It was the third recent meeting in Clyst St Mary to discuss unpopular planning applications. The parish council had objected to the previous applications at Winslade Park and Cats Copse.

Developers want to grow the village by over 100 per cent, with planning applications submitted for some 400 houses.

The cause for such a large turnout on a cold night was an outline planning application for 40 dwellings on land off Clyst Valley Road, which would involve the demolition of a house.

Planning consultant Charlie Hopkins, who had worked with the community on the earlier applications, explained the proposals. He said that a planning application at Woodbury, which was similar to this one, had this week, been refused by EDDC on sustainability grounds.

District Councillor Mike Howe also explained the implications of the planning application, and how and when it was likely to be determined by EDDC.

Reference was made to the emerging Clyst St Mary Neighbourhood Plan (NP). An adopted NP is some way off but at a later date, should be taken into account when determining planning applications. An adopted NP can be a reason for refusing a planning application which is contrary to the NP.

Charlie Hopkins considered that there were valid reasons for this application to be refused. He mentioned EDDC Local Plan policies EN6, TA1 (sustainability), TA2 (access), and the policy about conserving the best quality agricultural land. He said that the location would be even less sustainable if the DCC proposal to axe the 53 bus through CSM became reality.

A succession of speakers made arguments against the planning application. Residents Action Group spokesperson Gaeron Kayley spoke against the proposal.

He pointed out that the planning application contained factual errors including claiming that the road width was six metres – he had measured it, and the actual width was far less. He said that there had been problems with the EDDC website causing difficulties for those who wished to object electronically. A complaint that has been made elsewhere!

Cllr Mike Howe announced that Hugo Swire MP had arranged a public meeting at Clyst St Mary on Thursday 19 February in the school hall.

The chairman asked for a show of hands of those for and against the planning application. There was a unanimous vote against.