Bid to build at Bovey Tracey 'gateway to the moor' is thrown out
Plans for 185 new homes on the edge of Dartmoor have been refused – despite advice from planners, the county highways authority and the Environment Agency.
Teignbridge Council's planing committee turned down the proposal for land in Bovey Tracey even though its own planning team warned that, if developer Guy Langworthy was to appeal, the inspector would not have strong, sound grounds to turn down the application.
After the meeting Mr Langworthy said: "For 11 members of the planning committee to completely disregard the advice of their planning officers and of their solicitor seems extraordinary.
"Unfortunately we now have to appeal the decision, which will, no doubt, unnecessarily cost the council and the residents of Teignbridge an awful lot of money at a time when they can least afford it.
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"We can only hope in the future these councillors learn to take more notice of their officers."
Mr Langworthy was looking for approval for a scheme which would have seen the realignment of the B3344. It also incorporated an outline application for 20 self-build homes.
The contentious application on land dubbed "the gateway to the moor" received around 800 letters of objection – but almost 400 supporting it.
At the meeting, members of the committee said they were concerned with highways issues and said they believed the area was prone to flooding.
They also said the site was not included in Teignbridge's proposed local plan, the district's planning blueprint for the next 20 years.
However, Teignbridge Council development manager Nick Davies pointed out Devon County Council highways and the Environment Agency had no objections and the development was sustainable as it was 15 minutes' walk to the town centre.
He said Teignbridge Council's local plan had yet to be adopted and therefore couldn't be used for grounds for refusal.
"We'd be vulnerable at appeal if we refuse it," said Mr Davies.
Bovey Tracey councillor Anna Klinkenberg said three other sites had been earmarked for development in the town in the proposed local plan and said the town shouldn't "pay the price" for the plan not yet being adopted.
She was also one of many councillors who said historically the area had flooded, although the Environment Agency said the site wouldn't be a concern.
"Experience and history tell me a different story," she said.
Steve Moore, from the Environment Agency, who attended the meeting, said he didn't see flooding as a concern and many measures would be put in place to alleviate any water issues.
He said an area of the site which was prone to flooding will not be developed.
Other councillors, as well as residents were concerned with the increase in traffic on the surrounding road network if the development was built.
Chudleigh Knighton resident Peter Willett said: "When the developer has finished we will be left to live with and sort out the problems."
The application was rejected by 11 votes to seven, with one abstention.