Outline plans show access road to new development will run through ‘enhanced’ play area

Plans for 149 new homes at Westacott in Barnstaple have been submitted to North Devon Council.

The anticipated outline application also seeks 'in principle' permission to 'enhance' the existing Westacott Fields play area, although a new access road for the development would run through the park.

It follows public consultation in October, where residents voiced their concerns about the loss of open space due to the access road, as well as road safety and increased traffic congestion.

The new blueprint features four fewer homes than the original masterplan and shows the existing recreation area could be extended into the new site to form a gateway 'village green'.

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

Developers say this would offer a 25 per cent increase in space lost by the access road.

A design and access statement submitted by Jillings Heynes Planning Ltd, on behalf of developer Progress Land, said: "The existing play facilities could be upgraded to provide for both toddlers and older children.

"A shared surface approach would help to manage vehicle speeds and a Devon bank would separate the two spaces.

"The existing recreation area could be extended into the application site. A wetland area is also proposed to drain the site."

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

In April, the Gazette reported that Tritech Precision Products factory was seeking to relocate from Castle Park Road to Roundswell, a move that would pave the way for a new access road.

But developers have previously said there were a number of issues with access via Castle Park Road, including loss of employment land and flooding.

The new plans also outline proposals for a range of house types, the creation of a hilltop park with views across the valley, and a woodland buffer on the western edge of the development.

The developers say: "The proposal seeks to create a high quality, landscape-driven residential development that has been sensitively designed to sit lightly within its wider landscape setting.

"Our vision is to create a new neighbourhood of high quality new housing and associated infrastructure, including significant areas of green open space and infrastructure, that could be developed to create an attractive and sustainable extension to the town of Barnstaple."

But county councillor John Mathews said he didn't think the access road would be safe.

"I just can't see how they are going to squeeze it all in," he said.

"I'd prefer to see the main access from a new junction on the link road and a secondary access road to come through Castle Park Road, which was the whole point of me getting it put into the North Devon Local Plan.

"The saving grace as I see it is that there has still been no application to North Devon Council to sell the land for the access road."

Members of the public have until December 23 to comment on the plans.

What do you think? Email your thoughts to newsdesk@northdevongazette.co.uk

You can view the plans here.