A PLAN for 92 homes and 1,400 square metres of employment land at Glenwood Farm in Roundswell has been given approval, in principle, by North Devon Council.
The plan will see the homes built between the A39 and Roundswell estate, on the edge of Roundswell Business Park, and near to the Tews Lane site, where there’s existing planning permission for more than 300 homes.
Debate over the plan centred on whether the road network around the site would be able to cope with the inevitable increase in traffic once the two estates are built.
Some members of North Devon Council’s planning committee, which debated the plan this morning, registered concern about traffic increases and attempted to refuse permission for the plan.
But they were outvoted by members who thought the plan represented good use of land which was allocated as employment land 13 years ago, but which has never attracted any interest from employers.
Ward member for the area Rodney Cann spoke to say he objected in the strongest of terms.
“It was suggested this land would be for employment and I’m sceptical about the county council’s backing of the plan,” he said.
“I think it opens up land further west which the county owns for development.
“With the development at Tews Lane and this one I think it’s a recipe for disaster.”
Chris Turner agreed, and said: “There is insufficient highway capacity.
“I have a great deal of local knowledge and this proposal will cause Old Bideford Road to fail and become gridlocked.”
Planning officer Keith Bines pointed out how the plan included provision for an access directly onto the A39, but Mr Turner was unimpressed.
“The planning manager’s job is to facilitate development,” he said. “So we will always be told any problems can be overcome. I disagree.”
But Paul Yabsley didn’t. “Once Tews Lane is built the prospect of industrial use of this land becomes less appealing,” he said. “I think we need to approve this.”
And seven other members of the council agreed, voting for approval of the plan.
Joe Tucker appeared to sum up the feeling of the committee when he said: “We’re in a position where highways are ok with the plan, rightly or wrongly. If it goes to appeal that wouldn’t stand up very well against our decision to refuse.
“In the recommendation of our officers to approve there’s enough leeway for the plan to come back to us if there are problems.”