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77 new homes approved for Winkleigh despite ‘overdevelopment’ fears.

Almost 80 homes are to be built in Winkleigh, Torridge, but the proposed new development has faced opposition in some quarters, with residents complaining the village will be overdeveloped.

Of the 77 homes by David G Trenaman and Allison Homes – a mix of houses, flats and bungalows – 23 will be classed as affordable.

At a meeting of Torridge District Council’s planning committee on Thursday, March 2, to discuss the proposal, councilors turned to discuss a five-year supply of housing land, with some people affected the council has no plan.

One described the government’s targets as a “fraud”. Under current legislation, if local authorities do not have a five-year supply of land, they are less able to stop planning applications.

Right now Torridge has enough land for four and a half years of construction according to current information, but that data is several years old.

Development Site – Credit: TDC

Council officers believe that Winkleigh has not allocated enough places to meet its housing needs, so they did not see how the proposal could be refused.

Ward Member for Winkleigh and Conservative Leader Councilor Simon Newton argued that the latest housing supply figures from 2019 should not be taken into account and that the council should wait to make a decision until “more accurate” figures are available.

“It is inaccurate and dangerous to say that there is no supply of land for three or even five years,” he said. “The available data is out of date.”

Cllr R Craigie (Labour, Bideford East) agreed and said the council would look “pretty silly” to approve an unpopular development only to find it had a five-year supply of land.

However, the decision could not be made based on possible future changes, leaving the Planning Commission with few options.

All but two councilors at the meeting voted to approve the new development, with the condition that the developer must take measures to reduce carbon emissions. These measures include the installation of solar panels.

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