Will the council wave through 100 homes on a beauty spot in Exeter three years after it rejected developing the ‘important’ green hills?

Affordable homes are among a development expected to be given the go-ahead on a beauty spot in Exeter – three years after residents protested to protect the green fields with ‘absolutely stunning views’.

Nearly 100 new homes are likely to get the go-ahead on green fields to the north of Exeter when the city council’s planning committee meets next week, writes local democracy reporter Guy Henderson.

Members will see new proposals for 93 homes in fields near Beacon Heath in the Mincinglake and Whipton ward.

Officers are advising them to say yes to the plans subject to conditions.

In October 2021, Exeter City Council voted unanimously to reject plans to build 93 hill top homes at the site.

Council leader Phil Bialyk at the time said: “I am totally committed to saving the hills around Exeter’. He called the site ‘an important amenity space’ adding ‘we have to protect it for the residents of Exeter.’.

When plans for the area off Spruce Close and Celia Crescent first came before the city council in 2021, they prompted angry protests from residents determined to protect the green open space.

Nearly 500 letters of objection were received and the application was turned down by the city council in a unanimous vote.

Developers appealed, and Cllr Naima Allcock (Lab, Mincinglake and Whipton) said at the time: “If we are successful in having this appeal dismissed it will set a new precedent that will prevent further development of the green hills in Mincinglake, Pennsylvania and Pinhoe.”

However, a planning appeal overturned that decision in 2022 and said the homes could go ahead. The planning inspector said Exeter’s need for new homes outweighed other issues.

With the principle of building the homes on the site already agreed, next week’s planning committee meeting will discuss the details. Officers say the latest plans address a number of concerns raised earlier.

More than 30 of the homes will be ‘affordable’.

A report to the meeting says: “Overall, no adverse impacts of this proposal are considered to outweigh the benefits.”

The site is made up of two fields ringed by mature trees and hedges near Pinwood Meadow.

Applicants Edenstone Homes have pledged to create a new valley park area on fields to the north and west of the site.

Controversial plans for 93 hill-top homes on edge of Exeter are rejected over fears for landscape