Application which would see access road built through children’s play area came before North Devon Council’s planning committee on Wednesday

Plans have been submitted for 149 new homes at Westacott in Barnstaple. Picture: Progress LandPlans have been submitted for 149 new homes at Westacott in Barnstaple. Picture: Progress Land

Plans for 149 new homes in Westacott have been given outline permission by North Devon Council.

The development, the first part of the so-called Westacott Urban Extension, was agreed in principle by the council’s planning committee at a meeting at Barnstaple Rugby Club today (Wednesday).

The proposal would see a mixture of one-to-four bedroom homes, and more than three hectares of open space.

The application also seeks ‘in principle’ permission to ‘enhance’ the existing Westacott Fields play area, although a new access road for the development running through the park was a sticking point in the committee’s debate.

Plans have been submitted for 149 new homes at Westacott in Barnstaple. Picture: Progress LandPlans have been submitted for 149 new homes at Westacott in Barnstaple. Picture: Progress Land

Local ward member, Councillor Julie Hunt, said she was ‘in full support of the application’, but the access road through the park was dangerous.

“The park is used constantly by residents, the local community, children, joggers, dog walkers and Orchard Vale School,” she said.

“With a road beside it, all you need is a child playing football to kick a ball into the road and there could be an accident.”

Committee member, Councillor Glen Lane said he also had concerns about the play area, but felt issues could be dealt with at the next stage of the planning process.

Westacott ParkWestacott Park

Seven councillors voted for the approval of the application, with five against after a motion to defer it was withdrawn.

Despite the approval, the plans for the access road may yet hit a stumbling block, as the land the Westacott Fields play area sits on is owned by North Devon Council.

Last month, the council suggested the preferred access route to the development should be via the A361 near Landkey.

The council contacted developer Progress Land after an informal executive meeting

A subsequent communication, understood to have been sent by the council’s estate department, and seen by the Gazette, said: “At this time, the council does not have an appetite to dispose of or grant access over the playing field.”

Planning officer Jean Watkins said no formal offer for the land had been submitted to the council at this stage.