Councillors have gone against the advice of planning officers and refused plans for 200 new houses at Heywood Road for a second time. Torridge District Councils plans committee met today (Thursday) to discuss the plans to demolish Phayre House in Northam and build the new houses. After a long debate, councillors voted six in favour of refusal, and three against. Last week the Gazette revealed how the plans were back on the table after Torridge failed to defend its decision to reject the homes at appeal. Hundreds of people turned out to the initial consultation on the homes in June last year, and the plans were rejected in September by a majority of five-two. But when Ashfield Land Ltd went to appeal, the council sought legal advice and decided the chance of winning was low and it could cost the council £50,000. This new, identical application was then submitted, and Ian Mellor spoke on behalf of the developers at the meeting. He said: It is time not to bring this to an end without recourse to one, or possibly two, appeals. Mr Mellor said the developers had done what was asked of us and added: The impact of the development by residents has been exaggerated. The risk of flooding due to run off from the site into the already saturated Kenwith damn was one concern raised by councillors. Members also said they were worried the access to the site off Heywood Road would be dangerous, and that the current road system could not cope. They heard developers Ashfield Land Ltd would pay £153,802 towards the £1.2million Heywood Roundabout improvement scheme. But Cllr Peter Christie said: This is just Devon County Council scrabbling around to get some money to get the roundabout. Its nothing about tying to improve the road safety of this site. Councillor Sam Robinson proposed refusing the development, but chairman Cllr Rose Locke moved to accept the proposal. Solicitor Jamie Hollis reminded councillors should they wish to refuse the proposals, they must be able to evidence their decision. Cllr Locke said: I have got to put my sensible hat on here; I know it is a very emotive issue. She then cited all of the organisations that had raised no objections to the plans, including South West Water, Highways and the Enivronment Agency, as a reason for accepting the plans. But councillors voted by a majority of three to refuse the plans, which was met by a rupture of applause from the packed town hall. It is not yet know if Ashfield Land Ltd will be appealing.