Larkbear homes plan ‘may still be stopped’ says Tory candidate

Plans for a 820-home development at Larkbear could be 'called in' by Eric Pickles. Plans for a 820-home development at Larkbear could be 'called in' by Eric Pickles.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014
3:25 PM

Barnstaple housing scheme referred to Secretary of State Eric Pickles.

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Plans for a 820-home development at Larkbear could be 'called in' by Eric Pickles.Plans for a 820-home development at Larkbear could be 'called in' by Eric Pickles.

A DECISION to approve planning permission for more than 800 new houses on the outskirts Barnstaple could be reviewed by the Secretary of State.

The Larkbear development, between Lake and Sticklepath, was approved by North Devon Council last autumn, despite opposition from local residents.

Conservative Parliamentary candidate Peter Heaton-Jones and members of the Larkbear Action Group wrote to the planning minister Nick Boles, asking for the decision to be reviewed.

Mr Heaton-Jones said: “We have now received replies saying that the minister has contacted the council, and that the council intends to refer the planning application to the Secretary of State, Eric Pickles.

“Mr Pickles may then decide to ‘call it in’, which means he will make his own decision over whether or not the development should go ahead.

“This is a small but significant step in a very long process.

“What has been approved is simply wrong in that area, so I hope the Secretary of State does decide to call it in and review this decision,” he added.

But Kate Little, the council’s joint head of strategic development and planning, said the council has always intended to refer the application to the Department for Communities and Local Government, as it was ‘simply good practice to do so’.

“We are not legally required to, under the regulations, because the size of the application doesn’t meet the threshold for when applications would automatically go to the DCLG.

“However, it was always our intention to refer this specific application to the Secretary of State, so the community can see the process is transparent.”

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