Affordable homes are among 180 new properties agreed for land between an East Devon village and Cranbrook

Around 20 affordable homes are to be built on the outskirts of a village in East Devon as the district’s newest town continues to grow.

Up to 180 new homes will be built near Rockbeare as part of the wider Cranbrook development, writes local democracy reporter Ollie Heptinstall.

East Devon councillors last month approved the outline plan, for land west of Gribble Lane and south of London Road, at a planning meeting.

Affordable housing will account for 15 per cent of the homes (classed as up to 80 per cent of market rates), and four per cent will be custom or self-build plots.

The development includes an adjoining piece of land to be used as natural green space, while all other matters will be considered as part of a detailed ‘reserved matters’ application at a later date.

Approval was given despite more than 100 public objections, as well as from Rockbeare and Whimple parish councils.

It was suggested the development contravenes the local plan and Rockbeare Neighbourhood Plan, that Cranbrook was originally planned with no building south of the former A30 (London Road), and it would have an adverse impact on wildlife.

Others suggested it would have a “detrimental impact on the rural character of the area,” cause greater pressure on local public services, go against efforts to reduce climate change, and lead to a loss of agricultural land.

However, subject to a number of conditions, planning officers recommended approval, deciding it would be an “attractive and legible development, which would integrate well with the natural environment within the site and beyond.”

Councillor Mike Howe (Independent, Clyst Valley) agreed, stating: “Our policies here and now dictate the Cranbrook Masterplan overrides the neighbourhood plan of Rockbeare. It’s the newer document and, as such, it has prominence.”

“When you add that to the fact we still don’t have a five-year housing land supply and, to be frank, this looks – I know it’s indicative and we’ve got reserved matters [to come]– like a lovely scheme. And this is the type of scheme we should be having.”

The planning committee, who met in July, voted to approve the plan by eight votes to three.

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