Proposal for land near Heywood Road has been turned down once, but council says it won’t defend the decision at appeal

Plans for 200 new houses off Heywood Road in Northam are back before councillors on Thursday (April 7).

The proposal from developer Ashfield Land Ltd is back on the table despite Torridge District Council turning it down in September.

The re-submitted application was prompted after TDC said following legal advice it would not defend its original decision when it went to appeal, because the chance of winning was low and it could cost the council £50,000.

A public inquiry appeal hearing had been scheduled for June but TDC’s planning committee will hear a new but identical application again at its meeting in Bideford Town Hall next week.

As with its previous incarnation, it seeks to demolish Phayre House, create 200 dwellings and an extension of the existing Rosehill care home, with respite care facilities and supported living flats.

It is also proposing more parking facilities, public use open space and to divert a public right of way.

A statement with the application says it will ‘deliver up to 200 dwellings in an area where there is a significant identified housing need’ and that the site is identified for housing within the emerging North Devon and Torridge Local Plan.

It has already attracted more than 100 objections and action group RADARH (Residents Against Development at Heywood/Raleigh) is calling on people to turn out in force for the meeting. The item is scheduled for 1pm on the agenda.

Spokesman Tony Barstow said they had been ‘dismayed’ when the new application went in.

“We feel the proposals are seriously flawed on a number of different counts, including traffic, environment and ecology grounds,” he said.

“We are hoping we shall be able to persuade the committee to once again turn this application down.”

Councillor Peter Watson, TDC lead member for planning, said the application would be assessed on its merits.

“The applicants have re-submitted their application in the hope of addressing previous reasons for refusal and gaining planning permission ahead of the appeal inquiry which is scheduled for June,” he said.

“They have indicated they would withdraw their appeal if planning permission was granted for the new application.”