A second day and another 10 hours was needed for a Government planning inspector to hear the full details of the proposals for 55 homes at South Park in Braunton

The appeal hearing for Braunton's South Park planning application ran to a marathon 10 hours on Monday.

The second sitting of the hearing, continued following a full day on July 11, was held at Braunton Academy's Isaac Hall with more than 100 residents in attendance.

It continued into the late evening and then Government inspector Thomas Bristow made a site visit to South Park. He was also scheduled to make a morning site visit to consider landscape and traffic issues.

Chichester Homes is appealing against North Devon Council's decision to refuse proposals for 55 homes on a green field site on the outskirts of the village.

Opposition to the scheme included worries about damage to the environment and character of Braunton.

Traffic was a major issue and residents and business representatives talked about the effect of more traffic congestion in the centre of the village.

Concerns over flooding, drainage and the impact on local schools were also aired.

Opposition to the proposals has been led by the Love Braunton group. Chairman David Relph stressed the strength of feeling in the village and afterwards claimed residents were 'bitterly disappointed' with the contribution from the district council.

Mr Relph said: "We would have expected more support in pointing out to the inspector the key issues and problems with this proposal.

"We have done our best to represent the people of Braunton. Whilst we think some relevant material was left out of the appeal and made representations to that regard, we are grateful for the professional, open and respectful way that the appeal was conducted by the Inspector.

"We believe in the planned growth in communities and hope to work closely with residents to help shape this across the whole of the Braunton area. The people who live in communities should be able to influence how they develop - this is only the start."

New evidence could not be heard at appeal stage

Responding to the claims about its lack of contribution, a council statement said planning officers had met with Love Braunton members before the hearing and explained the procedures the council had to follow. They said its case had to be based on the reasons for the original application refusal, not to raise any additional concerns at the hearing stage.

But is said officers had made it clear to the inspector the planning committee had also refused a follow up application on highway and air quality issues based on new evidence brought to it.

They said: "These particular reasons were not, and could not have been, part of the council's case in relation to the earlier application 61139, and to have introduced them at the hearing would have exposed the council, and therefore the council tax payers of North Devon, to the risk of an award of costs against the council."

Awaiting the decision

A spokesman from Chichester Developments said: "The appeal enabled third party objectors the opportunity to raise any concerns they have with the proposed development at South Park.

"Chichester Developments were pleased to be able to respond to all questions and clarify that there were no outstanding issues with the council. The site is a logical extension to Braunton, an area in need of both open market and affordable dwellings. People will be able to walk to both the schools and the village's many amenities and become part of a thriving community. We look forward to receiving the Inspector's decision."

A date for the appeal decision is not yet known.