A major planning application for almost 300 new homes around woodland on the edge of Bideford is back on the table.

Gladman Developments has lodged plans for up to 290 homes on land north of Abbotsham Road.

The development, which includes 87 afford able homes, would see housing built around Badgershill Wood, with the protected woodland ‘fenced off’ to conserve the site.

The land is not earmarked for development in the North Devon and Torridge Joint Local Plan, and the application comes two years after councillors refused plans for a 260-home development on the land.

The application has already been ‘called in’ to go before Torridge District Council’s plans committee should it be recommended for approval.

The land off Abbotsham Road. Picture: GoogleThe land off Abbotsham Road. Picture: Google

Cllr Tony Inch said he saw ‘no difference’ between the new application and the one rejected in 2018 – only an increase in the number of homes.

A design and access statement with the application said it respects the existing landscape, including the protected woodland.

It said: “The development sits within an attractive landscape setting and has been structured to respect the existing landscape features, within and adjacent to the site such as Badgershill Wood.

“The steeper and more visually sensitive parts of the site have been maintained as open space.”

It added: “The development accommodates a residential development area measuring 7.80 hectares, providing for up to 290 dwellings.

“The housing mix will be determined at the reserved matters stage, but it is expected to include a broad range of house types, sizes and tenures. A proportion of the homes will be affordable and these will be fully integrated within the market housing, and be of a type and size that meets local need.

“Badgershill Wood will be retained and fenced off to conserve this Site of Nature Conservation Importance (SNCI). Access through the woodland will be limited to dedicated footways to connect the north western residential parcel to the north eastern residential parcel.”

Rejecting the previous application back in 2018, councillors felt the site’s location was too far away from Bideford town centre to be sustainable, being too far away from the town’s shops and services.

They also felt the site would have an adverse affect on the character and appearance of the open countryside, and the removal of hedgerow would adversely affect wildlife.