Decision on Torridge marina due at next planning meeting
The council has received hundreds of letters for and against the Torridge marina plans, which will be decided on next week.
PLANS for a ‘marina village’ with a 250-berth marina, 295 new houses and 80 holiday homes in Northam could be decided on this month.
The application for the Knapp House site will be considered by Torridge District Council’s plans committee during the next meeting on January 17.
The plans include a 40-room hotel, a restaurant providing up to 100 covers, a food store, a 90-bed care village, 106 independent living units, a doctors surgery and office space.
In September, a revised plan was submitted under the application with the addition of a one-form entry primary school.
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The plans have caused some contention, with Torridge receiving hundreds of letters of objection and more than 100 letters of support.
Both Instow Parish Council and Northam Town Council have recommended refusal of the application, and Westleigh Parish Council raised concerns over the plans.
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Peter Hames, a Northam town councillor who lives opposite the development site, has been campaigning against the plans which were submitted to Torridge in March 2012.
He said: “Nearly five hundred people have written to object to the plan, as well as numerous organisations, including Northam Town Council’s planning, which voted unanimously against the application.
“Objectors clearly recognise that the area is of vital recreational, wildlife and landscape importance (as confirmed by the planning policies), and yet Torridge councillors are being asked by the applicants to put all this aside on 17 January – even though a report for the developers concedes that the proposals will have a ‘major adverse’ impact on the landscape.
“It is clear too that a development with such a major negative impact on this beautiful landscape will not help to attract tourists to the area.
“Add in the mind-boggling traffic implications of the scheme – there would be more than 1,000 extra vehicle movements a day on the already busy Churchill Way and Heywood Road –and the drastic effect on local residents of the anticipated seven-year construction period and one can see a recipe for environmental disaster not yet experienced in the Torridge area.
A spokesman for the developers, LTPH Properties, said: “This proposal offers a massive opportunity to provide a development that is employment led and utilises the greatest economic asset that we have in the area to the best advantage and that is the water that surrounds it.
“It will place Bideford on the map and ensure that the Torridge Estuary becomes part of a strategic sea link between the existing ports in North Devon and North Cornwall and beyond.
“The developers urge members of the public to look beyond the ‘nimby’ argument and consider the wider benefit for them and their families in the future.
“It is time that Torridge had a major development to be proud of and to encourage other investment into the area.”
The meeting is open to the public and will be held at Bideford Town Hall on Thursday, January 17 at 9.30am.
Anyone wishing to speak will need to make a request to Torridge by 2pm, two days before the meeting, at www.torridge.gov.uk/speakplanning.