1,000 protest at £80m new Dartmouth housing scheme
Opposition is growing against plans for a £80 million housing development on green fields near a historic Devon town.
Almost 1,000 people are campaigning against the building of 405 new homes on 24 acres of land on the edge of Dartmouth.
The West Dart project is the largest of the developments pinpointed in the Dartmouth development plan proposals and is approved by South Hams District Council. Plans include improvement to the current park and ride facilities, and a possible doctor's surgery and dentist on site.
A "Stop the West Dartmouth Development" petition against the plans has so far attracted 975 signatures.
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Residents say the development of this size is out of character with Dartmouth, and brings no benefits to the community and has no agreed number of affordable homes.
Ian Cunningham, from Dartmouth, said: "Compared to the current size of Dartmouth this proposed development, on a site of green fields, is excessive and represents the worst kind of urban sprawl – resembling the sprawl between Torquay and Paignton which is partly visible from the very road that this proposed development is to abut. Dartmouth is unique for its history, architecture and rural setting."
Chris Hitch, from nearby Stoke Fleming, said: "The Millwood scheme will be a total and long-lasting disaster for Dartmouth. There is of course a need for local housing which should not be denied, although it cannot possibly relate to the scale of this scheme."
A spokesman for South Hams District Council said: "This is a significant reaction to the Millwood Homes proposal to extend the area of land allocated for development under their current Masterplan. We shall be taking all these views into consideration and it will be up to members to decide individually on how they wish to respond to this petition. The submissions by all parties will be given their due weight before any decision is taken."
Planning project manager Mike Smith, from Ashburton-based Millwood Homes, said: "We have involved the community throughout the design process. At every stage we have taken their comments onboard and asked if what we have done meets their expectations and what was wanted. Feedback has been positive. It is a very good process."