Exclusive by Sue Read
More than 30 people who live in the area, mainly Queen Elizabeth Drive, were at the meeting. Councillors were agreed that the application site was not in Mid Devon District Council’s Local Plan, did not conform with the ethos of the Local Plan, was over development and on a side of Crediton the town council would not want developed.
The outline application was from Barratt Homes through Mr M Rees of LRM Planning at Dean Clarke House, Southernhay, Exeter.
As well as up to 120 dwellings, it was asking for public open space, vehicle access and associated infrastructure on land north of Queen Elizabeth Drive, Barnstaple Cross (sic).
Speaking for the QE Drive residents, Mrs Linda Scarbrough asked why this was even up for consideration when it was not in the Local Plan, never had been and was a brownfield site?
Cllr Bob Wright, also a member of the district council, agreed it was a brownfield site and not in the Local Plan. He said it had been discussed at a recent meeting of Crediton Hamlets Parish Council, in whose area it was, but people said they had not been aware of that, it had not been well publicised.
Cllr Wright added that the district council’s senior planning officer would be recommending the plan be refused for those reasons plus traffic it would generate and lack of infrastructure, which the site owner and developer were aware of but apparently were willing to take that risk.
Cllr John Downes, also a member of the district council, explained that it did not yet have a ratified Local Plan, that had now been pushed back until probably some time early next year, a fact opportunist developers knew.
Added to this was that the government was in favour of more homes being built. Cllr Downes said that the three planning applications such as this one currently being looked at were outside Crediton Town Council area and were because the district council did not have a ratified Local Plan which was not really its fault.
Cllr Liz Brookes-Hocking explained that the district council had “expected its Local Plan to be signed and sealed” by now but then ideas for Junction 27 came up with the result that more legal advice was being sought. “That is just one of those things,” she added.
Cllr Nick Way told the residents that if they were objecting they should put all their points because, if this went to appeal, the government inspector would see their letters.
A member of the public wondered if an appeal would cost the district council a lot of money. Town council chairman Cllr Frank Letch said that was a decision the district members would take.
It was suggested perhaps asking Hamlets council to reconsider its “no comment” decision on this plan.
Town councillors voted unanimously to recommend an objection to the application, the reasons given that the application “is not in conformity with the Local Plan and there is a lack of connectivity to the rest of the settlement.”
Councillors gave a “no objection” comment to the following planning applications:
Erection of a single storey and two-storey extensions to 14 Cromwells Meadow.
Variation of Condition 2 of planning permission 16/00547/FULL to allow substitute plans for a change of design for Plot 3 at Okefield House, Deep Lane.
Conversion of dwelling into two dwellings at 4B High Street plus Listed Building consent.
Erection of a dwelling and alterations to the existing vehicle access at 27 Downeshead Lane.
A revised plan for the formation of home delivery facility comprising a single storey link corridor from the store to a four-van loading canopy, service yard and associated modifications to the car park layout at Tesco, Joseph Locke Way, Crediton.
Erection of a two-storey extension plus two dormer windows at 1 Cockles Rise.
Approval was recommended for a Listed Building application to replace the windows on the rear of 9 Union Road, Crediton.
Erection of two new steel fabricated dug-outs on the west side of the football pitch at Crediton United AFC ground on Commercial Road, Lords Meadow Industrial Estate following removal of the existing dug-outs.
It was noted that the district council had approved a rear extension and other work at 25 Exeter Road, erection of a dwelling at 2 Golden Joy and retention of a 1.8m high fence on a block wall on the west boundary and to put up an 1.8m fence on an existing block wall on the north boundary at Hilary, Barnfield.
It was agreed to support TAP (Town and Parish) fund applications from Crediton Methodist Church, Crediton Area History and Museum Society and Crediton Town Team.
The council also agreed to provide a letter of support for Crediton Methodist Church for the refurbishment project to transform the Methodist Church building into a centre.
There was a query whether this sort of centre was needed in Crediton but members said there had been problems when trying to find a suitable central place for activities such as the children’s fancy dress parade at Christmas.
It was agreed to accept outstanding funds of £6,732.03 from the Newcombes Meadow Community Group following its dissolution. This would be ring-fenced for use solely in that park.
Cllr John Ross reported that the top part of the footpath from Brays Close to Union Terrace had been damaged.
Cllr Wright reported that Crediton Farmers’ Market had won a Devon Food and Drink award.
Having cleared out a shed recently, Cllr Downes put some things outside his house with a sign saying “Free please take” but someone took the sign.
He would be grateful for its return.
Cllr Way, also a county and district member, said he understood that the former St Lawrence Home on Churchill Drive, owned by the county council, was under offer of sale pending a planning application to turn it into flats.
He added that he knew various groups, including QE School, had been interested in buying the building but the county council was determined to sell it.