The change of heart centres around a planning inspector’s appeal report, published last week for a piece of land next to Westhayes (Eastfield), which describes the landscape as ‘valuable’ in that area. 

The previous planning officer’s report, listed for approval at the November Development Management Committee meeting, was withdrawn by planners minutes before the meeting started last week.

The key paragraph from the revised report is below:

“Despite previous assertions that the site was reasonably well related to the built-up area boundary, the recent appeal decision in relation to Eastfield has required a re-appraisal of this relationship. This is because the inspector considered that the development of the Eastfield site would be harmful in landscape terms despite it being better related to the built-up area boundary of West Hill than Westhayes. In giving greater weight to the local landscape quality and the parkland setting of Westhayes, it is not considered that the scheme is without harm.

“It would be read, particularly from the public footpath, as a wedge of built form projecting onto higher land, that harms the setting of the village.”

The final decision will be taken by councillors at the Development Management Committee meeting on Tuesday 6 December, starting at 2pm, at EDDC’s offices, Knowle, Sidmouth.