Groups unite to fight thousands of new homes
- Credit: Archant
Protesters to form anti-development alliance to fend off major Barnstaple homes plans.
PEOPLE fighting the building of more than 2,000 new homes in and around Barnstaple are joining forces to protest the plans.
Seven local action groups are set to form a new alliance to tackle developments at Larkbear, Chivenor Cross, Fremington, Goodleigh Road, Pilton, Bishops Tawton and Bickington – and more could yet join before a key meeting later this month.
The association will officially unite at Roundswell Community Centre on October 17, where a name, main aims and executives will all be decided upon.
In total, plans are in place for more than 6,000 new homes across North Devon and Torridge between now and 2031.
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Those behind the new association believe this will put a ‘tremendous strain’ on the area’s infrastructure, particularly the road network.
Don Pratt, chairman of the Larkbear Action Group, which is fighting plans for 820 homes between Lake and Sticklepath, said: “We came to the conclusion that regardless of our own issues there were a lot of common issues.
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“The council has got to look at the long term impact – what’s North Devon going to look like?”
Bob Gotts, of the Chivenor Cross group, said: “We’ve had the change in government planning regulations and now developers are just jumping in wholesale and putting in applications.
“All together you are looking at somewhere in the region of 6,100 new homes – which is about the size of South Molton.
“The amount of people coming in and out of North Devon is basically stagnant; where are these people going to come from to fill all these houses?”
On Wednesday, dozens of members gathered outside the Civic Centre in Barnstaple to lobby North Devon councillors attending a meeting of full council.
But responding to questions put to the council by members of the Larkbear group, council leader Brian Greenslade said North Devon couldn’t simply ‘pull up the drawbridge’.
“We need to recognise the realities of the market and create the conditions for sustainable growth centred on providing a range of housing,” he said.
“That includes at least 25 per cent affordable housing, support for existing employers, new jobs and the infrastructure to support the development such as highway improvements to accommodate additional traffic.”
The new association’s open meeting at Roundswell Community Centre is scheduled for 7pm on October 17.
Other housing protest groups wanting to get in contact before then can do so via the Larkbear group at firstname.lastname@example.org