councillors are determined to resist a new house building scheme, which they claim could help turn Tavistock into a dormitory town.

They say young families are already being priced out of the town because most new homes are too expensive. Priority should also be given to providing space for new employers, as more workers are forced to commute to Plymouth.

The town council is drawing up a detailed response to the planning inspector who will consider developer Baker Estates’ appeal against a decision to refuse planning permission to build 44 homes and provide 0.76 hectares of commercial land on Plymouth Road. The application for the plan was refused by West Devon Borough Council in 2021.

Tavistock council also opposed the plan, claiming the land should be prioritised for commercial use and any housing should be affordable, as outlined in the borough local plan.

A second plan was approved in principle by the borough council, also for 44 homes, but with an ‘extra care’ home with 60 flats - said to be affordable by Baker.

Tavistock council’s development committee was told at last Tuesday’s meeting that councillors had the right to ‘reinforce’ their original objections for the appeal.

Cllr Paul Ward, town mayor, said: ‘We objected to both plans because they don’t comply with the local plan, which specifies provision of 18.600 square metres of employment land. But they failed to provide this. They also fail to allocate affordable housing. ‘The developer says it cannot afford to put cheaper housing in because it will make the the whole plan non-viable. We need to include fuller evidence for the inspector of the need for affordable homes.’

Cllr Philip Peers, said: ‘I have a contemporary who lives in a housing association house with two bedrooms with two children who have to share a room. There’s limited choice and a dearth of affordable homes for young families for him and others. He also works in Tavistock which offers lower than average wages. He and other families can’t grow up or expand with dignity. We have to do what we can to give people like him more of a viable future in the town.’

Adam Bridgewater, borough councillor and ward member for the application area, told the committee: ‘We must continue to argue on the lack of affordable homes issue. This application area also includes the last employment land available in West Devon.

‘We don’t want Tavistock to become a satellite or dormitory town, with people only able to get work in other towns and not having a realistically affordable long-term future home in Tavistock either. ‘We already have enough new housing to meet need for five years.’

Ursula Mann, committee chairman, is drawing up a Tavistock neighbourhood development plan, which includes an initial survey of residents’ views of priorities in Tavistock. She said the overwhelming concerns were for more affordable homes, with a desire to work locally. She would draw on the draft findings in drawing up the appeal response for the inspector. An ‘affordable’ new house needed to be 50% of its market value.