PROPOSALS which could change the face of Hatherleigh were unveiled to residents of the town and the surrounding area last Friday.

The first plan outline for the Hatherleigh Market site by LHC Architects on behalf of the owner of the site, Vicks Auctioneers went on display at Hatherleigh Community Centre.

The emerging proposals include 140 residential units, including 72 terraced houses, 25 detached and semi detached houses and 30 apartments.

They also include a new market square which would become the focal point of civic events, and accommodate the market stalls each week. It would be enclosed by a mix of buildings including housing and a new supermarket. The space would include a market pavilion to provide covered space for the market and potential space for Hatherleigh Town Council and a new cafe.

The development would include 430 parking spaces, including 100 for the new supermarket, and 210 in an overspill car park next to the A386. There wuld be one-and-a-half car park spaces for every new residential unit.

The event was a follow-up to the first exhibition held in July.

Neil Emery, one of the presidents of LHC said: 'The plans have been really developed out of the first consultation. We spent quite a lot of time afterwards dissecting the comments that were made, in the region of 300 different threads of observations.

'Probably the key concern first time was the future of the pannier market, which is staying. People had concerns on how it would be accommodated on the site.

'That was actually our main driver in terms of the layout we have presented.

'We've tried to develop the plan out of the market first, to see how the pannier market itself can have a role in regenerating the centre of Hatherleigh. It's why we have positioned a very big space at the top-end of town, next to the exisiting town square, to accommodate quite easily the pannier market to the level of stalls that are there at peak times during August.

'We'll do the same as we did last time and and take the comments from this consultation and look at them. We will keep talking with West Devon and the town council and other interested groups and stakeholders, and look to see where there are issues of concern and suggestions that come forward that might improve the plan to see what we can do about it.'

But such a major change to the town is causing concern.

In August, residents of Hatherleigh opposed to the development formed a public committee, now called 'Save Hatherleigh'.

The committee had a presence at the consultation event throughout the day, with members encouraging people to raise their concerns with planners, rather than fill in the questionnaires provided.

Chairman of the 'Save Hatherleigh' committee, Neil Price, said: 'We understand that the market needs to evolve but this is revolution. This planned development will inevitably lead to the eventual demise of the Tuesday Market when lots of the traders will lose out.

'The plan seems to close down business and replace them with houses with no concern for the needs of the town and its traditions.'

Cindy Squire is also on the Save Hatherleigh committee. She said: 'I'm actually quite upset by these plans. I can't believe they're still planning to build so many houses in Hatherleigh when nearly everyone at the first consultation wrote we don't want this many.

'It is extremely worrying. We have got a huge, huge problem in Hatherleigh now. There has got to be change, and we know that and accept it. But the two worries are that the market space is not big enough and the housing is too much. I can't believe they haven't listened to us.'

The parish clerk for Hatherleigh, Rosemary Lock, said: 'A number of town councillors attended the consultation event. Having had a few days to look over the plans, councillors discussed the development at their latest meeting on Tuesday evening.'

LHC will review the comments received at the consultation, and share the feedback with Hatherleigh Town Council in January. To see the emerging proposal, visit">