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HONITON: Fight against housing development continues

Thursday, 12 June 2014


Objections to a major new housing development on the outskirts of Honiton will be renewed in a letter to the town’s MP Neil Parish, it was decided this week. Town councillors agreed to write to the MP to voice their concerns about a 300-home development – approved by district council planning chiefs in April – to be built on land near Hayne Lane. The controversial development will straddle land between Honiton and Gittisham, whose parish council has already set out its discontent about the plans following a public meeting held in the village last month. Although the proposals have already been given the go ahead, residents have vowed to continue the fight against the development – and Honiton councillors have now opted to back calls for a review. Speaking at a recent meeting of the town council’s planning committee, Councillor John Zarczynski, Deputy Mayor and committee chairman, said: “There is strong feeling in the village (Gittisham) about the development at Hayne Lane and they are doing everything they possibly can to object to it – although they have a mountain to climb. “I feel we should offer any support that we can and write our own letter to Neil Parish to express our strong opposition to this development.” Residents and councillors expressed their objections to the plans at a series of meetings, following the application by Welbeck Strategic Land LLP. A key area of concern is the distance between the site for the new homes and amenities in Honiton town centre, which campaigners have argued will be unsustainable. But East Devon District Council’s development management committee approved the application earlier this year and work is set to get underway. Councillor Zarczynski added: “Honiton does need more housing for youngsters – and more affordable housing. “Home ownership is out of reach for many young people, especially when you look at the levels of income in this area. At some stage we have got to be looking at reviewing Honiton’s boundaries. “Everything is being pushed to the west of the boundary and nothing is happening to the east. “All we can do now is support Gittisham and we must express in strong terms to our MP how we feel.” Further objections to the development could lead to a judicial review, which may require financial contributions from the council of up to £15,000. And Councillor Roy Coombs warned that offering support at this stage could mislead Gittisham Parish Council. He added: “Surely this could be heading to a judicial review – are we expected to back that financially? “We do not want to appear to support Gittisham and then find we have to back off because we cannot meet the costs. They could be looking to Honiton for funding support.” Councillor Zarczynski said the council would review its commitment as developments unfolded.

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