'i will appeal homes ruling'
PLANS for 185 homes on land at Bradley Road in Bovey Tracey have been refused.
Teignbridge Council's planing committee made the decision despite the district authorities planning team stating that if the developer, Guy Langworthy, was to appeal, the inspector would have not have strong, sound grounds to turn down the application.
Following the meeting Mr Langworthy said: "For 11 members of the planning committee to completely disregard the advice of their planning officers and of their solicitor seems extraordinary.
"Unfortunately we now have to appeal the decision, which will, no doubt, unnecessarily cost the council and the residents of Teignbridge an awful lot of money at a time when they can least afford it.
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"We can only hope in the future these councillors learn to take more notice of their officers."
Mr Langworthy was looking for approval for a scheme which would have seen the realignment of the B3344.
It also incorporated an outline application for 20 self-build homes.
The contentious application on land dubbed 'the gateway to the moor' received around 800 letters of objection — but almost 400 supporting it.
At the meeting, members of the committee said they were concerned with highways issues and said they believed the area was prone to flooding.
They were also against the plan claiming the site was not included in Teignbridge's proposed local plan, the district's planning blueprint for the next 20 years.
However, Teignbridge Council's development manager, Nick Davies, pointed out that consultees such as the Devon County Council highways and the Environment Agency had no objections and the development was sustainable as it was 15 minutes walk to the town centre.
He also said Teignbridge Council's local plan has yet to be adopted and therefore couldn't be used for grounds for refusal.
"We'd be vulnerable at appeal if we refuse it," said Mr Davies.
Cllr David Corney-Walker and Cllr Mike Haines agreed.
"I can't see any reason for refusal. We'd get a hiding if this comes up for appeal," said Cllr Corney-Walker.
The majority of the council opposed the application, including Bovey Tracey councillor, Cllr Anna Klinkenberg.
She said three other sites had been earmarked for development in the town in the district's proposed local plan and said the town shouldn't 'pay the price' for the plan not yet being adopted.
She was also one of many councillors who said historically the area has flooded, although the Environment Agency said the site wouldn't be a concern.
"Experience and history tell me a different story," she said.
"More wet weather is predicted."
She was backed by Cllr Kelvyn Shantry, who received applause from the public viewing area at the meeting when he gave his views.
"When we went on a site visit, it looked like a marsh and any industrial units there would be an eyesore," he said.
"We have a local plan, we don't need any more houses on top of the 12,400 we've proposed.
"Local councils don't want it and almost 1,000 who objected don't want it."
Steve Moore, from the Environment Agency, who attended the meeting, said he didn't see flooding as a concern and many measures will be put in place to alleviate any water issues.
He also said an area of the site which is prone to flooding will not be developed.
Other councillors, as well as residents were concerned with the increase in traffic on the surrounding road network if the development was built.
Chudleigh Knighton resident Peter Willett spoke against the planning application at the meeting.
"As well as the inappropriateness of the site, there are no plans to solve the problems caused by the extra traffic numbers which will result from the development," he said.
"The have neither been considered during the construction phase when there will be heavy wagons moving material nor in the situation when the development has been completed.
"When the developer has finished we will be left to live with and sort out the problems. It will cost both local authorities and home owners."
Cllr Anna Klinkenberg proposed refusal on three grounds it was not in accordance with the adopted local plan of 1996 and it was not in accordance with the pre-submission of Teignbridge Local Plan 2013-2033.
In total, 19 councillors voted, 11 for refusal, seven for the development and there was one abstention.