Council to take action over developer’s broken promises at North Tawton

By Sarah Pitt   |   Reporter   |
Monday 1st February 2021 2:23 pm
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Flashback to the official opening of affordable homes on the Batheway Fields estate in North Tawton in December 2017 — West Devon Borough Council is investigating the non-appearance of community facilities on the estate. ()

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West Devon Borough Council is preparing to take enforcement action against a housing developer over its failure to keep promises made to the community of North Tawton.

The council’s hub member for development management Cllr Caroline Mott has promised ‘an extensive review’ of Wainhomes (South West)’s Section 106 agreements to provide facilities and funding as part of the Batheway Fields estate.

The council is looking into complaints from North Tawton Town Council that the developer has failed to provide promised allotments, open space, an employment site, land for a medical centre, bus stops, landscaping, street lighting and a play area.

The agreements were made as part of planning permission for 61 homes on the site off North Street back in 2013.

Houses on the estate, which include 40% affordable homes for rent and shared ownership, are now occupied.

Cllr Barry Ratcliffe, who represents the town on the borough council, had intervened to press for enforcement action after he was contacted by the town council. Speaking at the town council meeting on Monday last week, he said: ‘The town council has put in a great effort to get not only the facililties but also the funding owed [through the Section 106 agreement]. I did last week contact one of the officers at WDBC, and said it was quite disgraceful that North Tawton has been treated in this way.’

Cllr Caroline Mott, West Devon Borough Council’s hub member for development management, confirmed last week that the council was taking action.

‘West Devon Borough Council has been made aware of allegations that Section 106 agreements, made between the council and Wainhomes SW Ltd relating to the Batheway Fields development in North Tawton, have not been delivered upon.

‘At this moment in time we have not issued any notices of any description. However, we have opened cases for investigation looking into compliance with planning conditions and the delivery of Section 106 agreements relating to the development.

‘We will assess whether there has been any breach of planning conditions or of Section 106 obligations. Opening these cases will provide a framework for assessment and allow us to get to the bottom of the matter with an extensive review.’

Mark Harding, land and planning director of Wainhomes SW, said: ‘We are fully aware of this situation. We have been sent a list of obligations by the enforcement officer and we are currently in the process of responding to him with our comments.

‘To date this has only been in email and we have not been served with formal enforcement action. We are therefore working with West Devon to resolve the matters.’

The Batheway Fields estate has caused controversy ever since first mooted as the development site off North Street was good agricultural land and there were also concerns that the number of homes would swamp the community.

Since the houses have been occupied some residents have raised issues regarding build quality. The same developer has permission for a further 65 houses, granted by WDBC’s development management and licensing committee in June 2018 by just one vote.vv

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