A PROPERTY developer is pressing ahead with proposals for 20 homes on a greenfield site that have attracted fierce opposition in Lamerton.

Baker Estates has lodged an appeal to the Government’s Planning Inspectorate against West Devon Borough Council’s refusal of its application to build 20 houses on a greenfield site behind The Farriers. WDBC turned the application down in June after receiving 26 letters of objection from residents. Borough councillor Neil Jory, who represents the village, spoke out against it, saying it does not contain enough affordable housing and the need for new homes was already being met in the village.

A representative of Baker Estates told Lamerton Parish Council earlier this month that the company was pressing ahead with its plans.

However one resident who was in the audience told the Times that there was still huge opposition to the proposals. The developer’s proposal would involve creating two new lanes off the site, one onto the busy B3362 and the other which meets the B3362 at a crossroads beside the Blacksmiths Arms.

Another resident who lives on the busy road, said the proposed development would exacerbate traffic problems at an already dangerous junction. ‘We have witnessed multiple accidents and multiple near misses. Some of these accidents were reported but most not,’ she said, writing to WDBC to object to the original proposals. She added: ‘Extreme caution is needed to navigate the blind junction both on foot and in a vehicle – simply put any increase in traffic or footfall will place more opportunity for a major accident to occur and we can be sure of this as we witness it daily. To suggest that children of primary school age should cross a road and notoriously dangerous junction with the mere usage of a ‘dropped kerb’ on the footpath is ludicrous and beyond belief.’

Speaking to the Times this week, Graham Hutton, development director at Baker Estates, said he was ‘surprised’ that the development had been turned down by WDBC. ‘We have been consulting with the parish and neighbourhood plan group for a couple of years now on this scheme, but whilst the parish agree on the need for new homes, they, perhaps understandably, find it difficult to agree where they should be built, how many and what type. This site had a recommendation for approval from the relevant officers at WDBC and all the specialist consultees, such as the Environment Agency and Devon County Council highways. We were surprised therefore that it was refused particularly with such little debate about the relative merits of the proposal.

‘The reason we have chosen to submit an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate is simply that the development complies with all WDBC planning policies and the local plan and we believe, as would its officers, that it has been refused incorrectly.

‘We continue to respect the views of the parish and community which is why we wanted to attend the recent meeting to explain our decision in person. Planning appeals can take many months to be determined but if the appeal is allowed, we will look forward to working constructively with the community to design a detailed scheme that fulfils the identified housing need.’