Inquiry into 50 home plan rejection in West Hill

Controversial plans to erect 50 homes in West Hill are back on the table after Blue Cedar Homes lodged an appeal with the Planning Inspectorate.

A public inquiry will now be held into the proposal to put 20 age restricted houses and 30 market value houses on the land north of Eastfield.

The development was roundly rejected by East Devon District Council (EDDC) after a unanimous decision by its development management committee to block the proposal in February, after hundreds of complaints were submitted.

But in a document sent to the Planning Inspectorate the owners of the land set out eight reasons why they think the decision should be reversed.

The central issue many locals had with the plans was the land falls outside the village’s ‘built-up area boundary’, and residents feared allowing development would set a dangerous precedent for more house building spreading out and around West Hill.

But the applicant says they will prove the proposal is compliant with the ‘development plan’ and the ‘spatial vision for the area (in so far as one exists)’.

The appeal document says EDDC cannot demonstrate a five-year supply of deliverable residential land, and will have a shortfall in the ‘Exeter Housing Market Area’, which it says West Hill falls in to, giving credence to the plans.

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It goes on to say they will prove the proposal is compliant with all developments plans, is sustainable and has a satisfactory level of affordable housing provision.

The applicant has asked for two days to be set aside for the public inquiry, the date and venue of which has not been decided, and will call two witnesses to speak.

Nearly 150 people packed West Hill Village Hall last summer to urge Ottery Town council to oppose Blue Cedar Homes’ plans, who added their voice to the county highways experts, the Environment Agency, and South West Water in telling district planning chiefs to turn the scheme down.

More than 400 letters of complaint were lodged with EDDC, and the Eastfield proposals garnered more objections than both the bids by Tesco and Sainsbury’s to put supermarkets in Ottery added together.