I was delighted to see over 100 people packing the hall and many participated in a lively and at times, heated, debate. 

Aylesbeare Parish Council has submitted a figure of 50 houses to East Devon District Council as part of the Local Plan consultation process.

East Devon District Council has allocated around five houses to Aylesbeare, based on a five per cent increase of the numbers of houses that fall within the built up area boundary.

Some residents queried the way previous public opinion surveys carried out by the parish council, had been interpreted. 

Other residents expressed concerns about the local infrastructure being able to cope with the numbers of houses proposed. Narrow lanes, health services and schools were raised as potential problems.

After a long and intense debate, a show of hands revealed that the vast majority of people supported no more development than the five houses allocated to the village by East Devon District Council. 

The parish council will now carry out a further survey of residents to establish the views of the majority of people, including those not at last night’s meeting. 

Around 16 people have signed up to offer to help the parish council distribute and collect the survey, which will need to be conducted this month.

There were a number of queries at last night’s meeting, which I thought may be helpful to clarify:

– The built up area boundary (BUAB) surrounds the core village, starting at the top of Village Way, through the main street past the pub, Scotchmead and the village hall. It ends at Sunnymede.  Bramble Mead lies outside the BUAB.

– The remainder of the parish, including Rosamundford and Perkins Village lie outside the BUAB and as such, only very limited development will be permitted, such as replacement dwellings or barn conversions.

– Any future development in Aylesbeare will only be permitted close to the BUAB.  East Devon Local Plan policies state that housing must be either well-related to, or adjacent to BUABs.  This avoids the possibility of sprawl.

– The boundary is likely to be redrawn around any development that takes place outside it.  Or the development may remain outside of the BUAB, depending on its location.