The debate, which took place at last night’s planning meeting, was prompted by a request from Roger Giles for the subject to be discussed again, following a well-attended public meeting in The Old Boys’ School, on 9 January.

At the meeting on 9 January, which was attended by around 100 people, a show of hands revealed that the vast majority of people did not support building of more than 100 houses.  This led to Roger Giles requesting that the subject was re-debated at the next town council meeting, which was eventually agreed following heated exchanges at the planning meeting at Tipton St John, on 16 January.

During the meeting last night, Cllr Giles produced population statistics which showed that the number of houses that EDDC is proposing for Ottery is considerably more than most other towns in the district, with the exception of Axminster, which is being allocated over 1000 houses as residents have expressed a desire for a by-pass.  Seaton also receives a large proportion of housing.

The statistics are percentage increases on existing housing stock and commitments, and are as follows:
Axminster                 – 83.9
Budleigh Salterton         – 6.1
Exmouth                   – 10.8
Honiton                   – 12.7
Ottery St Mary             – 22.1
Seaton                     – 22.5
Sidmouth                   – 5.6

Several members of the public spoke and following a protracted debate, Roger Giles (seconded by me) proposed a reduction in the number of houses down to 200, based on the above evidence and the views of local residents.

Following Roger’s proposal for a reduction in housing, Cllr Ian Holmes made a counter proposal for 300 houses MINIMUM, however, later changed it to 300 houses maximum.

Councillors voted nine votes to two, to stick to the original plans for 300 houses maximum.

East Devon District Council has proposed 465 houses (including 65 commitments) for Ottery St Mary.