West Hill scheme for 50 houses set to be refused

THE West Hill development which attracted nearly 500 objections is recommended for refusal by East Devon District Council.

The proposal, for 50 houses on land north of Eastfield, goes up in front of EDDC’s Planning Management Committee next week. The site is on open countryside and falls outside the development boundary for the village, and the recommendation states approving the plans would undermine the adopted development strategy.

Many of the objections to the scheme, proposed by Blue Cedar Homes, is that the Eastfield development could open the door for more building on developer-owned land in the area.

The Ottery Town Councillor for West Hill, Claire Wright, said: “The people are worried, and rightly so, about this setting a precedent for future plans, which is likely to happen, there are already plans in the pipeline to try and build further in West Hill.”

Another ground for refusal is because the proposed site falls outside of the development boundary for the village, it must make provision for 40 per cent of the housing to be affordable, which is not the case in Blue Cedar Homes’ plans.

The report includes reference the 492 letters of objection by residents opposed to development of the Eastfield site, but are not mentioned in influencing the recommendation. Cllr Wright still feels the community is being listened to: “I’m pleased that in the conclusion it does mention the Village Design Statement as it shows there is some weight given to the public concerns about planning. I believe the community need to be in the driving seat, not the developers, the planning process is weighted in favour of the developer.”

The Town Council refused to support the plans when they came before it in July, citing over development of the site which does not conform to design principles and that the plans are contrary to local planning guidance for East Devon. But Cllr Wright is worried that despite the recommendation the plans will eventually be passed on appeal as developers could cite similar schemes which have gone through elsewhere in Devon.

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She said: “On the one hand I welcome the new approach to planning from EDDC as they appear to be listening about the Local Development Framework, but I am worried it won’t be enough to stop applications like this being approved on appeal.”

The decision on plans will be made by EDDC on Tuesday, February 8.