St John’s Wood home plan dropped

Controversial plans to earmark St John’s Wood for development have been scrapped by district planners.

Controversial plans to earmark St John’s Wood for development have been scrapped by district planners.

The site was left off the latest draft of the East Devon Local Plan, produced by the district council’s LDF panel.

However, a row has erupted after a plan for 500 homes at Maer Valley in Littleham was included on the draft – despite the town council submitting a four page document on why it wasn’t suitable.

It turned out the document had not been seen by the LDF panel members, and emergency meetings will now be held to try and remove Maer Valley from the plan.

Its salvation could come in the form of a new proposal by landowners of a site between Marley Road and Higher Hulham Road, adjoining Goodmores Farm, which could have space for 500 homes.

Any alterations will have to be made before the LDF panel’s meeting next Tuesday.

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Elsewhere on the document, the overall number of new homes planned for Exmouth has been reduced from 1,850 to 1,000 - not including homes already granted planning permission.

Plans are included to build 350 homes at Goodmores Farm, along with plans to build new business units at Liverton Business Park.

The draft also says that sites for another 150 homes still need to be found in the town, and this could include 75 homes at Rolle College, on part of the site not being used by the Rolle Exmouth group.

Also proposed are improvements to the town’s medical and library services, the completion of Dinan Way and the upgrade of public transport links to Exeter.

The removal of St John’s Wood from the plan will be a relief to councillors and community groups who have campaigned against it.

Regarding its removal, the report says: “The site at St John’s Wood, with 1,000 houses proposed, attracted by far the most criticism [of the proposed sites], including from the Town Council.

“The evaluation of this site highlighted the potential impact on the landscape, the loss of countryside and agricultural land, the very poor highway access, the presence of legally protected species and the setting of the listed St John in the Wilderness Church.

“This site has, as a consequence, been deleted from the suggested allocations.”

When the LDF is finalised, it will provide a plan for development in East Devon between 2011 and 2026.