Anger at plan for 700 homes on Plymouth green space
A GROUP of residents claims that ten years of talks have been ditched in a council scramble to build as many houses as possible.
People in the Seaton area of Plymouth fear that their homes will be swallowed up in a massive new housing development.
A "green barrier" they thought had been protected will vanish under concrete, according to members of the Seaton Area Residents' Association.
And they say the council is "moving the goalposts" and ignoring consultation.
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The land is a 7.5-acre field that forms a partial barrier between homes near Charlton Crescent, to the west of the Tavistock Road, and proposed new development.
The latest draft of the Derriford and Seaton area action plan allocates the field for housing, as part of a new "Seaton Neighbourhood", immediately to the south of the Plymouth International Medical and Technology Park.
Residents argue that it should instead be part of the proposed Derriford Community Park.
Julian Mildren said they had spent a decade talking to the council about the development blueprint for the north of Plymouth.
He said the council was not only going against the residents but also against the view of the developers, the Hawkins Trust.
"We have been speaking to them for ten years about this and spent a lot of our own money on planning consultants."
He said the extra homes could add pressure to an already dangerous junction on the Tavistock Road.
"They are going to put an extra 700 homes there. Are there any plans to upgrade the A386?
The residents called on councillors to step in and block the plans.
"It seems it's being run by council officers, not councillors," Mr Mildren said.
He denied it was a case of Nimbyism, saying that if it was they would be trying to protect the entire green space from development.
The money from developing the site would not go to the city, but to the Ministry of Defence, which owns the land, Mr Mildren said.
"Why do we have this never-ending demand for growth?
"Do we need to be a city of 350,000, or is 250,000 as much as we can bear?" Mr Mildren said.
"The city isn't interested in existing residents – they just want to build new homes."
A council spokeswoman said: "Derriford Field was identified as an area of potential development in February 2011.
She said the council invited the residents, along with neighbouring landowners and the Hawkins Trust, and other partners to get involved in defining the boundaries.
The revised area action plan was published for consultation in August 2012 and will be subjected to a public examination with a planning inspector early next year.
"Evidence was sought to inform the decision about developing this parcel of land or allocating it for community park uses," the council spokeswoman said.
"We took into account the amount of land needed for the park – some 146 hectares just beyond this field – and concluded that this parcel of land was not needed as it is remote, not overlooked, removed from the proposed hub of park activity and would be difficult to maintain."
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