Plans for development in heart of Torrington approved by councillors

The homes are set to be built on land off South Street car park in Torrington.

The homes are set to be built on land off South Street car park in Torrington. - Credit: Matt Smart

Plans for a nine-home housing development in the heart of Torrington have been approved.

Torridge District Council’s (TDC) plans committee narrowly voted through the application for homes off South Street car park when it met on Thursday (December 3).

The site was earmarked for a Waitrose store in 2015 and was approved by councillors before the supermarket pulled out of the project.

The application from Pearce Construction consists of nine homes and provision for 14 car parking spaces, with access from South Street and through the car park.

Councillors were divided on the plans, which were approved by five votes to four.

Moving approval, plans committee chairman, Councillor Chris Leather, said the application was ‘the best that can be achieved’ for the site.

He said: “For me, Waitrose would have had far more of a detrimental effect than this proposed development in front of us now.

“I think it achieved planning permission because of the perceived benefit but it was a lot further forward, it would have had far more visual impact than this.

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“The site itself is just an overgrown jungle now. It’s an eyesore at the end of the car park as far as I can see.”

One of the those to vote in favour of the application was Cllr Peter Watson, who sat on the committee which approved the Waitrose store in 2015.

He said: “These houses, in my opinion, will look much better than a Waitrose store, and the principal of development is already there.”

However, some councillors felt the development had too many houses, and local resident Matt Whittaker claimed it would affect solar panels installed at his home and business to make it carbon neutral.

Cllr Ruth Craigie said: “This is an over development of the site. It’s a very, very beautiful area, and we have to value and protect areas like that. A small development of bungalows would be much more appropriate.

“Developers just want to make profit, that is their motivation. We don’t have to go along with what developers want to do. In this particular case I want to say no.”

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