Yelland Quay development refused - Campaigners celebrate
- Credit: Devon CPRE
Campaigners fighting plans to develop Yelland Quay into 250 homes, none of which would be affordable, are celebrating this week after North Devon Council voted to refuse the planning application.
There had been more than 800 objections to the proposals – with only two letters of support – but planners had recommended that the scheme for Yelland Quay be approved.
The scheme included 250 new homes, employment land, retail space, cafes and restaurants, indoor sports provision, public halls, with a unique community centre building to be found almost floating at the heart of this mini development.
Devon CPRE, the local branch of the countryside charity, congratulated North Devon Council for overwhelmingly voting to refuse an application to build 250 premium houses and apartments on the bank of the Taw estuary at Yelland Quay.
The site, where a small coal-fired power station stood between the 1950s and the 1980s, is in a noted wildlife habitat. It’s adjacent to an SSSI and the North Devon AONB and nature reserves managed by the RSPB, Devon Wildlife Trust, and Gaia Trust.
On Wednesday, June 9, the council’s Planning Committee voted, 11 to 2, to turn down the application as it would not help meet local housing needs, and the benefits would not outweigh the harm to the coastal and estuary landscape.
Half a dozen objectors were allowed to speak at the socially-distanced meeting held at Barnstaple Rugby Club, while residents demonstrated outside.
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Devon CPRE Director Penny Mills said: “This is an outstanding result, based on robust and detailed policy considerations, to preserve a significant part of the area’s precious landscape from development.
“As so many have pointed out – including 1,000 local objectors – just because a beauty spot once had a power station briefly imposed on it, it doesn’t mean you have to build another great concrete mass on it 40 years later.”
Cumulative highways effects and lack of community facilities were also cited as reasons for refusing the proposal, which has been opposed by a wide range of environmental and wildlife bodies and Devon County Highways.
Penny added: “The overarching point, though, which clearly drove many councillors to oppose the scheme, is that it represented a huge disruption to the landscape, wildlife and ecology of this part of the river estuary – while doing nothing at all to meet local needs.
“The council’s policy allowed for housing at Yelland Quay 'of a size and tenure to reflect local needs'. When 2,500 people are looking for low-cost social and rented housing in the area, proposing to build 250 high-priced holiday homes with an average price of £425,000 while providing no affordable housing at all is adding economic insult to environmental injury.”
The Gazette has contacted the developer for a comment. Check back for updates.