Plans for a new home on farm land near Highampton have been turned down after councillors rejected claims it was replacing another house. 

The owner of the land at Lower Longwood Farm, Mr Ben Bailey, applied to build a new home arguing it was a replacement dwelling and his application was supported by the local parish council. 

The site, just over 2 km north-east of Highampton, currently includes a barn and a concrete base, which previously had an agricultural building on it. This building has now been demolished.

But officers at West Devon Borough Council (WDBC) told members of the development management and licensing committee last week, it should not be considered as a replacement dwelling because there is no existing home there. 

Councillors heard the plans would have resulted in the creation of a single, open-market dwelling in an unsustainable countryside location, without good access to services and facilities and would be reliant on the use of a private car.

Mr Bailey had already resubmitted the application after it had earlier been rejected once and he challenged the reasons for it being thrown out the first time. 

Conservative councillor for Hatherleigh, Cllr Clare Kemp, supported the application and argued that, legally, houses did not need to be actually built for ‘replacement dwelling policies to be appropriate.’

Members of Highampton Parish Council said they were satisfied Mr Bailey had addressed concerns raised in the first application and in a supporting letter said: ‘No concerns have been raised by parishioners or the wider community.’

Five councillors on the parish council backed the new plans and added: ‘Parish councillors were pleased to learn that the conditions for refusing the initial application have been dealt with.’ 

The plan was also supported by a resident of one the nearest homes to the proposed site who said: ‘I fully support this replacement dwelling. I can see no reason for this application to be refused, as it will result in a more efficient and well designed house than the current barn conversion would allow.’

Nevertheless, councillors on WDBC did not accept the arguments in favour of the resubmitted application.  Voting eight-to-two against the proposal, they agreed with advice from the legal officer who said there was ‘no lawful existing dwelling to replace.’

Officers also argued the carbon benefits of the the new dwelling had not been demonstrated and it was too close to a nearby barn.