Disabled people at Westmead House in Braunton say their quality of life could suffer if plans for five new homes go ahead.

Residents of Westmead House in Braunton fear their quality of life will be destroyed if plans to build on the green opposite their home go ahead.

A planning application is seeking to create five homes plus 'open space' on the small tree-dotted green at the centre of Westmead Close, an area that is popular with all those who live nearby.

Landowner Neil Meldrum has already had permission for four homes refused because of the impact it would have on the Leonard Cheshire home residents, who have profound disabilities.

"It gives us a better quality of life," Sharon Luke told the Gazette.

"The entry going into our building won't be good, children play on it and we used to have fetes and barbecues there.

"I like watching the children play and we are all one big community here. I enjoy it when they visit."

Katy Inglis added: "I have been here for 40 years, this is my home. If they build on this land I won't have a view and some of those trees have been here as long as I have."

Residents around the close said their children enjoyed speaking to the Westmead House residents and the interaction benefitted everyone.

Moral obligation

Melanie Bowyer said North Devon Council planners had a 'moral obligation' to listen to people who did not always have a voice of their own.

Tom Lewis, who speaks through a computer, said: "I will be really angry if they build on our beautiful grass."

Keith Osment's son Darryl is unable to speak, but on his behalf, Keith said: "Like a lot of them, he has to have an afternoon sleep because of his medical condition. Many of them are in the front rooms looking out at the trees and squirrels - instead they will be faced with blank bricks and garages.

"He loves it here, he has been here 11 years but he does not want any changes."

'Private land'

But a spokesperson for the developer said: "The land is privately owned, is not designated public open space and people are currently trespassing if they use the land as amenity or playing space.

"We are intending to go to appeal on the previous application for four houses on this available land (with no current designated use) and are also exploring other residential development options on this genuinely available brownfield land."

"We reiterate this land has no other meaningful use as the council have informed us the land that my client owns is too small for designated open space, even if the planning permission for residential development was refused.

"The land would just be a fenced off (due to trespass) redundant piece of land with no designated nor meaningful use, something the Government is keen to avoid with their push for any available land with no designated use to be used for residential development to help increase the current number of dwellings being built in the UK, without effecting green belt land.

"We have carried out pre and post application meetings with the planning department and have consulted with local councillors to continue to work towards a residential development that is appropriate for the existing setting and location, with an approved landscaping scheme."