Owner of upmarket Alfington B&B wins fight to continue operating

PUBLISHED: 12:00 20 May 2020

The picture of the converted coach house at Alfington House that was shown to councillors.

The picture of the converted coach house at Alfington House that was shown to councillors.


The owner of a converted coach house in Alfington will be allowed to continue using it for bed and breakfast accommodation, despite a recommendation for refusal because of a dangerous junction nearby.

The junction that led to the road safety concerns. Picture: Google MapsThe junction that led to the road safety concerns. Picture: Google Maps

The outbuilding of Alfington House was redeveloped several years ago and was already being advertised on Airbnb, even though a condition of the planning approval granted in 2010 said it should not be used for commercial purposes.

The owner, Stuart Matthews, applied to East Devon District Council to vary that condition, and permission was granted on Tuesday (May 18).

Councillors on the development management committee dismissed the Highways Authority objection that the change of use would lead to more vehicles using the junction where Church Lane meets the B3177 in Alfington.

Devon County Highways argued that the junction has poor visibility in both directions, with emerging vehicles relying on mirrors to see oncoming traffic.

Cllr Olly Davey said that he was initially concerned about the safety aspect, but then looked at the map and saw the road is the only access to around 25 properties, the church, and the village hall.

He added: “If Highways are that concerned about the safety of the junction, then they should put a better speed limit on it, and the idea that holidaymakers will be less familiar and therefore more prone to accidents is specious, as they are more likely to be more careful than locals. I am baffled by the highways objection.”

Cllr Tom Wright said he was at a total loss to understand the argument of increased traffic, given that the Coach House could generate increased traffic for a wide variety of non-planning related reasons.

He said if he had that ‘nice building’, he’d be inundated with cars coming and going bringing grandkids and their friends up and down the road all the time.

“We have no control over who uses that building, so the argument about traffic is nebulous,” he added.

The committee voted by 13 votes to two to grant permission for the use of the house as a B&B, but with a condition to ensure that it could only be used for B&B purposes, or for uses ancillary to the occupation of the main house.

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