Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Councillors raised objections to the development at Moreton Park Road but it was still passed with a majority of six votes to three.
A PLANNING application for 232 new houses on land at Moreton Park in Bideford has been approved despite protests from several councillors.
The application submitted by Redrow Homes Ltd originally included plans for The Bridge Centre, a community centre proposed by the charity Wings South West.
In September, the community centre element was removed from the application after planning officers raised concerns over the viability of the charity’s fundraising plans.
Of the 232 houses, 32 would be affordable, and the plans also included a 59-unit extra care home, public open space and a ‘multi use sports facility’
Councillors at Torridge Dstrict Council’s planning committee on Thursday agreed that as part of the approval, Wings could submit an application within a certain time frame to build the Bridge Centre on the site set aside for the sports fields.
Dave Green, Torridge District Council’s development enabling manager, said the council was still in discussion with Wings about submitting an application.
He said: “I don’t want members to think officers are trying to manipulate Wings.
“Without Redrow developing the site we won’t have any chance of a proposal being developed on this land.
“We are trying to facilitate it so Wings have time to come up with the scheme; we think that can happen but we need some security on that so the sports facility is the fall back.
“If councillors refuse the plan today and it goes to appeal it’s likely we will lose that chance for Wings.”
But Councillor Chris Leather said the council was going about the process the wrong way.
“The fall back should be if the community building doesn’t happen, that land should report back to Torridge District Council; that’s the way it ought to be,” he said.
“That’s the way it was going to be when Redrow were told if you don’t take the community centre out we’ll have to recommend refusal.
“We missed the boat with Londonderry and it’s about time this council started being more proactive.
“Officers have a great deal to say, some of the public feel too much on occasions.”
Other complaints were made by councillors about the lack of changing facilities in the sporting element of the plan, and the look of the 50-bed care home.
Councillor Leather called it a “close care monstrosity which looks like a barracks block” and other councillors nodded in agreement.
Thomas Carrick, a resident of Laurel Avenue, spokes against the proposal, claiming there was no need for a care facility in that area.
He said: “The road is too narrow to deal with traffic; the schools are filled to their maximum capacity and unable to deal with any more pupils.
“The extra care home is not required, the parking is not adequate and with the present employment levels, where will the employment come from for the residents of this development?”
Despite objections, councillors approved the planning application with a majority of six votes to three.