Objectors 'gutted' as new village allowed on farmland near Paignton
- Credit: Stride Treglown
Plans for a new village on fields near Paignton have been given permission by an inspector.
The Government-appointed official has allowed an appeal by developers for the site known as Inglewood.
The scheme was opposed by Torbay Council because of its impact on the landscape.
Evidence for the appeal was heard at an online planning inquiry in January.
In a decision published on Monday, Inspector Andrew Dawe has given outline permission for up to 373 homes, a pub and primary school on land alongside Brixham Road near White Rock.
Local councillor Karen Kennedy said the neighbourhood forum for the area was ‘gutted’ by the decision.
The appeal was brought by Abacus Projects Ltd/Deeley Freed Ltd after the council failed to make a decision in time.
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The council’s planning committee later decided that it would have refused the scheme because of its effect on the landscape.
The site is on farmland outside the designated Future Growth Area and is not identified for housing the Brixham Peninsula Neighbourhood Plan.
It is also close to the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Objectors said the development would cause unacceptable harm to the setting of the protected landscape and the open space between Paignton and Brixham.
The inspector accepted the scheme would cause some harm to the landscape character and appearance of the area.
It would also go against local planning policies by filling part of the 'settlement gap' of open countryside.
But he said the limited harm to the landscape was not enough to justify rejecting the application.
The inspector said the council could not meet Government rules to show a five-year or three-year supply of housing sites.
That meant the balance for decision-making must be tipped in favour of approving new homes.
He said the benefits of the scheme, taking into account the ‘tilted balance’, outweighed the harm and it should be approved.
The inspector set out a series of planning conditions, including financial contributions towards healthcare costs to cope with extra demand from the new residents.
The inspector said he was responding to concerns from the local NHS that services were already at full capacity.
He said proposed ecology measures would avoid harm to the protected greater horseshoe bats in the South Hams Special Area of Conservation.
The benefits included extra homes, with 30 per cent classed as affordable housing.
Other benefits were a primary school site, new pub, public open spaces, countryside access, allotments, new jobs, and improved biodiversity.
The inspector concluded in a 36-page decision document that taking into account the planning rules, 'the adverse impacts of granting planning permission relating to the main issues would not significantly and demonstrably outweigh' the benefits.
Independent councillor Karen Kennedy, who represents Churston with Galmpton, said the main reason for the appeal being allowed was the council’s lack of identified housing sites.
The councillor said: “Unfortunately the Inglewood appeal has been allowed. This means 375 houses on our green fields between the car boot field and the brow of the hill before White Rock. The neighbourhood forum is gutted.”