EVEN the promised sweetener of a new town centre car park and new parish hall failed to convince Dartmoor National Park Authority that an application for a nursing home, sheltered homes and affordable housing at Bretteville Close, Chagford, was in the town's best interests.
An outline planning application for 22 category II sheltered housing units, a 40-bed nursing home, eight affordable homes with associated roadworks has been thrown out. It was the fourth application to be refused on that site since 1990. Two others have been withdrawn. Colin Jarvis, principal planning officer, reminded members of the development control committee on Friday. that although the plans indicated a new car park and parish hall, they formed no part of the application.
The scheme also found little support among consultees. The local GP and the Mid-Devon Primary Care Trust questioned the need for a nursing home of that size, with today's increased emphasis on home care. West Devon Borough Council was sceptical that 25 sheltered homes – reduced from 38 in the last application – were either necessary or would be affordable.
Mr Jarvis said that the agent had agreed to a contribution of £75,000 to improve the sewage system. Chagford Parish Council objected on the grounds of access. It also noted that as Bretteville Field was one of the few potential development areas, any scheme would be crucial to Chagford's future. Several members took up this theme. James McInnes said: 'If we were to agree this application today we would be sticking something in the middle of an area which could be a considerable hindrance to the future of Chagford.' John Shears said: 'We've got to do something for Chagford on this site but this application isn't it.' Agent Lydia Lambert, of Lambert Planning, Salisbury, argued that the scheme found plenty of support among townspeople. Eighty per cent of those who completed feedback forms at a public exhibition were in favour. In answer to fears that a protected willow might not survive damage to its roots during access works to Bretteville Close, she claimed that their specialist advice was that it would survive. 'You have a responsibility for taking Chagford forward for meeting today's needs and those of the future. This scheme is of major importance to Chagford,' she said The only element which found universal approval was that for affordable housing, but several members thought the numbers were too low. Julian Brazil said: 'My advice to the developer would be to move forward with more affordable housing, so there is a higher percentage.' Planning director Chris France said: 'We should not really be determining the future of a town on the basis of a speculative planning application ... we need to have discussions with the community and proper planning needs to be done through the development framework. 'We will be starting work on this later this year.'