Controversial affordable home scheme approved
Plans to build 15 new homes in Tipton St John have been approved by district planners.
The controversial scheme will see the homes – ten of which will be affordable - built on an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) at Barton Orchard.
It was approved by the narrowest of margins at a district planning meeting when, with six councillors for and six against the plan, development management chairman Mark Williamson used his casting vote to grant approval.
It was a disappointing result for villagers who attended the meeting to protest against the scheme, and for Ottery Rural ward district councillors who, along with villagers had spoken out against it.
Around 80 public objections were also submitted, although Ottery Town Council narrowly voted to support the plan after it had been revised to include more low-cost housing.
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Among villagers’ concerns were potential traffic and parking problems, the high visibility of the field from the village, and an alleged flood risk.
It was also pointed out that similar, larger schemes in Tipton and nearby West Hill had recently been refused.
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Councillor Tony Howard said: “This plan has created a lot of uniformity in objection.
“The location is considered unsuitable, and there are other options in the village and parish.”
Councillor Claire Wright, who handed in a petition of 175 names against the plan, said: “The national planning policy framework states development in AONBs should be refused unless it’s in the public interest or there are exceptional circumstances, and I don’t think that’s the case here.
“Tipton residents support affordable housing, but don’t want it on the field that’s most prominent in the village.”
However, when the committee debated the plan, some councillors felt that the village’s need for affordable housing outweighed villagers’ concerns.
Councillor David Atkins said: “I know a few young people in Tipton, and at least three of them have said to me “we’re desperate to stay in our parish”. I feel even though it’s an AONB it’s still very acceptable for development.”
Councillor Vivien Duval-Steer said: “We’ve got to keep communities balanced with young and elderly, and I support this to ensure a flow-through of young families.”
The plan was subsequently approved in line with planning officers’ recommendations.