The first phase of a huge 500-home development in Northam has been given the go-ahead by councillors.

Torridge District Council’s plans committee approved final plans for the first 130 homes of the Daddon Hill development at a virtual meeting on Thursday (August 6).

The scheme, which was given outline planning permission in 2016, has been billed as a key development to meet housing needs in the area.

When complete it will have a school, care facility, doctors surgery and community centre.

The first phase will see a mixture of one and two bedroom apartments and two-to-five bedroom homes, with 28 affordable homes. It will be accessed from Bay View Road, and stretches out to College Close.

The application was approved with six councillors voting in favour of the application, with three voting against.

The vote came at the end of a 90-minute debate which saw concerns raised about drainage in the south-west corner of the site which backs on to houses in College Close, and a ‘disappointing’ lack of single-storey housing.

Committee chairman and Northam ward member, Cllr Chris Leather said: “This is a very important application and I think everybody understands that.

“I’m disappointed we are not having any bungalows, they should have gone along the boundary with Bay View Road.

“I think they really could have had two-bedroom, detached bungalows – they would have sold like hot cakes.”

Moving approval, Cllr Peter Watson who noted there were no objections from statutory bodies including for flood risk management, highways or from South West Water.

Paul Osborne, director of architect LHC Design, said construction would start in the autumn, with the first units available next summer.

A planning statement for the application said: “The scheme has been designed utilising a legible, permeable and distinctive network of streets and spaces which is reinforced by the proposed character areas and built form.

“The development demonstrates a positive relationship with the surrounding landscape and existing settlement, with strong connections to the and the surrounding areas which promote the use of sustainable modes of transport.”