A PLANNING application for 132 homes in Westward Ho! has been criticised as being “fraudulent” and “barmy” by Northam town councillors.
The town council planning committee met at a special meeting held on Wednesday night at Northam Town Council offices in Windmill Lane.
They discussed the application submitted to Torridge District Council by developers Wainhomes for a development of homes and a retail unit in Buckleigh Road.
The town council previously considered the application a few weeks ago when they objected to it, but a revised application had since been submitted with the addition of a sports area.
Nearly 20 members of the public against the development attended the meeting and five of them addressed the councillors.
Steve Calland, the chairman of the Westward Ho! Resident’s Association, who is also part of the subcommittee dealing with the proposed development, explained why people had objected so strongly.
He said the density of the development was the main issue, along with the roads surrounding the site being unable to cope with extra demand.
He added: “Why are we being subjected to a density greater than anywhere else in the area?
“We were told by the officer dealing with it at Torridge that the density of it was too high, but then a few months told that it was fine.”
Another issue those against the scheme are concerned by is that the site is not included in the current local plan.
Chris Pugsley said: “What is the point of have a local plan if you don’t adhere to it?
“Holiday makers said the road into the village is congested as it is.”
Alan Powell added: “This will completely change what Westward Ho! is all about”
The planning committee then debated the matter.
Councillor Roger Tisdale said: “It is a barmy application. To build houses so close to the others when there is no employment, we have put the cart before the horse.”
Councillor Barry Mason, the mayor of Northam, said: “I’m extremely disappointed with the attitude of the officer who said one thing about this application and then changed his mind.”
The councillors voted unanimously to refuse the application as consultees.
The planning officer at Torridge District Councildealing with the application Lewis Andrews said: "I attended a meeting with residents where they expressed concern about the density of the development. I agreed it was high, but said there needs to be harm demonstrated.
"I asked the developers if the density could be reduced, but they said this would affect the % of social housing and it was considered this was counter-productive.
"As Officers, we do not consider that the density proposed is harmful and therefore could not form the basis of any refusal of planning permission."
Peter Crawford, from Wainhomes, said: "We are disappointed the town council doesn't feel they support the application.
"This is a not a high density scheme."
The development will now be considered by Torridge District Council’s plans committee in the coming months.