New homes would be ‘out of keeping’ with West Hill

The removal of four oak trees from the site at Cornercroft earlier this year angered some West Hill

The removal of four oak trees from the site at Cornercroft earlier this year angered some West Hill residents - Credit: Archant

A controversial application for three new homes in West Hill has been turned down by East Devon District Council.

The plans for Corner Croft and Wrenswood in Lower Broad Oak Road were described as being ‘out of keeping’ with the village and as ‘overdevelopment’ by members of the development management committee when they met on Tuesday.

Councillors Claire Wright and Tony Howard told the committee that West Hill’s status as a ‘woodland village’ needed to be preserved.

Cllr Wright added: “Replacing the existing house with another would be acceptable, but we are looking at plans for three much larger homes.

“Twenty-six metres of Devon bank hedgerow would be at risk and another oak tree would likely be taken down if the plans are approved.”

The applicant, Mr David Crocker, said that he was passionate about the village, having lived there for nine years.

“I’m not some outside developer who doesn’t care about West Hill,” he added.

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“We are replacing a run down bungalow that has overgrown grounds with houses that can be lived in by families.

“We have worked diligently with the planners throughout the process and believe the application to be appropriate to the area.”

But members voted nine to four against the plans, citing the scale and appearance of the development as reasons for their refusal.

The application had come previously under fire from West Hill residents and councillors, who were unhappy with the ring-barking and subsequent removal of four oaks from the site earlier this year.

The trees were not protected by any legal preservation order, but town councillors Jo Talbot and John Harding warned the committee that a go-ahead for the plans could set a dangerous precedent.

Cllr Harding added: “If approved, this will send a clear statement to developers that they should remove trees or Devon banks immediately before putting in a planning application.”