NEARLY 80 homes are set to be built in Winkleigh in Torridge, but the proposed new development hasn’t gone down well in some parts, with residents complaining the village will become overdeveloped.

Of the 77 homes from David G Trenaman and Allison Homes – a mixture of houses, flats and bungalows – 23 will be classed as affordable.

At a Torridge District Council planning committee meeting on Thursday, March 2 to discuss the proposal, councillors turned to debating the five-year housing land supply, with some people concerned that the council doesn’t have a plan.

One described the government’s targets as “a con”.

Under current legislation, if a local authority does not have a five-year land supply, they are less powerful to stop planning applications.

Right now, according to current information, Torridge has sufficient land for four-and-a-half years of development, but this data is several years old.

Council officers believe Winkleigh has not allocated enough sites to meet its housing need, so they did not see how the proposal could be refused.

Ward member for Winkleigh and Conservative leader Cllr Simon Newton argued that latest housing supply figures from 2019 should not be considered, and that the council should wait until “more accurate” data is available before making a decision.

“It is inaccurate and unsafe to say that there is no three or even five-year housing land supply,” he said. “The available data is outdated.”

Cllr R Craigie (Labour, Bideford East) agreed, saying that the council would look “pretty stupid” if it approved the unpopular development, only to find that it does have a five-year land supply further down the line.

However, a decision could not be made based on possible future changes, so the planning committee was left with few options.

All but two councillors at the meeting voted to approve the new development, with a condition that the developer must take measures to reduce carbon emissions. These measures include the installation of solar panels.

Rob Kershaw