The chairman of Torridge District Council’s plans committee used her casting vote to approve controversial proposals for a new holiday village at Knapp House.

Last month councillors refused the application four-votes-to-three, but with eight councillors present at today’s meeting, and no members changing their mind, the vote was tied.

Chairman Rose Lock used her casting vote to approve the plans, after the application returned to the committee for an implications report, because the previous rejection went against planning officer recommendations.

Councillor Peter Christie stood up to call the situation ‘ludicrous’, and said he would be bringing the matter up with the solicitor.

The approval was met with boos and jeers from the crowd who had packed into Bideford Town Hall.

How the caravan park at Knapp House in Northam currently looks.How the caravan park at Knapp House in Northam currently looks.

Last month the council refused the application on the grounds that it would impact the coalescence of Northam and Appledore, and its impact on the undeveloped coastline.

Cllr Kenny Davis, who voted against the application, said: “For me, I have concerns; the caravans currently there can be moved but houses can’t. I fear once that site is up it will spread.”

This map shows the boundaries of the planning proposals - which sit within the current caravan park at Knapp.This map shows the boundaries of the planning proposals - which sit within the current caravan park at Knapp.

Councillor Mervyn Langmead, who voted for the site, said: “Reading the report and going through the emerging and existing local plan, at this moment in time I have not changed my mind.

“I believe this will bring economy into the area.

Knapp House in Northam.Knapp House in Northam.

“When I look at the site it’s not very welcoming at all. This will be far better.”

The application by Knapp House owners Ashley and Stuart Clements was for 58 new woodland-style holiday lodges, with a swimming pool and reception building.

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