Plan for 53-home development in Ottery St Mary is rejected


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Campaigners hail decision a victory for common sense

An ‘inappropriate’ and ‘opportunistic’ 53-home development in Ottery has been rejected following an unprecedented community backlash.

The outline planning application to build on a greenfield site next to Sidmouth Road had received 695 objections from outraged townsfolk, who, with the backing of town councillors, voiced ‘vigorous opposition’ to the proposals.

Campaigners, councillors and members of the community unanimously welcomed the decision by East Devon District Council’s (EDDC) planning officers this week, saying that common sense has prevailed. In its refusal notice, EDDC said concerns over the lack of sustainability, loss of agricultural land and failure to provide a safe pedestrian access all outweighed any economic benefits that would arise from the new homes.

The authority added that the proposed development would generate an increase in pedestrian traffic to the town and Ottery Primary School on a highway lacking adequate footways - with consequent added danger to all road users.

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Gerway Action Group (GAG) was set up to oppose the application. Its chairman, Brian Nelson, said: “We are all absolutely delighted with the fact that common sense has prevailed. I would like to thank EDDC and the town council and all the members of the public who wrote in with their objections. It was a fantastic response from the community. There was nothing to support or find in favour of this application.”

Anne Edwards, of Gerway Lane, thanked Brian and fellow campaigners for all their work in mobilising and informing the community.

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The Gerway Landowners Consortium behind the proposals submitted amended plans early this year in an attempt to overcome objections from the highways authority relating to pedestrian safety.

Measures that included a ‘walking bus’ and a sectioned-off walkway along Sidmouth Road failed to appease concerns, as residents branded the proposals ‘desperate’ and ‘dangerous’. Ottery Town Council again lodged its ‘strong opposition’.

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