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New homes plans for Mount Sandford Green in Barnstaple and Allenstyle in Yelland

By NDJWill  |  Posted: November 27, 2012

House building
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TWO planning applications which have been in the offing for months have finally been lodged with North Devon Council and could bring more than 300 new homes to North Devon.

Plans for 53 homes at Allenstyle in Yelland, which were first mooted at a public consultation in September, were submitted to the council this week.

So was a plan for 250 homes and 2.8 hectares of business land at Mount Sandford Green, near Portmore Golf Club, which North Devon Council's executive opted to support in June this year.

Executive members decided in June that the proposal matched the council's aims to deliver affordable housing and build a more robust economy.

The item was put forward to the executive as the site is not in the council's development boundary. 

But that decision was called in by six non-executive Conservative members who said the decision fell outside the council's policy framework and does not follow the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment.

The group of Conservative councillors, Des Brailey, Jacqueline Flynn, John Mathews, Jasmine Chesters, Michael Harrison and Brian Moores, claimed there was inadequate consultation and inappropriate influence in the decision being made.

They also claimed there had been a failure by the executive to apply the assumption of openness in its decision making.  

The decision was reviewed by the council's overview and scrutiny committee, which found the executive could have been perceived to have had an influence on the planning process. It was found there was no case to answer for the other claims made by the Tory councillors, which makes it likely the council's planning officers will recommend the scheme goes ahead.

There is no such support for the Allenstyle development though, with locals dead against the plan.

Valerie Fama, who lives in Allenstyle, says she has fears the development would harm wildlife and cause flooding.

She said: "We see and hear a wide variety of wildlife on the land. 

"The bio-diversity of this land, which we believe is green belt, should be protected."

Mrs Fama said that rain run off from a hill at the back of the proposed development normally soaks into the land. 

She said: "It acts as a safety valve, avoiding our property being flooded."

North Devon Council's two representatives for the area, Chris Turner, Frank Biederman and the parish council's chairman, Rodney Cann, have asked locals for their thoughts in a letter which points out several perceived problems with the plan.

Mr Cann said: "My initial reaction is that the site is outside of the development boundary for the local plan."

He also said the site owners has been advised North Devon Council's planning officers would not support an application on the site.

"It's our personal view the site will not be identified for inclusion in the new local plan. 

"We'd also question whether the site could deliver any identified infrastructure and fulfil community needs for the area."

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