Mud-slinging over Anchorwood soil

Council and developers clash over soil mound on Asda site.

A ROW has broken out between developers and the council over a large mound of soil that has appeared on land earmarked for a new Adsa store in Barnstaple.

Last month, the Gazette reported that a pile of soil at Anchorwood Bank, next to the Sticklepath roundabout, was being investigated by Devon County Council.

Complaints were initially raised by Barnstaple Town Council and members of the public and this week, the council confirmed it would be taking formal action following the suspected breach of planning control.

A Devon County Council spokesman said: “A planning contravention notice will be issued this week, formally providing the applicant with 21 days to either remove the soil or to submit an application for it. Further action will be taken should they decide not to comply.

“Informal discussions have been held with the agent for the applicants and they have voluntarily stopped bringing material into the site.”

But Andrew Pegg, for Anchorwood Bank developer Wessex Investors Ltd, said the company believed it already had permission to store the soil on site.

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He said: “We believe that the soil is covered by the existing planning consent for the site and the planning authority was made aware of our intentions prior to the soil being delivered.

“The soil is not contaminated and the process by which it was brought onto site has the necessary license.

“We have, however, taken the precautionary measure of stopping any further material coming onto site until we have received advice from North Devon and Devon county councils.”

Mr Pegg said the soil had been brought onto the site from the nearby Forches housing estate regeneration project.

He said: “Its presence is a common-sense, sustainable use for a waste material that might otherwise have gone to landfill.

“Any future development on the Anchorwood Bank site will require material to be brought onto site in order to raise levels to provide flood protection,” he added.

The former Leaderflush Shapland site is currently the focus of a hybrid planning application for a 6,820 sq m retail food store, together with up to 350 homes; a 60-bed hotel; employment space; community facilities; shops; restaurants; cafes; a pub and take-away.

Other details outlined in the plans, currently being determined by North Devon Council, include flood defence measures such as raising ground levels.

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