TOWN councillors in Tavistock have complained that their views have been ignored after a major housing development for 250 homes was nodded through by the borough council in lockdown.

The town council’s development management and licensing committee is writing to West Devon Borough Council to ask why the application to build on land opposite the Bishopsmead estate had not been referred to WDBC development management and licensing committee to address its concerns about ‘totally inadequte infrastructure’ in terms of schools and roads.

Linden Homes’ plan for the houses and 18,600 square metres of space for light industry on fields opposite the Bishopsmead estate was granted outline planning permission by Patrick Whymer, head of development management practice on June 18, acting on delegated powers.

Paul Ward, chair of Tavistock Town Council’s development management and licensing committee, told fellow councillors on Tuesday last week (June 30) that he was ‘disappointed’ with the decision. ‘From a personal point of view I was disappointed to learn of it first of all from the front page of the local newspaper.

‘Secondly, I was disappointed that approval had been granted under delegated authority for 250 houses and 18,600 square metres of employment land which I would have thought wouldn’t have happened with such a big application.’

Cllr Graham Parker said he wanted to assure the public he had opposed the application when he was ward member on WDBC up until May 2019, along with his fellow ward member Cllr Jess Evans.

‘Highway safety on Plymouth Road is totally unsatisfactory in our view and the site is incapable of being developed for 18,600 square metres of employment land. It is just a physical fact,’ he said. ‘More than anything, though, we were concerned at the completely inadequate provisision for primary and secondary education in Tavistock.’

Councillor Ursula Mann said she was particularly worried about the impact on the town’s schools.

‘We are representing the view of the town as to how a new neighbourhood could be integrated in a postive way and I’m really really disappointed that the we didn’t get the opportunity to put our case to the developer in a way we could work with them,’ she said.

‘We all know this is going to happen but the points we raised were about things that could be done to make it work better. ‘I’m really concerned too about the Section 106 funding for education and I think this is a huge problem that is building in Tavistock and we really need West Devon [Borough Council] to lead on it.’

In objecting to the application, town councillors said that Whitchurch Primary School, the nearest to the development, did not have the capacty to accommodate all the children who would come to live on the estate.

However, WDBC gave the green light after hearing that the developer would pay just under £400,000 towards primary school and early years education in the Tavistock area.

The greenfield site is already included in the Joint Local Plan, the blueprint for development up until 2034.