Tensions run high at Larkbear meeting

Local people hear about plans for up to 900 homes on the outskirts of Barnstaple.

THERE was standing room only at an ‘introductory’ meeting being held to outline plans for up to 900 homes on the outskirts of Barnstaple.

Local people crammed into Roundswell Community Centre to hear more about emerging proposals for a brand new neighbourhood at Larkbear, adjacent to the A39 Atlantic Highway.

A spokesperson for developers Persimmon Homes and Elan Homes, who both have interests in the green field site, said between 200 and 230 people attended Friday night’s meeting.

Mark Crosby of Consensus Communications, said that access to the site, the location of a new primary school, and the possibility of addressing parking issues generated by Petroc were among the ‘core concerns’ raised on the night.

He also said questions were raised about habitat and ecology and affordable housing were raised.

Mr Crosby said: “The meeting was well attended and relatively good-humoured and people had obviously thought about the issues they wanted to highlight.

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“It gave us an early indication into the concerns and issues people have about the site. We intend to come back with a planning exhibition to expand on this and the issues raised in mid-May.”

North Devon Councillor Des Brailey, who chaired the meeting, said: “Tensions ran high but people were generally very calm and reasonable and there was not a lot of animosity.

“There were some major concerns about infrastructure including hospitals, schools and the road system and I think I’m right in saying that not a lot of people in the room, if any, would support the proposals.”

Mr Brailey said that a planning application was expected by June or July.

“If they get the go-ahead I don’t think work would start before 2013 and it could be a least a decade before it is finished.”

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