New homes plan for West Hill

NEW plans for homes in West Hill are set to reignite a debate on ‘low-cost’ housing in the Ottery parish.

Proposals for 15 dwellings in the woodland village - 66per cent of which will be ‘affordable’ – were unveiled as some existing residents claim they are “under siege” from would-be developers.

Landowner Paul Gardner has told neighbours he is “happy” for his plot at Westhayes, near Eastfield, to be utilised for the project and said: “I know development is a contentious issue, but I feel there is a need for these types of schemes.”

Mr Gardner added the results of a housing needs survey – also revealed at an exhibition and consultation in the village hall on Friday afternoon from 4pm to 6pm – back up the bid.

“A major element of this need centred on affordable housing, especially in rural areas,” Mr Gardner told nearby householders in a letter.

“This will maintain our villages’ viability and offer housing to those necessary to the economy.

“This housing is vital to those people vital for the functioning of our community, but in difficulty with the current state of house prices. It will also allow our young people to remain in the community where they grew up.

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“Great consideration has been given to make a minimal impact to all our neighbours in Eastfield.

“The positioning of proposed houses will not in any way be intrusive.”

Mr Gardner said 10 of the 15 proposed homes will be ‘affordable’ and he’d been approached by a firm with a view to development of his land. One resident in Eastfield, who wanted to remain anonymous, told the Herald: “We feel under siege. Every five minutes someone wants to build houses near us.”

Homeowners in the area also learnt this week of the decision-day when developer Blue Cedar Homes will bid to overturn a decision to refuse planning permission for 50 dwellings on land north of Eastfield.

More than 400 people objected to original proposals – which featured no ‘affordable’ element.

The Planning Inspectorate will stage a public inquiry at Sidmouth Town Council offices on October 18.