Devon council resolves to approve 750-home Tavistock scheme

Out-Law News | 28 Aug 2014 | 4:20 pm | 1 min. read

West Devon Borough Council has resolved to grant planning permission for developer Bovis Homes' outline plans for a mixed-use development on farmland to the south west of Tavistock town centre.

The 36 hectare site, either side of a disused railway line at the western edge of Tavistock, was allocated for mixed-use development in the West Devon local plan core strategy. The core strategy also included the stated aim of reinstating the former rail link between Tavistock and the town of Bere Alston 10 km to the south.

The outline proposals include the construction of up to 750 homes, a primary school with approximately 210 places and a 250 square metre convenience store. The plans also include a car park with around 150 spaces, to serve both the convenience store and a railway station that is expected to be the subject of a separate application from Devon County Council.

The plans were on the agenda for a meeting of the Council's planning and licensing committee on 26 August having been recommended for approval in a planning officer's report. The report recommended a provision of 20% affordable housing under the scheme and a financial contribution of more than £13,000,000 towards the provision of the proposed rail link to Bere Alston.

"Today's decision represents a very exciting milestone in the lifetime of the project following many years of hard work and negotiation," said Bovis Homes' Nevin Holden in a statement. "As well as providing future homes in Tavistock, we are delighted to be part of what promises to be a national blueprint for the delivery of new rail infrastructure."

Infrastructure and planning expert Robbie Owen of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com, added: “This is certainly an innovative way for private sector housing developers to make a very substantial contribution to this visionary railway reinstatement project.  Whether the railway will be reinstated now largely depends on its promoters, Devon County Council, successfully taking it through a statutory authorisation process and obtaining either a Transport and Works Act Order or a Development Consent Order.  Certainly, the commitment of this money will go a long way to the Council being able to make out the necessary funding test under either of those procedures.”

The developer said that it expected work to commence at the site in 2015, subject to approval of reserved matters.