Chudleigh Town Council
Chudleigh Town Hall, Market Way, Chudleigh, Devon TQ13 0HL
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Planning application to build 230 dwellings at Rocklands:

On 15 June the Town Council’s planning committee met to consider the application for a development of 230 dwellings on the land known as Rocklands, off Station Hill. It is an application that has generated significant public interest so it was no surprise when 34 members of the public attended the meeting. Those that spoke were all opposed to the application for various reasons but a common thread was a concern about the proposed closure of Oldway Lane. All who spoke should be complimented for the measured and reasonable way in which they voiced their objections.

Following the public participation councillors decided to lodge an objection to the application. That letter of objection is reproduced below.

Ref: 17/01099/MAJ: Land at NGR 285932 78878, Station Hill, Chudleigh: Reserved matters approval for 218 dwellings and siting of 12 custom-build plots.

The Town Council considered this application at a meeting of the planning committee on 15 June.

Councillors wish to lodge an objection to the application for the following reasons:-

1)You will have noted from the number of objections on the portal that there is a real community concern about the proposal to close Oldway Lane to through traffic. This proposal, if actioned, will lead to increased traffic volumes using the junction at the top of Oldway. This is a far from ideal situation given the locating of the junction in the middle of the chicane. This is likely to lead to significant congestion during the busier periods of the day. This junction is particularly difficult for traffic trying to turn right out of Oldway so increased traffic volumes will only make this more difficult.

He other major concern is that the proposed closure would make the town overly reliant on the main through route encompassing Station Hill, Parade and Fore Street. Should any traffic incident render any of these roads impassable for a period of time then the estates of Moorview, Beechwood and Twindlebeer would be inaccessible. The closure of the secondary route for entering and leaving the town would seem to be an unnecessary step that is likely to create problems in the future.

2)Councillors noted the arboricultural objection raised by Mark Waddams. He advises that plots 82-84 are too close to a mature Oak tree that is to be retained. Councillors would wish to see a re-positioning of these plots to the satisfaction of the Tree Officer.

3)The objection raised by the Biodiversity Officer, Stephen Carroll, is of particular concern to councillors. The development site is in close proximity to a roost used by Greater Horseshoe Bats and the site forms part of their foraging range. It is, therefore, of great concern that the mitigation measures contained in the outline application, 13/01062/MAJ, are not mirrored in their entirety in this application. This is unacceptable. We fully support the requirements that Stephen Carroll set out in his objection submission. We would also wish to see confirmation from Natural England that they are content before any planning consent is granted.

4)Councillors would wish to see confirmation from South west Water that the sewage treatment works can cope with the additional volumes that this new development will generate.

5)The single pavement, linking Station Hill to the town, is very narrow and is inadequate for the volume of pedestrians currently using it. This development would significantly increase these volumes necessitating an enhanced and widened pavement to ensure adequate connectivity to the town.

6)Councillors believe that the vehicular access off Station Hill is inadequate and potentially dangerous given the volumes of traffic movements that the development will generate. Councillors would like to see a second access/exit from the development built into the site plans – perhaps onto Oldway – so that there is alternative access if an incident occurs that renders the Station Hill access temporarily unusable.

7)Finally, there is a concern that the general infrastructure within the town is inadequate to serve a development of this size.

So what happens next? It is important to understand that the principle of development on the site was determined when the outline planning application received consent some three years ago. What is now being determined is the detail relating to the proposed development. The next step in the planning process is for the application to be considered by the District Council’s Development Control Committee. This committee consists of District Councillors rather than officers. They will look at the evidence provided by the statutory consultees and of the comments lodged on the planning portal by members of the public. They will also receive advice from the planning officers. The Committee will then reach a decision on whether to approve or reject the application. If the latter happens then the developer has the option of revising the application and resubmitting it, having taken steps to mitigate the concerns that led the committee to reject the application. Alternatively, they can appeal against the decision and see if a Planning Inspector takes a different view.

In the meantime town councillors have made arrangements to meet with County Council Highways officers to discuss whether the proposal to close Oldway Lane is really necessary.