Town council to fight Ottery housing estate plan

Land oppposite Barrack Farm and the plans for the land at Thorne Farm, opposite Barrack Farm, on Exe

Land oppposite Barrack Farm and the plans for the land at Thorne Farm, opposite Barrack Farm, on Exeter Road, Ottery. Pictures: Google Maps and East Devon District Council - Credit: Archant

Fierce opposition to a planned housing development on land supposedly safeguarded from house-building has been expressed by Ottery town councillors.

They agreed unanimously to object to Devon County Council’s application for the site at Thorne Farm, which residents voted in their Neighbourhood Plan to keep free from housing.

Councillors expressed outrage at the proposal, with one councillor, John Green, saying the county council ‘are holding a revolver to our heads to get us to accept this housing’.

The plan for up to 150 new homes and a primary school was discussed in an extraordinary meeting of the town council held via Zoom on Thursday, September 3.

The school is proposed as a replacement for Tipton St John primary, with the housing being built to pay for the school.

But councillors are furious, and many local residents are also up in arms over the scheme.

Local man Lewis Carr, who joined the meeting, said: “We need to stop this stone dead in the water.

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“The Neighbourhood Plan is there for a reason, it was democratically voted for.”

Councillors also discussed Devon County Council (DCC)’s case for replacing the school in Tipton with one in the proposed location in Ottery.

DCC argues that Tipton school is in a high flood risk area, but Ottery’s mayor Vicky Johns said there have been no floods there in recent years – a point that has been made by many objectors to the plan.

Tipton residents Matt and Sarah Davidson said no impact assessment has been carried out on the effects of the village losing its school.

However, the point of the meeting was to agree on the town council’s reasons for opposing the development on planning grounds.

The town council’s objections include the housing proposal being contrary to the Neighbourhood Plan and the district council’s Local Plan, and the number of proposed new homes being surplus to requirements.

Councillors are also concerned about extra traffic and strain on local services, potential harm to wildlife and natural landscapes, increased pollution, and claims that the development would increase the flood risk to nearby properties.

Councillors voted unanimously to submit these objections, which will be put forward in a written summary for East Devon District Council to consider when deciding whether to approve DCC’s application.