of the allotments didn’t even merit a mention, and wasn’t considered a benefit of the scheme when discussed at the town council meeting,” he said.

He said Redrow also wrote to the allotment committee to seek its views on the proposals, but received no response, adding ‘on that basis we have decided to continue with the lease’.

At Monday’s town council meeting, mayor Glyn Dobson said he was ‘very disappointed’ in Redrow, adding it would have been wrong of the council to mention the land transfer when members discussed the application.

Councillor Roger Giles called it ‘absolutely deplorable behaviour’, and deputy mayor Ian Holmes said it was ‘underhand’, with the council resolving to take the matter further.

After a resident in nearby Ridgeway complained about Redrow’s ‘victory flags’ on the 130-home site, the matter was referred to the district council’s enforcement officer.

A spokesman said they would be contacting the developer to tell them they need planning permission for them.