Three houses set to be built next to Foxbeare Road at Hele Valley

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Controversial plans for three new houses in Hele have been approved by North Devon Council’s planning committee.

The new detached houses, which are set to be built near Foxbeare Road and Watermouth Road in Ilfracombe, will be single storey at the front and three storey at the back to account for the significant slope of Hele Valley.

Nine people spoke on the plans at the meeting – with eight against – and brought up a number of potential issues with the site and the design of the proposed homes.

David Jones, chairman of the Hele Community Group, said that the plans put before the committee were an ‘untrue representation of the buildings which will need to be built’, and claimed the houses would need to be ‘four or five’ stories high to accommodate the change in elevation. He said that these adjustments would make the houses higher than the existing road.

Mr Jones also spoke on behalf of Sandra Davey, owner of Hele Valley Park, a holiday park which Mr Jones said markets itself as ‘hidden in the valley’.

“This is a multi-million pound business and this will compromise it,” he said.

Other issues which were raised included the stability of the road surface on Foxbeare Road, the potential for land slippage in removing the existing trees and bushes on the site and the access to the site from a road already ‘known to police as a notorious blackspot’.

And ward member Cllr Mike Edmonds said there were local plan issues as well, as the site is designated as employment land – and not residential - in the current plan, although this has not been taken up by developers in the last seven years.

“I think you will find a need for industrial land in Ilfracombe in the next local plan, especially with the 750-house southern extension,” said Cllr Edmonds. “If you go for this you are going against your local plan.”

Cllr Paul Yabsley moved to refuse the plans, saying he was ‘unhappy with this completely’, but councillors voted six to three against.

They then voted six to two in favour of approving the plans, with the condition that the applicants work in full co-operation with ward member Cllr Edmonds.

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