A plan for 31 homes in Bere Alston which was turned down five years ago has now been approved, writes Alison Stephenson.

Burrington Homes was given the thumbs up for its scheme north of Woolacombe Road despite concerns over access.

Planning officers recommended West Devon Borough Council supports the scheme as they said it had been proved an entrance off a main road was not feasible.

The access will be off Woolacombe Road, the developer’s favoured route,  which is opposed by villagers and local councillors.

Bere Ferrers councillor Isabel Saxby (Lab) said the road has two blind corners and there had been frequent accidents there, one of which resulted in someone being paralysed.

She said creating a modern junction on the main road to the village (the B3257) rather than using one “made for horse and cart” would make more sense.

Cllr Ric Cheadle (Ind, Buckland Monachorum) said the application appeared to be pretty much identical to one submitted in 2019 which was refused by planners and then dismissed on appeal because of the access road issue.

He said at the time officers regretted there was not quite enough affordable homes – slightly less than 30 per cent of the scheme, the gardens were not quite the size they should be and the public open space was not quite as good as it should be.

But officers said no scheme was perfect and they had worked with the applicants to get the best they could for the location.

They said Burrington Homes had approached Bere Alston Bowling Club, next to the proposed development, to see if it would support a shared access off the B3257 but the club felt it would impact its business.

To create the visibility needed for the road, it would mean encroaching on the garden of a neighbouring property, which was unacceptable to the owner.

Twenty-six letters of objection were received saying concerns over the access road had not been addressed, the site was cramped, the gardens small and the design was out of keeping with the character of the village.

As part of the plan, Burrington Homes will contribute around £45,000 towards sport and play facilities in the village and £24,000 towards secondary school transport.

They also agreed to give £5,000 towards investigating an extension of a 30mph speed limit on the B3257.

The ten per cent of biodiversity net gain which is mandatory for all new developments will be provided partly on site and partly somewhere else.