THERE is unrest among the residents of Sutcombe after an outline planning application for ten houses to be built adjacent to the Memorial Hall received the support of the parish council.

Resident Helen Brookhouse contacted the Post to raise her concerns over the safety issues thrown up by the planning application that would see ten houses built between the Memorial Hall and St Andrews Close in Sutcombe — abutting the old school, which currently houses a children’s play area.

The application, submitted by Messrs Quance, Putt and Rogers, was discussed during the parish council’s meeting on November 12, 2018. The councillors heard that there would be ‘affordable housing provision’ and the site was within the Local Plan with ‘Sutcombe being a sustainable village’.

However, Helen, who lives on St Andrews Close, believes the new development is ‘unsustainable’. She said the main concern is the safety of children coming out of the play area sited across from the proposed development but that with a lack of local provision her fear is Sutcombe would become a ‘commuter village’ if this application goes ahead.

She said: “While the privacy of the houses backing this development will be seriously violated, our key concern is the safety of our children as access to this development is opposite the entrance to a children’s play area. It used to be the school, but they decided to close that.

“We don’t need these houses as they are unsustainable. With no pub, no shop, no school, no public transport and very little employment, this would be a commuter village. But if they are deemed necessary, they could build them the other side of the Memorial Hall. There would be just as much difficulty with access onto a single track road, but they would not be impeding the privacy of other residents, nor would the entrance be opposite a children’s play area.”

Following news that the parish council gave its support to the application, Helen said: “I have just found out that Sutcombe Parish Council have voted unanimously to support the planning application.

“Eleven residents took the time and trouble to write to the council to object. We made a multitude of valid objections and I now fear that if our parish council cannot see how relevant these objections are, how will one man [Torridge Planning] living far away from the area be able to recognise these truths?

“The parish council clearly have no regard for the safety of the children of Sutcombe, nor for the right to a peaceful enjoyment of their property for a greater number of residents. I am sickened by this whole thing.”

Helen’s concerns are shared by others in the village, with calls for the houses to be built in the ‘alternative site’ suggested by residents. Matt Bell shares the concerns over the new development’s proximity to the road and agrees an alternative site seems the more viable option. He said: “I would like to express my concern and support for the home owners of St Andrews Close, Sutcombe, regarding the application for the development of ten new houses adjacent to their properties. I think that the concerns they have regarding their properties being overlooked and the invasion of privacy, along with road safety issues is well founded, I’m led to believe that there is an alternative site available in the same area that would be more suitable and would hope that the parish council would seriously consider that as an alternative to the present application.”

However, despite giving its support to the application, the parish council said it did raise ‘reservations’, which have been duly noted.

The chairman and councillors of Sutcombe Parish Council made the following statement in response: “At the parish council meeting held on the 12th November, 2018 the parish councillors agreed to support the ‘Outline Planning Application’, but voiced their reservations.

“These reservations and any other concerns which are raised will be discussed when the detailed planning application is received.”

They added: “There was no public representative at this meeting.”

Final plans are yet to be drawn up but once they are available further discussion is to be held with any further issues being raised.

The final decision is expected to be made by Torridge District Council.

The Post contacted the applicants’ agent, but did not receive a comment before we went to press.