Decision due on 15-home development in Tipton St John

An impression of what the proposed development at Barton Orchard would look like

An impression of what the proposed development at Barton Orchard would look like - Credit: Archant

Controversial plans for 15 new homes in Tipton St John could be given the final go-ahead this week – and conditions over how eco-friendly the development must be may be relaxed.

The proposals for Barton Orchard would see the properties built on a prominent hill on the edge of the village, on land designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

The plans were originally approved in 2013, despite opposition from villagers and some councillors.

East Devon District Council (EDDC) planning officers are now recommending that the final approval be given for work to begin.

In December, the applicant, Boden Homes Ltd, applied to have the number of ‘affordable’ units on the 6.1-acre site reduced from 10 to eight.

However, in the latest proposals, due to be considered by EDDC next week, this figure has been returned to 10 to comply with the region’s recently adopted Local Plan.

The original plans also involved the development being constructed to a highly sustainable ‘code five’ standard.

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However, in the latest application, Boden Homes is asking that this requirement be scrapped.

But proposals to build the new homes into the hillside, to mitigate the visual impact, still feature.

In a report to EDDC’s development management committee, the authority’s planning officers say that, due to a change in national policy, it would be much more difficult for the council to insist on the ‘code five’ standard.

The report says: “To have delivered a code five development of [15 units] with the proportion of affordable housing being secured would have been a significant achievement.

“To maintain viability on a housing scheme where two thirds of the units are affordable, it is not therefore surprising that the developer has sought to reduce costs somewhere.

“Recognising the increased cost burden that code five places on development, it is not considered that in this instance its retention as a requirement can be maintained whilst still securing the [10 affordable homes] which itself has increased in cost in the last 12 months.”

A decision on the plans will be made on Tuesday (February 16).