Catesby Property Group have been successful in their bid to gain planning consent to develop at the former Holsworthy Showground site, it has been announced.

The decision comes from the Secretary of State after representations from Torridge District Council and Catesby Property Group were heard at the three day appeal inquiry which commenced on April 13.

Catesby Property Group have now secured outline planning consent to enable the development for a mixed used scheme which includes a new full sized playing field, new changing rooms, a skateboard park and dedicated parking for the cricket and bowls clubs, together with funding for the refurbishment of the existing cricket pavilion and the provision of other recreational facilities for Stanhope Park.

The development will see around 160 new dwellings of which 40 per cent will be 'affordable' housing at the old Showground site in Holsworthy.

Commenting on the decision, which emerged last week, chief executive of Catesby Property Group, Paul Brocklehurst said: "We are delighted that the inspector has endorsed our proposals. We have worked very hard to identify the needs and aspirations of the local community and we are looking forward to seeing the plans come to fruition."

The outline planning application was originally submitted by Catesby Property Group in June 2009 and refused by Torridge District Council (on the delegated powers of officers) in October 2009. Catesby Property Group lodged an appeal in November 2009 and the appeal inquiry was heard in April.

The site will be accessed by a new mini-roundabout on Trewyn Road together with a package of traffic calming measures.

However, the news isn't joy to everyone's ears. Cllr Hugo Barton, chair of Torridge District Council Plans Committee, said: "I am most disappointed that the planning inspector decided to disregard the importance of the Local Plan process in bringing positive development forward across the district.

"However, at the same time I am pleased to confirm that the officers of the council worked hard to achieve a number of key pieces of infrastructure as a result of this decision. These include a sports pitch and changing facilities, skateboard park, together with £100,000 towards recreation provision in Holsworthy, and most importantly 40 per cent of the site will be Affordable Housing."

See this week's 'Post' for a full report and reaction from Holsworthy's Mayor.