Historic England had responded to the controversial plans in May 2017 with concerns, but the document was only discovered this week after being identified as spam by the council’s IT system.

Controversial plans for 58 new holiday units at Knapp House in Northam look set to be deferred after an important planning document was discovered in the council’s junk folder.

The application was due to be discussed at the Torridge District Council plans committee meeting tomorrow (Thursday).

But a statement on the council’s website today (Wednesday) said the case officer would be recommending the item be put back due to the newly discovered document.

The document was a response to the plans from Historic England, sent to the council in May 2017, but only discovered today due to being identified as spam by the council’s IT system.

The application has originally been recommended for approval before this document was discovered.

The statement on the council’s website reads: “Subsequent to the publication of the agenda and the carrying out of the site visit last Thursday (25th), the case officer has just been informed of the consultee response from Historic England.

“The response is dated May 2017 and reflects the point at which Historic England provided its advice on the proposals.

“Nevertheless it was not received by the case officer until today.

“Our understanding of the issue which caused the delay was due to the emails sent from Historic England’s database being identified as spam by this Council’s IT system.

“This has now been recognised by both organisations and this problem is being addressed.

“Meanwhile, the committee report is silent on the comments and concerns raised by Historic England; nor does the report seek to address and assess in any great detail any of the concerns raised by Historic England.

“With this in mind, the senior solicitor will be recommending to the committee on Thursday that the application be deferred.

“This will allow further opportunity for the applicant to consider and address the concerns raised by Historic England.

“Council officers also need to further assess the various concerns raised and to refer to them in an updated report to be considered at a future meeting of the Plans Committee.

“This is to ensure that the committee will be presented with a clear recommendation at a future meeting based on all updated information, with any subsequent decision taken by the committee based on full and accurate information rather than incomplete information.

“To ensure this is the case, and matters are not unduly ‘rushed’, the senior solicitor, case officer and planning team leader believe it is appropriate to recommend deferral of the application at this moment in time.

“The case officer has advised the applicant of the intention to recommend deferral of the application and the town council and as many third parties as possible are also being so advised.

“We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.”