District council planning committee agrees ‘in principle’ to 350 new homes at Roundswell, if not a school...

COUNCILLORS have today (Wednesday) agreed in principle for 350 new homes plus a primary school at Tews Lane in Barnstaple.

It followed a site visit to Roundswell this morning, before the planning committee returned to the Civic Centre to give their verdict of outline approval for the Linden Homes scheme.

But it has been branded as ‘premature’ and a ‘nightmare scenario for residents’ by Bickington and Roundswell ward member, Councillor Rodney Cann, who spoke against the application, as did several residents.

But he said local roads and highways infrastructure would need a major overhaul before they could support the scale of the development.

“So many things need to be put in place before we even think about a major development such as this, which also flies in the face of public opinion,” he said.

It covers two distinct parcels of land linked by Tews Lane north and south of Tews Lane playing field and has generated 29 letters of objection.

He continued: “Traffic congestion is already at a chronic level for three hours each afternoon. We really need the infrastructure and the safety improvements in place first – the £1.2 million Roundswell roundabout scheme should be in place and the Cedars roundabout also needs sorting out.”

“They are proposing to use the existing Old Bideford Road to access the site - the only alterations they are talking about would be to remove a couple of chicanes from Tews Lane itself.”

He said he had carried out a small traffic survey yesterday (Tuesday) and estimated the traffic queue from Roundswell was approximately two miles long.

Mr Cann said the committee made it quite clear that while they were agreeing in principle to the housing, there was opposition to the school, which was felt to be in the wrong place.

The application was approved in principle, but with the exact details and conditions to be hammered out between the council and developer.

There were also concerns expressed over flood risks at the site, as well as what it could mean for nearby clay pits, which Mr Cann said were still a resource of national importance.