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Decision delayed over Totnes riverside housing scheme

By Herald Express  |  Posted: November 17, 2012

PROTEST: Protesters from Bridgetown outside South Hams council

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PROTESTERS against a massive riverside housing scheme have been left to fight another day after council planners asked for more time making their minds up.

Residents in Bridgetown, Totnes, are opposed to Linden Homes wanting to build 100 houses on land near the River Dart.

Opponents claim the development would generate up to 600 more cars journeys through Bridgetown which is already congested, especially near the local primary school.

The Newton Abbot-based developer is seeking outline permission for a mixed development including 100 dwellings, up to 5,350sq metres of office and light industrial space, up to 60 units of extra care accommodation and associated communal facilities.

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The outline plans would include public open space with potential for an orchard and allotments.

The application includes a new vehicular access on land at the far end of the development which was not included in the original local plan.

The controversial site stands on the south side of the River Dart opposite the Baltic Wharf.

Addressing South Hams District Council's planning committee, Bridgetown resident Heather Burwin said: "You're in charge of planning, not Linden Homes and not your planning department.

"This site can be developed for housing and most people do not object to the 100 houses being proposed but we object to the transport issues."

The opponents claim the application is virtually identical to another one submitted a few weeks ago by Linden Homes which was turned down by the planning committee.

Mrs Burwin said 85 per cent of Bridgetown residents were opposed to the scheme and some 1,000 protest signatures had been sent to the council. That is almost one per household, in the town.

Simon Collier, the agent acting for Linden Homes, told the council that as part of the deal the company would give the authority £500,000 towards improving the A385 Torbay Road junction, £260,000 towards the provision of off-site sport facilities, £284,038 towards the provision of education, payable before the occupation of 50 per cent of the homes, and highway works to include the provision of the Weston Lane link and a pedestrian link from the site to Landsdowne Park.

He told the council: "The report makes it clear that your officers are happy with it.

"There is no objection from statutory consultees.

"We believe the benefits of the proposal will outweigh any harm.

"This will provide affordable housing, 100 jobs and a 60-bed care facility."

But the councillors on the planning committee voted unanimously to defer making a decision until a full site visit has been organised.

Ward councillor Judy Westacott said: "You are all aware of the strength of feelings in the Bridgetown area. This is the largest development to take place in the area for many years.

"The main point of contention is the new single access road that will increase traffic through a residential area past the local primary school, the impact on the environment and the 400 or 600 extra car journeys it could generate a day."

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