Extra homes rejected by town councillors

By Zoë Uglow   |   Reporter   |
Saturday 5th December 2015 10:07 am
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AN application to increase the number of homes to be built on a site in North Tawton has been rejected by the town council, two years after permission for the development of 61 homes on the same site was granted.

In October 2013, developers Wainhomes Ltd submitted a controversial application to West Devon Borough Council (WDBC) for the construction of a new housing estate at Batheway Fields, west of High Street.

Despite the objection of many members of the public, North Tawton Town Council (NTTC) supported the application because of a medical centre and industrial area (employment land), which were included in the plans.

The developers had also obtained planning permission for roads, footways, parking, landscaping, drainage, open space and allotments.

Wainhomes have since submitted a new application for 28 more residential dwellings — with the employment land no longer part of the scheme.

In a letter written to the planning department of WDBC, one local gentleman said: ‘This application is an additional 28 houses to the Batheway scheme previously approved.

‘At the Batheway site we were expecting allotments and employment land to be made available. I believe this application intends to use land previously earmarked for those uses.

‘The original application got begrudging local support because it offered those useful facilities, especially the prospect of local jobs.

‘North Tawton has been set a target of 137 new homes in the West Devon Our Plan. Already 140 homes have been identified, planned and approved.

‘North Tawton should not get extra homes until the end of the current planning cycle and more importantly find solutions to the car parking problems caused by over 150 homes built since 2001 and the 130 plus coming in the next five years.

‘Wainhomes should focus its efforts on its approved planning application for homes at the North Tawton Woollen Mill and see what help it can provide to ease congestion in North Tawton town centre.’

The loss of employment land, which was a large contributing factor to the plans being accepted during the first application, was discussed among a number of other concerns during a lengthy debate at the town council meeting recently, including possible light and noise pollution.

Councillors agreed that proportionally the application exceeded WDBC’s Our Plan MPR (Minimum Planned Requirement).

Although NTTC unanimously voted against the application, the final decision lies with the borough council.

It was resolved, during the town council meeting, that if WDBC was minded to grant the application it should be asked to consider reducing the number of dwellings from 28 dwellings to 23.

It was also decided to request a deed or variation to the existing section 106 agreements at Batheway and the Woollen Mill, deducting the 23 dwellings from the latter development.

Councillors suggested negotiations with Wainhomes regarding the removal of the planning consent for the 23 units within the listed Woollen Mill building, to enable other interested parties to investigate funding for their feasibility study for alternative use.

Also it was agreed that allotments should be provided pro-rata to the original 61 units.

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