Thursday, February 21, 2013
Goodleigh Road residents celebrate planning appeal victory ‘against the odds’.
THE Planning Inspectorate has upheld a decision by North Devon Council to refuse planning permission for 182 new homes at Goodleigh Road in Barnstaple.
An appeal by Wainhomes (South West) Holdings Ltd was rejected on Monday following an inquiry held last month.
Government inspector Jessica Graham dismissed the appeal due to access arrangements and the proposed development’s impact on the character, services and infrastructure of the surrounding area, including Gorwell House and Tollgate Cottage.
The proposal, which included roads, sewers, landscaping, parking, garages and associated works, also raised concerns about the provision of affordable housing and the five-year supply of housing land by the council.
The inspector said there are a number of benefits that weighed in favour of the proposed development, including ‘much-needed affordable housing’.
But she concluded that it would cause ‘serious harm’ to the landscape setting of the town.
She said: “I consider that the harm caused to the landscape setting of Barnstaple, and to Gorwell House, would be sufficient to significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits of the proposed development.”
In December, local people made placards and staged a protest against plans for the 24-acre greenfield site.
Ken Andrew, whose property would have been flanked by new houses on three sides had the plans been given permission, said he was ‘delighted’ with the inspector’s decision.
“I’ve lived here for 20 years and this development would have spoiled the view not just for us, but for North Devon as well,” he said.
Daughter Katrina Andrew, who also lives at the family home at Wellclose House, added: “I’m absolutely thrilled; everyone said all the odds were stacked against us but we did it.
“We would have been surrounded on three sides and it would have spoilt the downward rim of the Barnstaple basin.
“The development would have also ruined the aspect of Gorwell House and Tollgate Cottage, both listed buildings that were originally built in a country setting.
“It would have taken away their only view of the countryside and totally destroyed the setting.
“The impact on wildlife and traffic were also things we were very concerned with.”
Devon county councillor for the area, Cllr Brian Greenslade, said: “I am delighted the inspector has upheld the refusal of planning permission by North Devon Council and also by Devon County Council.
“I have supported the residents on this matter including attending the county council planning committee where members refused the application on highways grounds.
“Well done to the residents who have campaigned against this wholly unsuitable application.”
North Devon councillor Lesley Brown added: “The residents deserve real credit as they stuck with this one through and through.
“This is a good result for Barnstaple; we are all aware that we need more affordable housing but we just felt that this proposal wasn’t in the right place.”
A spokesperson for Wainhomes said the firm did not want comment.