Westward Ho! housing plan for 138 new homes approved
- Credit: TDC
Plans for more than 130 new homes on the edge of Westward Ho! have been approved by councillors.
The scheme, which Torridge District Council’s plans committee on Thursday, April 1, backed, would see development of 120 homes, 14 bungalows and four flats on a ‘landlocked’ tract of pasture between Golf Links Road, and Tadworthy Road, Westward Ho!
The entire site is allocated for development in the North Devon and Torridge Local Plan, and the plans would see public open space distributed throughout the site, the largest having a children’s playground, as well as a new vehicular access through the site, connecting Tadworthy Road and Golf Links Road.
Objections had poured in against the scheme, with all but two of the 61 representations being opposed to the plans, but officers had recommended it for approval.
And when councillors met on Thursday to discuss the scheme, they voted by seven votes to two in order to approve it.
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Recommending approval, the report of the planning officers said the proposal would provide a significant contribution of 138 dwellings towards local housing supply on an allocated site that is located in a sustainable location, and that given the current lack of a five-year land supply, ‘significant weight should be attached to the delivery of housing’.
The report added: “The proposal will deliver the strategic aspiration for a new distinct gateway route into the resort of Westward Ho! A high-quality boulevard design is proposed along with a public art contribution to secure an art feature at the junction with Golf Links Road.
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“This is a unique opportunity offered by the development of this site and should be considered a significant benefit in recognition of the wider benefits that would be delivered, and the scheme will also deliver an over-provision of public open space beyond that which would be required for the level of housing proposed.
“The highways impacts are considered to be acceptable, both in respect of traffic generation and the proposed accesses, and the Local Highway Authority is raising no objections to the proposal and the improved cycle routes will contribute to the delivery of a trial of the former Bideford to Appledore Railway from Northam Road to Westward Ho!”
The report added though that due to viability issues, the application is unable to make a policy compliant offer in terms of affordable housing or housing mix, with only nine affordable homes, rather than the policy compliant 30 per cent figure of 41, and that there will be an element of landscape/townscape harm through the redevelopment of the land from green fields to a housing estate.
It added: “While this current green gap has local value however emphasises that it is considered to have little value in landscape and visual amenity terms and that limited harm can be attributed to the loss of the green field site and it is not considered that the proposal will harm the setting of the AONB.
“In weighing the identified harm against the benefits, it is considered that the adverse impacts associated with the development fail to significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits, and on balance, a recommendation for approval is made.”
Proposing the officer recommendation be approved, councillor Rosemary Lock said: “On a big development will never get everything you want. Highways have no objections, nor the environmental team, nor on flood risk, or the AONB, so it comes down to the small matters. The affordable housing issue raises its ugly head as it is not 30 per cent, but they are doing nine and the officers say they will be highly beneficial.”
Cllr Peter Watson added: “The site is in the local plan and this is a good mix of properties at good prices,” while cllr David Hurley said: “The sooner it is accepted or rejected, they know where they stand, and I think it is worth accepting.”