Plans to build as many as 260 homes on the edge of Bideford have been refused by Torridge District Council’s plans committee.

The outline application from Gladman Developments Ltd for land north of Abbotsham Road and adjacent to Londonderry Estate was discussed by councillors at a meeting on Thursday.

After a debate lasting nearly two hours – including a 25 minute adjournment where councillors were briefed with legal advice – a motion to refuse the development was carried by six votes to two.

With Torridge and North Devon set to adopt their joint local plan later this month, councillors were unmoved by the application, with the land not included in the new policy.

Because the committee voted against the planning officer’s recommendation of approval, the committee will have an extraordinary meeting to hear an implications report and finalise their decision before the local plan is adopted.

Councillor Peter Christie moved for refusal, highlighting issues with sustainability, ecology and environment as well as flood risks.

He was also dismayed the application was being heard so close to the local plan’s adoption.

“We’ve spent years getting the local plan ready and we needed to find 4,000 new homes for Bideford.

“It’s been very contentious where to put them and yet here we have a very late application, weeks before the plan is adopted.

“I’m afraid it’s just not acceptable.

“It’s not in the development boundary and you have to ask why wasn’t it – because it squeezes right up to the A39.

“Bideford is no longer a normal town. We’ve been squeezed out like a toothpaste tube – right out across the land.

“I’m not going to support this

As well as up to 260 homes surrounding woodland in the middle of the site, the development would have included works to widen Abbotsham Road to provide access to the site.

Part of those works included the option to turn Osborne Lane, also known as Scratchface Lane, into a cycleway.

The development was also scheduled to contributed £2.71m towards education, road improvements, sport pitches and a community centre.

The Gazette has approached Gladman Development for comment.