WINKLEIGH is to get 71 new homes.

Planners have given unanimous support despite local concerns over the scheme’s urban appearance.

Developers, Lovell, tweaked its proposal for the site at Chulmleigh Road after it was turned down for planning permission last summer by Torridge District Council.

Changes included more one and two bed properties and making sure the 21 affordable homes were not distinguishable from the open market ones.

The developers also added in landscaping and layout changes, with visual evidence to show less harm to nearby Court Castle, an ancient monument, satisfying Historic England concerns.

The homes include bungalows, terraces, flats and larger detached houses.

A village car park to serve the town centre is being proposed by Lovell and will be offered to Winkleigh Parish Council, and four footpaths will link to Chulmleigh Road, The Kings Meadow/Farm estate and onto the main A3124.

A community woodland has been dropped from the scheme.

Torridge’s plans’ committee heard objections from the parish council which said little had changed from the previous application and that it didn’t meet the aspirations of the village neighbourhood plan.

It said the design was urban, being more suited to the suburbs rather than a village.

Chair of the parish council Angela Findlay noted the “rows of regimented housing”.

She added: “It’s pattern book standard design which should be avoided” and that an opportunity to create a better design concept for the village had been missed.

“Torridge District Council should not be asking if it is good enough to approve but if it is bad enough to be refused.”

She said there had been little in the way of consultation with the parish council.

Chairman of Winkleigh War Memorial Recreational Field, Mike Wilson, welcomed a pedestrian crossing on the busy main road and footpaths to access village facilities.

“At the moment people have to drive everywhere. This will encourage them to walk. Winkleigh could be a completely different place because of this, let’s crack on with it,” he said.

Resident and former parish councillor Alice Turner said Winkleigh needed to embrace the new homes in order to thrive. She welcomed the mix of housing which would “benefit our community”.

Councillor Simon Newton (Con, Winkleigh) said the land had been allocated for homes for a long time and he supported the plan, given the changes, but he was critical of the way the developers had gone about the process.

“Had the developers, who have the reputation as a fine builder, handled themselves differently at the community engagement stage, perhaps none of these objections and this second airing would have occurred,” he said.

He believes its failure to “acknowledge or even reference” the existence of a newly made neighbourhood plan after the village had invested so much time and effort creating one was a “fatal mistake”.

He said the developer had presented the application as a “fait accompli,” with no opportunity to ask questions which was “no way to carry your future neighbours with you”.

Alison Stephenson