West Hill housing developer responds to local concerns

The developer who wants to build 23 homes on the outskirts of West Hill is hoping to allay the concerns of the parish council and other local residents. 

Convinced? – Owl

Philippa Davies www.sidmouthherald.co.uk

Morrish Homes has applied for outline planning permission for a site off Oak Road – but the parish council is strongly opposing the scheme, and 96 objections have been submitted to East Devon District Council’s website. 

The concerns include the safety aspects of extra traffic using Higher Broad Oak Road, a narrow country lane, to reach West Hill, and Oak Road, also a narrow, tree-lined lane. Residents are also concerned about the potential loss of mature trees, and said the village school, doctor and dentist would be unable to cope with the extra demand. Many objectors feel that the site is too far from the village amenities, with some questioning the distances stated in the planning application.  

In response Morrish Homes has said: “There is a pressing need for more homes in East Devon and housing delivery in the district is falling short. The land at Oak Road is a suitable site for a well-screened, relatively low-density and beautifully designed development. Current planning policy indicates that the site is sufficiently close to services and amenities along a route that is already regularly walked and cycled. As we have demonstrated in our submitted surveys and reports to East Devon District Council alongside our planning application, traffic can be safely accommodated on the local road network.” 

The company said the walking distances to local amenities include 1.3km to a convenience store, 1.4km to the post office, 1.7km to West Hill Primary School and 2km to St Michael’s Church. It has offered to make ‘appropriate financial contributions’ to the local authority to ensure that public services such as education will be able to accommodate the new residents.  

On environmental issues, Morrish Homes said: “Independent ecologists have confirmed that any potential impacts on protected wildlife species can be successfully mitigated. The retention of native trees and hedges, extra planting and open space provision will support biodiversity and screen the development, maintaining the character of West Hill as a ‘woodland village’. We want to stress that no trees will be felled.” 

The company said access to the site will feature a new banked hedge sweeping into the development, and there will be additional planting to screen the new homes from view, which will also benefit local wildlife.