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HONITON: Hayne Lane – housing development plans stall

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Plans to build 300 new houses on the edge of Honiton have been stalled, after district councillors demanded further inspections of the proposed site.
Twelve hectares of land west of Hayne Lane between Honiton and Gittisham has been eyed by developer Wellbeck Strategic Land LLP, which is proposing to build 300 new homes on the site, and the plans were considered by East Devon District Council’s Development Management Committee this week.
But following confusion over the stance of highways chiefs, who had previously opposed the application but were now supporting it, councillors demanded they revisit the site for further inspection before making a final decision.
Concerned residents as well as local town and parish councillors made impassioned pleas at the meeting for the committee to reject the plans, which have already been refused support by Honiton Town Council.
The main objections raised were the site’s unsustainability due to its isolation from amenities in Honiton town centre – which is over a mile away with limited public transport links – and the potential for traffic congestion in and around the single track Hayne Lane.
Speaking on behalf of Honiton Town Council, Councillor John Taylor said: “The result of this application would be an isolated, linear development, separated from services in Honiton and Gittisham village.
“An increase in road traffic would also bring the sustainability of the site into serious question – Hayne Lane and the surrounding area are unsuitable for an increase in vehicle usage.
“Any application should identify local need rather than allow developers to capitalise on gaps in the Local Plan.”
Committee members also heard it would be “premature” to authorise building on a reserve site – which would only usually be considered once all other sites have been ruled out – and that building on an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) outside the town’s built-up area boundary was unsuitable.
Councillor Mike Allen, Honiton’s ward member on EDDC and a member of the Development Management Committee, told the meeting he was concerned by the potential lack of health and education provision available to residents of the site.
He said: “There is not sufficient health capacity for this development in Honiton and the only school places available are at Honiton Primary, which is nearly two miles away and not accessible on foot.”
The committee also heard that Devon County Council’s education authority had requested £850,000 to compensate for school provision should the application be approved.
Councillor Allen added: “Let’s be real – in terms of accessibility to services, this fails. The fact that the education authority has asked for this money is indicative that this development is unsustainable.
“The site is going to cover farmland with the only access from a single track road under a height-restricted railway bridge – we would not normally approve this application in the slightest.”
Councillor David Key, vice chairman of the committee, agreed that access to the site was inadequate and said he was “baffled” by the decision of highways officials to support the plans.
He said: “I go up Hayne Lane at least once a week and it is congested quite often – it makes me wonder if Highways have just done this with a map in their office. It is absolutely ridiculous what they are saying. It really is out of the question.”
Highways officials will visit the site again before a final decision is made.


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