New development bad for town, says group

A planned housing development in Budleigh could put the town’s unique heritage and landscape status under threat, according to a community group.

The proposed scheme is for a new home and garages on land to the rear of 29 Victoria Place, writes Sean Keywood.

It was previously opposed by Budleigh Salterton Town Council, however East Devon District Council’s conservation officer has now come out in support of the plan – much to the concern of the Otter Valley Association (OVA), which says if the plan goes ahead it could threaten the future of the Victoria Place conservation area, and perhaps even the town’s status as the only town wholly inside the East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The officer’s report states: “The language of a simple ground-hugging contemporary dwelling here is one that would have limited visual impact within the conservation area.

“I would concede that a starkly different architecture would form an interesting juxtaposition with its neighbours but this approach has often been quite successful. As long as conditions are attached to any approval for all building details, materials and finishes I would support approval.”

In response, OVA chairman Nicola Daniel said: “The Budleigh Salterton Design Statement, the emerging EDDC Local Plan and the central government’s new planning policy framework all stress that in conservation areas planning policies and decisions should address the connections between people and places and the integration of new development into the natural, built and historic environment.

“The EDDC conservation officer’s recommendation … ignores all the relevant policies.

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“Budleigh Salterton’s other conservation areas have recently had houses approved at variance to the character of their areas.

“It would be devastating for the town to lose the status of these areas and that of the AONB as a result of such a planning approval.”

EDDC planners will make a final ruling.