Wednesday, October 9, 2013
Councillors vote to approve plans after heated exchange
Controversial outline plans for 53 new homes at Allenstyle in Yelland have been given conditional approval by North Devon Council’s planning committee.
The committee approved the plans by eight votes to three, on the basis that the plans would be revised to include only one and one and a half storey properties, which would be in-keeping with the character of the current houses at Allenstyle and would include a larger proportion of affordable housing.
Revised plans were put before the committee in August after they refused permission for a similar development from applicant Len Tanner in February, which was unsuccessfully appealed in June. The councillors decided that it would be beneficial to first undertake a site visit to better grasp the possible visual and infrastructure impacts of a new housing development.
Planning applications have been rejected on the site, which neighbours the quiet community of mainly older residents, on seven occasions since 1974.
Following the site visit on Tuesday, where residents of the Allenstyle estate protested the tabled plans, the committee discussed the plans in greater depth on Wednesday.
Many of the councillors’ issues with moving to approve or refuse the application came from the current lack of a local plan, which is currently only a draft in North Devon and Torridge, and the fact that North Devon does not have an established 5-year housing plan.
Allenstyle residents came out in force to air their views, and were supported by Fremington parish council chairman Rodney Cann and Cllr Frank Biederman.
Cllr Biederman said: “I know we need affordable housing but they need to be in the right place.
“Why bother with a planning committee if we are not allowed to take public opinion into account?”
Allenstyle resident Patricia Calverley, who spoke passionately during the debate, said on the decision: “All that comes into it in the end is how much this will cost the council.
“There’s disabled and elderly people on Allenstyle and you can’t put a cost on people’s way of life.”