MID Devon District Council has voted to allocate land at Junction 27 of the M5 for leisure, tourism and retail use.

The decision was made after much debate at a packed council meeting in Tiverton on Thursday, September 22, including more than an hour of questions from the public.

The resultant vote saw it carried by 27-10 in favour of allocating the land and carrying out the necessary public consultation on this before submitting the Local Plan to government in March.

Speaking after the meeting, Leader of the Council, Clive Eginton, said: “This is a significant decision for the council and for the future of Mid Devon.

“I am delighted that the council has chosen to positively seek development at this location for a range of uses that have the potential to transform our tourism and leisure offering and make a statement about Mid Devon’s ambitions for the future.

“I now look forward to finalising our plan and meeting the Government’s deadline for plan submission.”

The decision effectively advances a plan by Eden Westwood to build a £200 million leisure, retail and tourism development at the location.

It had been held up because the proposal was not included in the Local Plan.

The scheme is to include an artificial surfing lake, hotel, outdoor leisure activities, designer outlet village, traveller services and also be a centre for agriculture and horticulture.

Local businesses, say the applicants, will be able to supply Eden Westwood.

One of those who opposed the allocation, Cllr Jenny Roach (Silverton) said at the meeting that MDDC had spent years trying to build Tiverton, Crediton and Cullompton and believed that a designer village would “kill” these towns.

Alan Quick