PLANS for 132 new homes on the edge of Westward Ho! are set to be approved after Torridge District Council announced it would not contest the developer’s appeal.
The announcement was made on the first day of the appeal hearing on Tuesday.
If approved, the plans will see the construction of 132 homes, two shops and a sports area on land adjacent to Cornborough and Buckleigh roads.
Making his opening remarks, Peter Wadsley, who represented Torridge District Council, said the development could only be refused if “the disadvantages significantly and demonstratively outweigh the advantages”.
He said: “The members had to consider whether that quite high threshold could be reached.
“They came to the conclusion that it couldn’t be.
“In view of those circumstances it was decided that it wouldn’t be right to resist the appeal any further.”
The announcement follows the district council’s decision to refuse plans for a second identical application.
The change in stance was met with anger from many residents who packed the chamber for the hearing.
John Stockdale, who represented the Buckleigh and Cornborough Road Residents’ Committee during the meeting, said he was shocked by the decision.
“I was not aware that there was any resolution to overturn the decision,” he said.
“The council can’t simply turn up here today and say that they decided not to oppose this appeal.
“They are elected members and they chose to make that decision after due deliberation.
“But the planning committee was summoned before officers and the decision was made behind closed doors.
“You see nothing in the documents to say the wherefore behind this.”
Mr Stockdale also insisted there were substantial grounds to refuse the application.
However, Sasha White, who represented Wainhomes during the meeting, said the plans should have been approved on the first occasion.
He said: “The local planning authority has a significant problem.
“It doesn’t have enough housing to meet its five year land supply requirement.
“This is a proposal that should have been granted planning permission. Officers recommended consent on two occasions.
“But the local planning authority should be commended for having the courage to realise that the wrong decision had been taken.”
A site visit is due to take place this month, before the results of the appeal are published.