Northam planning application sparks fireworks among locals

Northam & Appledore residents give ‘thumbs-down’ to 199 home development proposal

NORTHAMConcerned local residents and an Alpaca Llama rallied last Sunday morning to condemn a proposed development on the Northam / Appledore border in Bideford.

Torridge District Council received an application from Keith Curtis at RGP Architects Ltd. recently to build 199 houses at the site which locals say is on the only green border between the two villages. A similar application was rejected several years ago.

Some locals complained they received official notification from the council as late as last week and were shocked to only be given until November 7th to object, although TDC also said objections would be heard after that date.

That added to conjecture that discovering a local councillor owns two garages at the top of the site that could be bulldozed to offer additional site access at Tomouth Road fuelled speculation of a possible conflict of interest issue in the future.

One resident said that one of the main objections is lack of suitable highway infrastructure and environmental impact including sewage and surface water attenuation if the ground conditions do not permit soakage. Also noted was that no ecology survey is associated with the application.

Concerns were also raised as it was noted that the traffic pressure on the road at Bloody Corner and other bottlenecks would cause mass congestion that would effect traffic all the way up to Hayward roundabout and beyond.

At the gathering the proposed access point on Wooda Road was also widely criticised due to steepness and the limited visibility when exiting the proposed junction in the Babcock shipyard direction as well as the track’s gradient which should be no more than 1:10. The concern is that the only way visibility could be created would be to cut into the existing hedge but this is not marked by the red border on the plan of the proposed site. Road widening was also a hot topic.

A concerned Mother commented that services at North Devon district hospital have been recently limited and that the entire region is one of the 11 most financially-challenged “healthcare economies” in the country, not to mention the problem of placing new school students into a system that’s already over burdened.

Another critic mentioned that after reading both the location plan and the proposed site plan he found they did not correlate and photos on the council’s website provided by the architects on marked MONTAGE VIEW FROM INSTOW and MONTAGE VIEW FROM WESTLEIGH barely show the site at all which is misleading.

The rally was organised by locals who formed a Facebook group to coordinate their activities called “NO to Wooda Rd Development”. Raymond Goldsmith, a spokesman for the group which exceeds 300 members, said a leaflet and social media campaign has been launched and other concerned residents are more than welcome to join the group: NO to Wooda Rd Development Facebook group

The application reference is 1/0979/2016/OUTM

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