“Cavanna Homes already has outline permission for the site off King Alfred Way, but East Devon District Council (EDDC) refused its reserved matters proposals due to a lack of ‘pepper-potting’.
The Planning Inspectorate has overturned the decision, arguing the authority’s Local Plan policy – intended to encourage integration between market-rate and ‘affordable’ homes – lacks ‘substantive evidence’ on its specific requirements.
In his report, inspector Andrew Dawe said Cavanna Homes, in a joint application with Pencleave 2, had modified the distribution of the 16 ‘affordable’ homes in a way that was materially different from a previous application.
He said two sheltered housing providers were opposed to ‘pepper-potting’ and supported clustering to cut costs.
As a result, Mr Dawe said he was satisfied that an acceptable level of integration could be achieved and moved to approve the reserved matters application.
District councillor Val Ranger previously argued the importance of getting this ‘major development right’.
Responding to the decision, she said: “This just shows the Local Plan is not worth the paper it’s written on. The social housing is not dispersed throughout the site. This will only encourage [landowner] Clinton Devon Estates to continue to lobby the Government that they should be able to build anywhere in the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.”
An EDDC spokeswoman said: “It is unfortunate that the inspector has overturned the council’s decision on this matter, however, the extent to which affordable homes should be mixed in with market housing within a site is a grey area in planning. While the decision does not lead to the level of integration that we had hoped to achieve on this site, it is good that the inspector accepted the principle of what we were trying to achieve, and it does at least provide some clarity over what inspectors consider acceptable to guide consideration of other schemes in the district.”