Rejection for Eastfield homes

The 50 house development at West Hill has been roundly rejected by East Devon District Council.

There was a unanimous decision by the Development Management Committee to block the proposal by Blue Cedar Homes to build on the land north of Eastfield, which crucially was outside the development area.

Recommending refusal, Planning Officer, Ed Freeman’s report stated: “There is no material planning reason to depart from the adopted Plan Policy. To do so would undermine the adopted development strategy and result in unplanned and speculative development in the countryside.”

Councillor Ray Bloxham, who sits on the EDDC committee and represents West Hill on Ottery Town Council, said: “It was the right decision, plans were contrary to existing policy and there is no emerging policy to support it.”

The decision was made after nearly 500 objections from residents and local, worried about the countryside development, but the decision also went against the Local Development Framework (LDF), which had set up West Hill as a ‘hub’ for houses to be built. Ottery Town Councillor Claire Wright, who represents West Hill, said: “It was absolutely clear that the cry of outrage over the LDF last autumn strongly influenced today’s decision.”

She said the debate at Tuesday’s meeting was encouraging, with councillors putting little weight to the LDF, as she believed if the application had been approved it would have meant the village, along with others in the district being overbuilt on.

She said: “The EDDC juggernaut, previously thundering down a dark and destructive road, now appears to be turning slowly and heading back towards the light, and hopefully protection of our countryside and wildlife.

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“The people of East Devon love its beautiful countryside and will not tolerate its careless destruction. That should never be forgotten by those who make the decisions.”

The developer, Blue Cedar Homes, may decide to appeal the decisio