Plans for homes near A38 refused

By Ollie Heptinstall   |   Local Democracy Reporter   |
Wednesday 23rd March 2022 6:36 pm
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Riseley Nurseries homes plan (Image: Planning documents)
LDR March 2022
Riseley Nurseries homes plan (Image: Planning documents). (Teignbridge Council )

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PLANS to build eight homes at a former garden centre next to the A38 in Teignbridge have been thrown out.

Goodstone Estates Ltd wanted to build the properties at the old Riseley Nurseries near Bickington which, following its closure, is currently an overgrown site with unused greenhouses.

However Teignbridge District Council’s planning committee overwhelmingly voted against the application after being told it would fall foul of several policies, including its ‘unsustainable’ location.

The developer proposed half of the eight homes in the hamlet of Goodstone – a short walk from the A38 – would be classed as ‘affordable’ and that all would be of high energy efficiency standards with solar panels and air source heat pumps.

Speaking in support, John Rooney from Stokes Morgan Planning, which is also involved in the application, said: ‘National planning policy supports the creation of mixed and balanced communities. At present, Goodstone has no affordable housing.’

He claimed the location was more sustainable than parts of nearby Bickington and there were good bus services on the A38.

On potential safety concerns and the ease of catching buses on the road, also known as the Devon Expressway, Mr Rooney added: ‘If the bus stops weren’t safe to use, they wouldn’t have been put there in the first place.’

But a planning officer’s report to the committee disagreed, stating: ‘There are no recognised cycle routes connecting the site to local town centres, the nearest bus stops are via routes that have no footpath or street lighting and the distance between the site and local amenities is prohibitive to walking.’

They also said that the necessary planning obligation had not been provided to ensure the affordable homes stay that way forever, leaving the risk of them potentially becoming open market homes down the line.

The committee’s refusal came despite Councillor John Nutley (Lib Dem, Ashburton & Buckfastleigh) speaking in support, quoting a resident who said it would improve the current ‘eyesore’ while offering affordable housing to young people.

He added the developer had ‘gone a long way in helping to reduce carbon emissions’ and that Devon County Council’s highways department had raised no objections to the plan.

But Councillor Mike Haines (Independent, Kerswell-with-Coombe) pointed out the application’s non-compliance with planning policies, including it falling outside a settlement and that is has not been allocated as part of Teignbridge’s local plan.

The planning officer agreed, concluding: ‘There is no school, no shops, no services, no facilities and the only way you access a bus stop is walking up a lane – walking on a grass verge of a very busy highway or crossing the carriage way of a very busy highway to access a bus stop.’

He continued:  ‘even our climate change officer said, even with the measures the applicant put in to try and make this development more sustainable, it doesn’t outweigh the unsustainable location of the site.’

After weighing up the pros and cons, Councillor Jackie Hook (Lib Dem, Bushell) added: ‘It’s not completely clear cut, but for me I’m very much coming down on the side of we must refuse this on the basis of unsustainable development in the countryside.’

The committee refused the application by 11 votes to three.

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