Residents anger at big homes plan
CHULMLEIGH Parish Council has voted to oppose plans to construct up to 95 homes in the town.
The decision came after a heated parish meeting on Monday night which saw residents express anger at the proposals for Leigh Road, which have been submitted by Devonshire Homes.
More than 200 people attended the meeting which saw planning officers Jean Watkins and Don Smith answer questions on the development.
During the meeting residents also raised a number of concerns, ranging from the impact on the town's sewage systems to the potential influx of traffic onto the narrow streets.
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Chulmleigh Parish Council chairman Simon Phillips, who chaired the meeting, said he was delighted with the turnout.
"A lot of people were really quite active in ensuring that people actually came out to have their say," he said:
"I think people were not anti-developments altogether, they were just against the potential size of the one development on the one location."
The meeting was also due to be attended by Steve Russell, interim managing director at Devonshire Homes. However residents were told at the start of the meeting that he would no longer be attending.
"I was absolutely amazed," said Mr Phillips. "Half of the point of this meeting was to give people a chance to ask questions.
"If they want to have a discussion, and they accept the invite in the first place, then you don't call up at 2 o'clock in the afternoon on the day saying that you are no longer coming."
Individuals from the town's health centre, fire station and schools also raised concerns about the impact on key services.
Mike Johnson, executive chairman of the Chulmleigh Academy Trust, said the school would be unable to accept a large intake of new students.
He said: "Our concern is that in the primary school there's 12 places – some year groups are full. The proposal put forward is for 95 houses.
"In the secondary school there are 25 places. We're talking about between 200-240 people in this development.
"We might end up with a situation where children living in the local area can't go to their local school."
To comment on the application, visit North Devon Council's planning portal and search for planning application 56158.
Devonshire Homes were not available for comment.