Town council resists ‘absurd’ plan for new housing developments

Proposals to build nearly 250 new homes in Ottery St Mary are being opposed by the town council. 

Philippa Davies

Councillors argue that Ottery cannot possibly absorb such a large population increase without the necessary infrastructure – schools, doctors’ surgeries and public amenities. 

East Devon District Council (EDDC) has identified five sites in Ottery as suitable for a total of 248 homes, as part of its proposals to meet Government housing provision targets across the district. They are Barrack Farm, Thorne Farm, land north and south of Salston Barton, land at Bylands, Slade Road and land at Strawberry Lane. Potential development sites in Exmouth, Honiton, Axminster, Seaton and Sidmouth have also been identified. 

But at an extraordinary meeting of the town council on Tuesday, August 30, councillors rejected all five, and questioned why Ottery was being earmarked for a disproportionately large number of new homes, compared to the other towns. 

Cllr Roger Giles said: “Honiton, which is two and a half times larger than Ottery, and has a railway station from which it is possible to reach the heart of Exeter in less than half an hour, is scheduled to receive a smaller number of dwellings – 182 compared to 248.” 

He pointed out that the plans would see Exmouth, almost 10 times the size of Ottery, having only 302 homes built. 

He said it is also ‘distinctly odd’ that greenfield sites in Ottery have been chosen, when brownfield sites in Honiton are available. 

Speaking to the Herald after the meeting, he described the proposals as ‘absurd’ and ‘of very great concern’.

Ottery Town Council has already written to the leader of EDDC, Cllr Paul Arnott, pointing out that both the local primary school and The King’s School are already at capacity and the Coleridge Medical Centre is struggling. The council says Ottery is not against new housing, but wants a modest amount of it, and time for the necessary infrastructure to be put in place. 

The letter was read out at Monday’s meeting, which was attended by several members of the public who said they supported the council’s position. 

The housing proposals are part of EDDC’s Local Plan for the period 2020 to 2040. Ottery councillors want EDDC to amend the housing proposals for their town before the plan goes out for public consultation in mid-October. 


2 thoughts on “Town council resists ‘absurd’ plan for new housing developments

  1. In Toryworld, just because something is absurd, doesn’t mean it won’t happen. If it helps to fill the pockets of Conservative Party donors who will then help consolidate the Party’s grip on power, it will get consent eventually even if the entire local political apparatus is opposed. It will do nothing to address the housing crisis – it will just undermine the existing economy and trample over already near-death public services.

    Oh – and what happened to the Local Plan we already have in Ottery- which runs until 2031, and which was forged amid great anxiety and loud promises that this would settle our future housing needs. Not to mention the even more earnest application of time and effort to our Neighbourhood Plan which sought to be even more reassuring about planning control and our local defences against over-development.

    The Southwest is an ideal place for developers to sell houses, but most often not to people who live here and need to buy one. The population in East Devon has gone up more than any other local area in the Southwest bar one (Tewkesbury) – up 13.8% in last ten years – the national average is 6.3%- the Southwest in this instance includes Gloucestershire. So it’s not as if we haven’t done our bit building houses. But it doesn’t seems to have helped with the shortage of affordable homes, does it? Turns out that a housing crisis is just a nice little earner for Development companies, who know HMG will be only too happy to ask them for more of what didn’t work last time (I think you posted about the population figures, Owl).

    District Council must hold its nerve to see off this latest effort to desecrate East Devon for the profit of a few but to the detriment of all the rest of us.


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