IAN HOWARD, of Wolborough Hill, Newton
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
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!