Plans for an eight-storey block of flats in Westward Ho! have been approved for development.
Torridge District Council’s plans committee was split over the application at its meeting on Thursday, March 7, with five members voting in favour, two against and two abstaining.
The majority meant the application for 22 new flats on the site between Atlantic Way and Fosketh Hill was approved.
The land, which is currently a brownfield site between two other, smaller buildings containing flats, already has planning permission for 22 apartments.
The permission, which developers Coyne Group say is no longer viable, is already active as demolition work had already started on site.
In 2017 Coyne Group put in new plans for a more modern-looking seven-storey block of 21 flats, but this was rejected by councillors because of its design.
There were concerns raised about the fact affordable housing or section 106 provisions for the community were deemed ‘unviable’ for the development.
Councillor Jane Whittaker also raised concerns about the parking provided with the application – one parking space per flat.
“I’m quite concerned about visitors’ parking because in actual fact the Highways officer who raised no concerns might not be local, but I am,” she said.
“I know those roads very well, I drive them regularly, and I know those roads get very, very busy with cars parked there.”
Councillor Whittaker also said she felt Westward Ho! was ‘awash’ with flats, and other members likened the development of the seaside village to the holiday resorts of Costa del Sol.
“There’s a massive block of flats in front of this which were the first big block of flats - Westward Ho! is going to look like Torremolinos,” said Councillor Peter Christie.
“This is the last green space in all the blocks of flats and they want to fill it with another block of flats, and I really don’t think much of it.”
Councillor Peter Watson said he felt the village was ‘more Benidorm than Torremolinos’.
But he supported the application, adding: “This is far better than the one we had before in 2017; even if we refuse they could actually still build the one they have permission for which looks horrible to me.”