Upton Manor development aerial view Pic Torbay Council

Councillors reject 130 homes Brixham Camp plan - but will developers appeal?

Torbay Weekly

Plans to build 130 homes on a former Brixham camp site have been turned down after a fierce campaign and over 500 objections.

The decision was taken at an extraordinary meeting of Torbay Council’s planning committee on Monday June 27.

But campaigners against the development proposed for Upton Manor Farm Camp Site at St Mary’s Road say they are still worried and fear the applicants may launch a successful appeal.

In a surprise turn of events, the applicants, Westcountry Land Enterprises (South West) Ltd., along with other speakers in support of the proposal, failed to turn up to present their case.

All councillors on the committee said they were concerned about the plans and Cllr Terry Manning went further, suggesting the proposal would spoil area. “We’ve got nice little roads,” he said.

“That gives the character of Brixham. And we’re ruining it.

“And if we carry on like this, people won’t come to Brixham because it won’t have the same sort of character, the same sort of things with it.

“These roads were meant for years ago. That’s part of the character of Brixham. And it’s a shame to think we’re going to make the roads wider … put pavements on them.

“We don’t want that. We want to keep the same character, the same place of Brixham.”

After the meeting, one of the campaigners against the development, Ellie Waugh, gave the decision a cautious welcome. She lives on St Mary’s Road in one of the closest houses to the planned development.

“I think they listened,” she said.

“I’m very surprised that the developers didn’t turn up. That’s really shocked me because they must have spent a lot of money.

“The only thing I think that’s worried a lot of us … have they done that because they knew that it was going to be a no? And then, obviously, they’re going to put in for an appeal.”

The former camping and caravan site on which it is proposed to build the new properties closed in 2020 due to the covid lockdown

Westcountry Land Enterprises Ltd says it hoped to make 39 of the 130 homes affordable.

The plans were for 46 three-bedroomed homes, 19 four-bedrooms, 30 two-bedroomed and 35 apartments.

Brixham Town Council and the local Wildlife Trust both object to the plans, citing fears for rare animals, including the greater horseshoe bat.

A ‘Save Upton Manor Farm’ petition with over 900 signatures has also been given to the council.

Many campaigners insist they are not trying to stop housing being built.

Ms Waugh says her concern is the wrong sort of homes being built in the wrong place.

“You know, you don’t want this to happen, but you also want some sort of social housing. And people need that. They’ve got nowhere to live.”

But she is not yet celebrating the planning committee’s decision because she believes the applicants may appeal.

“I think now, just in case, we need to arm ourselves with solicitors, barristers and start lobbying just to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

Last year plans for a new village called Inglewood, on fields near Paignton, were rejected by Torbay Council but then overruled by a government inspector who gave outline approval.