IAN HOWARD, of Wolborough Hill, Newton

Abbot, writes:

Too much, too soon.

The announcement that an application has been

submitted to build yet another 1,275 houses on the

scenic pasture belt between here and

Abbotskerswell is more appalling news for a

planning-blighted Newton Abbot.

It is customary to talk of ‘too little, too late’ but

this is way too much, way too soon!

The timing is too aggressive. Newton Abbot

hasn’t yet been provided with the additional jobs

or physical and service infrastructure to sustain

the existing swathe of homes hard up against the

Ashburton Road, the unwelcoming sprawl at

Penns Mount and still more soon to be started at

The number of new houses planned to encircle

the town was grossly inflated, justified by

e xaggerated population growth projections.

Councillor Kelvyn Shantry exposed the flaws

and made a compelling case for a lower forecast.

In an error of judgement, the numbers were sent

back for review by the same consultants who came

up with the original projection.

A motion to further reduce the plan from 12,400

to 10,000 (unanimously endorsed by Teignbridge

Council’s own Overview and Scrutiny committee,

and which would have enabled the Wolborough

NA3 allocation to be deleted) was defeated purely

on the casting vote of a chairman unwilling to play

safe in the face of concerted opposition and opt,

even for the time being, for the lower number.

These homes do not satisfy a local need – they

are not reserved for the indigenous district population

and the meagre, so-called ‘affordable’ proportion

isn’t genuinely affordable.

So the new homes will simply fuel inward

migration to the area and, guess what, the council’s

exaggerated population forecasts may become

a self-fulfilling prophesy.

I have just re-read the nine-page summary of

‘representations’ submitted during the plan ‘consultation’.

Of 5,427 respondents, 3,211 (59 per

cent) commented on the proposals for Newton

Abbot, of whom 3,065 were concerned about Wolborough

in particular. 98.7 per cent of respondents

did NOT support the proposals.

Did the council listen? No, they were dismissed

by an arrogant administration as a ‘certain vocal

minority’ and every objection was trumped by

‘expert’ planner opinion.

The MDA quotes the application: ‘The proposals

will deliver significant benefits’.

Well, applications do, don’t they! I have yet to

find full details on the council website.

But I wonder what they include regarding the

proposed new link road between Ogwell Cross and

the South Devon Highway, cutting through Decoy

Woods in an act of ecological vandalism and generating

noise which, because of the topography,

will be amplified around the Wolborough area.

What about drainage issues and run-off from

hills now to be covered with brick, tarmac and


And how ironic that the plan includes a new

hotel when there is already a derelict one sensibly

located opposite the railway station, and two new

care homes when one at Forde Park has just


A topical view receiving widespread acclaim in

the media is that those in power do not heed the

voice of the people.

I’m tempted to add: ‘no plan would have been

better than this bad plan’.

However, while The Plan is the plan, perhaps

Teignbridge will at least have the decency to wait

before approving further construction until it

comes up for its first five-year review (2019?) –

which, coincidentally, is the same timing as our

next district council elections!