Locals out in force to oppose 130-home plan

An application to build 130 homes on a Greenfield site in Ottery was labelled ‘sacrilegious’ by a councillor as it was slammed by residents.

Redrow Homes’ plan to create a new estate behind Butts Road had received nearly 300 letters of objection before it went in front of Ottery Town Council on Tuesday.

Around 100 locals turned out at Ottery Football Club to object to the plans, which include up to 52 affordable homes and provision for public open space at the five and a half acre site.

Many criticised the proposal, saying it was on the wrong side of town, and were worried about traffic, flooding and building outside Ottery’s boundary for development.

One resident said building on the grade two agricultural land would mean losing one of Ottery’s most valuable assets.

The councillors agreed with many of the public comments, Claire Wright saying with worries over food security building on farmable land was ‘sacrilegious’.

Mayor Glyn Dobson said he hoped to find benefits in the scheme, but said beyond a possible cash boost for The King’s School it had very few merits.

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He said he was unable to support it, as did Councillor Paul Lewis, who said despite the 52 affordable homes on offer, which Ottery needs, it was the wrong site to build them.

Councillor Roger Giles agreed, adding: “This is the crux of the matter; the development is in the wrong place.”

He said the application contained many inaccuracies, and reiterated concerns about an increase in traffic problems at nearby North Street if the houses went ahead.

Councillor Ian Holmes proposed the council did not support the scheme based on the reasons given in the meeting, which was then unanimously agreed by the committee.

Richard North from Protect Ottery St Mary, which has campaigned against the plans, said afterwards the outcome was exactly what the group wanted.

He said the meeting and its turnout were very heartening, but Mr North, who lives on Butts Road, warned ‘there are more steps to come’.

The application will now go to East Devon District Council for a final decision.

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