Affordable homes are to be built as part of a new development given the green light for farmland at the edge of Honiton.
More than 100 new homes are to be built in the countryside on the outskirts of Honiton – around 28 affordable – writes local democracy reporter, Guy Henderson.
Although councillors were told the plan ‘ticked all the boxes,’ dozens of objectors tried to get the scheme rejected and people living in a neighbouring static homes development said they would lose their peace and privacy.
However, East Devon District Council’s (EDDC) planning committee was told the need for new homes outweighed any adverse impacts.
Builders Taylor Wimpey proposed to build up to 115 homes with landscaping, public open spaces and children’s play space on agricultural land at Middle Northcote Farm, just off the A30 to the north east of the town.
Councillors agreed on the principle of the project, with details to be considered at a later date. A quarter of the homes are to be ‘affordable’ and the development is considered ‘sustainable.’
Council development manager Wendy Ormsby said: “The benefits of delivering housing significantly outweigh any adverse impacts arising.”
And Chris Dolling of Taylor Wimpey asked: “If you can’t build on such a sustainable location, where can you build?”
Cllr Roy Collins (Liberal, Honiton St Michaels) said he had worked at the farm as a teenager in 1968 and argued that it was a ‘heritage site’ that should not be touched. It was home, he said, to more than 10 species of bat as well as beavers, otters and mink.
“I hope we will turn this down because it is unfair on the people of Honiton,” he said. “It shouldn’t be allowed.”
But Cllr Ian Barlow (Ind, Sidmouth Town) added: “I feel sympathy for Cllr Collins, but in 1968 there were 55 million people in the UK. Now there are 67 million.
“It’s not rocket science. Towns have to grow, and to me this ticks every box.”
After the meeting, a Taylor Wimpey spokesman said the company was pleased to be granted permission, adding: “As well as much needed new homes, 25 per cent of which will be provided as affordable housing for local people, our proposals include areas of open space with biodiversity enhancements and a new children’s natural play area.
“In addition, and if our reserved matters planning application is approved, we will undertake significant improvements to Northcote Road, as well as arranging maintenance of the public open space. We look forward to continuing our engagement with local stakeholders as we prepare our reserved matters planning application in the coming months.”