Council approves 350 Littleham homes
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Plans for 350 new homes in Littleham have been approved - by the narrowest of margins.
Members of East Devon District Council’s development management committee voted by seven members to six to approve the scheme at Plumb Park, around Donkey Hill at the end of Buckingham Close.
The committee had previously delayed its decision in order to conduct a site visit.
Planning permission for homes on the site had previously been granted in 2013, but this had since lapsed.
Councillor Mark Williamson had proposed refusal, citing concerns about the landscape impact on the Maer Valley, the loss of agricultural land, and the scale of the planned development, but a vote on this motion was lost.
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Cllr Williamson had told the committee: “This will have an irreversible impact on Exmouth, and on the Maer Valley in particular.
“This is a huge development, in entirely the wrong place.”
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Other councillors were concerned about increased traffic.
Councillor Brian Bailey said: “The roads aren’t fit for purpose as they are at the moment. The addition of all these houses is going to cause absolute chaos.”
However, the committee voted to grant planning permission after concerns were raised that the reasons proposed for refusal would not stand up to an appeal. Councillors cited the previous approval, the site’s location inside Exmouth’s built-up area boundary, its original submission as part of the East Devon Local Plan, and the lack of an objection from Devon Highways.
Councillor Ben Ingham said: “We have already made a commitment for this land to be developed. I believe to refuse this application would be very irresponsible and leave the council tax payers of East Devon in a very vulnerable position.”
Councillor Helen Parr said: “I’m afraid I cannot support the proposal [to refuse] on any of these grounds. The Local Plan went to an inspector and he looked at the site, looked at all the reasons given and did not remove it.”
The planning application, by Littleham 2012 and Taylor Wimpey, sought detailed approval of 264 homes, and outline permission for the other 86.