Controversial plans for 120 new homes in Pinhoe approved

Controversial plans for 120 new homes to be built at the Home Farm development in Pinhoe have cleared their final hurdle.

Exeter City Council initially refused the plan back in January 2014, but suffered defeats when a planning inspector overruled them and allowed an appeal for the site, and then when a High Court judge dismissed their calls for it to be overturned.

Planning permission for the details of the first phase of the development for 30 homes between Bickleigh Close and Church Hill was granted earlier in the year and work has since begun.

Monday night saw councillors on the planning committee grant ‘reserved matters’ approval for the layout, scale, appearance and landscaping for the remainder of the site of 90 further homes.

The application was recommended for approval, and Councillor Emma Morse said that sadly the committee had to go along with it.

She said: “This application is never going to satisfy any of us if we are being brutally honest. It breaks my heart to sit here and vote in a way I have opposed in the past. But I think we are looking for something that we can use to refuse this application, but we then will end up an at appeal that we will lose and have to pay strong costs for our unreasonable behaviour.

“I don’t want to do this and this should be a beautiful green ridge, but that decision was taken away from us and we have to give consent for it. I don’t think the layout is bad. It’s not great, but there is nothing we can refuse it on. We are not making this decision happily.”

Councillor Phil Bialyk, leader of the council, added: “This isn’t what we want to do, but unfortunately we have no option but to sadly support the officers’ recommendation.”

Councillor Yolanda Henson added: “We have refused this every time and I don’t want to support it, but we have to under the law that we have in front of us.”

Concerns had been raised by councillors about the traffic the development would generate, but officers told them that matters of access and highways were not something that could be considered.

The impact on the setting of Listed Buildings also concerned councillors, but the report said that it was not considered that the proposals would have a significant adverse impact on the setting of these listed buildings.

The application was approved by five votes to one, with three abstentions.

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