Decision on 40 homes deferred

Plans for King Alfred Way

Plans for King Alfred Way - Credit: Archant

Planning chiefs have deferred their decision on a controversial application for 40 homes and a doctors’ surgery in Newton Poppleford over concerns about the ‘pepper-potting’ of ‘affordable’ homes.

East Devon District Council (EDDC) officers will now return to negotiations with developer Cavanna Homes over the placement of 16 ‘affordable’ houses at King Alfred Way.

Once agreed, the authority’s development management committee (DMC) said it could approve the reserved matters application – but concerns remain over the impact on the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

The development has already been accepted in principle, but DMC members refused previous plans setting out the access, layout and appearance of houses last August.

As requested, Cavanna Homes has changed plans to include one-bedroom ‘affordable’ homes. However, it has failed to distribute the total of 16 ‘affordable’ properties throughout the development.

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‘Pepper-potting’ is meant to promote interaction between occupants of ‘affordable’ homes and open market properties – which should be indistinguishable.

It is a policy in EDDC’s soon-to-be adopted Local Plan. Councillor Matt Coppell raised concerns over the need for consistency after DMC refused permission for 45 homes at Ottery St Mary’s Gerway Nurseries site because of a lack of ‘pepper-potting’.

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He said: “We’ve already made the concession of allowing building in the AONB – we shouldn’t make any more concessions.”

The 16 affordable homes consist of two one-bedroom apartments, 10 two-bedroom houses and four three-bedroom properties. This is one single-bedroom property short of the village’s reported needs.

Nearly 200 residents have signed a petition in favour of the new doctors’ surgery, although it cannot be legally secured by planning permission.

Cavanna Homes has now planned two flood attenuation tanks that will be handled by a management company.

Devon County Council voiced no concerns over flooding or access since the new reserved matters application was submitted.

Newton Poppleford and Harpford Parish Council has reiterated its fears over access, the loss of impermeable surfaces and the need for landscaping that is sympathetic with the AONB.

The plans also include a footpath inside the hedge in Farthings Lane. EDDC officers will now negotiate ‘pepper-potting’ with Cavanna Homes. Cllr Mike Allen said once that issue is finalised, the plans should be acceptable.

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