A VILLAGE has declared a victory for its Neighbourhood Plan after a planning inspector ruled that a developer wanting to build 31 houses in Bere Alston must observe its wishes over access.

Bere Ferrers Parish Council chairman Cllr Peter Crozier said the decision would encourage others to create a Neighbourhood Plan for their village or town, as it showed the value of them.

The appeal has effectively decided that developer Burrington Estates has to go back to the drawing board and work with the parish and borough council to achieve access to the site from Bedford Street, the B3257.

The developer had wanted to put the main access onto Woolacombe Road, but the parish council said this would push more traffic onto the road’s already dangerous junctions with The Down and Fore Street. One objector pointed to the amount of farm traffic which use it.

Cllr Crozier, who is also a borough councillor for Bere Ferrers ward, said: ‘It is a big relief to us that the Neighbourhood Plan has stood the ultimate test and the planning inspector saw that we had a valid point and it is encouraging to all other parish councils to have a parish plan in order to try and get the development they want rather than what the developers want.’

The Bere Ferrers Neighbourhood Plan states that the site should only have an access onto Woolacombe Road if it was ‘not feasible’ to build one on Bedford Street, to the north of the site. In their appeal against West Devon Borough Council’s refusal of application 3424/19/FUL, developer Burrington Estates argued that it was indeed ‘not feasible’ to build the new access onto Bedford Street.

However, planning inspector Alison Fish rejected this, saying that ‘nothing before me suggests that developing the site with an access onto the B3257 would not be achievable’.

The principle of 31 homes being built on the site has already been established in planning blueprints the Plymouth and South West Devon Joint Local Plan as well as the Bere Ferrers Neighbourhood Plan. However the developer has yet to obtain planning permission for the detail, including access.

A spokesperson for Burrington Estates has said it will go back to ‘further examine’ the issue of access.

‘It’s always disappointing when council officers work with an applicant on an allocated housing site and recommend a planning application for approval only for members to then refuse it.

In this instance we will be reviewing the appeal decision notice and seeking to engage with the parish council to further examine if an access from the B3257 is feasible in that it can be achieved without ransom from third parties, is suitably safe for vehicle movements and does not create unacceptable landscape impact.’