Doubts over plan to build 250 homes at Penns Mount
THE future of a plan to build 250 homes in Kingsteignton is shrouded in doubt.
The battle over whether Penns Mount will be developed is set to rumble on after the plan was deferred by Teignbridge councillors and, little more than 24 hours later, moves were made to remove the site from a long-term planning vision.
Councillors will now consider the plan further before its future can be assured.
After the meeting the developer, Exeter-based Eagle One Homes, said it was disappointed with the decision.
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Eagle One Homes lodged plans with Teignbridge District Council for 250 homes, a community orchard and public park on the 27-acre site off the A380.
The proposal — which attracted 79 objections and one of support — went to the council's planning committee on Monday with an officer recommendation of approval.
Former Kingsteignton mayor Beryl Austen branded the plan 'premature and ill-conceived'.
Traffic congestion and highways access problems were a concern locally, she said, and it preempted the emerging Plan Teignbridge, the council's 20-year vision for planning growth.
Kingsteignton Cllr Joan Lambert added: "It's a hillside for God's sake. It's ridiculous. Come on, get a grip. Let's look at this again."
Legal and planning officers urged caution, saying there were no formal objections from statutory consultees including the highways authority and a decision of refusal could leave the authority vulnerable to a planning appeal — potentially costing the taxpayer thousands of pounds.
"We won't be able to defend refusal," they said.
Committee chairman Cllr Humphrey Clemens said: "This will be very difficult for us to defend at appeal. All the consultees are generally in favour."
The committee voted in favour of deferring the plan, pending further talks on highway matters and the following day's discussion of the site at the authority's overview and scrutiny committee meeting.
At that meeting Cllr Austen secured a recommendation to take Penns Mount out of Plan Teignbridge, the document which guides future development by allocating specific sites for future needs including housing, employment, roads and schools.
Currently Teignbridge is unable to demonstrate a five-year supply of housing sites and does not have an up-to-date Local Plan.
Cllr Austen argued the development would be a detrimental impact on the Teign Estuary, there were more suitable sites in Kingsteignton — although she failed to put forward alternatives — and that previous plans to build on Penns Mount had been thrown out.
Spatial planning manager Simon Thornley said: "There are no other suitable sites in Kingsteignton. Assessments show the impact would not be as significant as has been suggested. It is a surprisingly well hidden site."
Cllr Austen's recommendations will go before the executive next Thursday. The planning committee will meet again next month.
Speaking yesterday Andrew Rowe, land manager at Eagle One Homes said: "We were disappointed that members felt unable to reach a positive decision given the site's status as one of the council's preferred options to meet housing need in the area, the fact that no technical objections were raised and the recommendation for approval.
"However, we understand the reasons for the deferral and hope these will be addressed ahead of the next planning committee, so members feel able to support their officer's recommendation."