HOMES PLAN: An artist's impression of the proposed development at Milbury Farm, Exminster
RESIDENTS are battling to ensure a major housing development does not rip the heart out of their village.
As revealed in the Echo, the proposed scheme for 300 new homes on the site at Milbury Farm, Exminster, is set to go on display at a special public exhibition at the village’s Methodist Church Hall on Friday.
Outline planning permission has already been granted by the secretary of state on appeal after plans were initially rejected by Teignbridge District Council.
It is now in its detailed design phase and villagers say they are working hard to get the best deal for the village when it is built.
Brian Aird, who lives in Exminster and heads the Milbury Farm Liaison Group said: “We don’t just want the developer, Midas, to do what it wants. We need to make sure it fits in with the rest of the village.
“People are very concerned about building on a green field site and feel the village is already big enough to not warrant another 300 homes that will potentially split the village in two.
“The developer is planning a commercial hub, which would involve a really big retail shopping development and we are very concerned that is will undermine the centre and heart of the village and split it in two. We would like the developer to make a financial contribution to improve existing facilities.”
Mr Aird said villagers also wanted to see a new bus service — which the developer is obliged to fund — not just serving the new development, but the whole village, and ensure the right design.
He said: “Three-storey flats are fine in Exeter. but in a village they do not fit terribly well.
“We are encouraging villagers to attend the exhibition, think about the issues and tell Midas how they feel about it.
“There are some people who still feel very bitter about it going ahead, but we have to accept it and turn it into something as positive as possible.”
County councillor for Exminster Alan Connett said: “The site was never identified for housing use and is a very large development. In the last 20 years Exminster has had an amazing amount of new housing and people feel it needs time to settle as the school is already packed to capacity.
“There was a lot of local opposition, but we now appreciate the decision has been made and people want to work with Midas to get the best possible scheme for the village.”
Andrew Rowe, Midas Homes strategic land and planning manager, who is leading the project, said: “The exhibition forms part of our ongoing consultation. It has seen us hold productive meetings with local representatives.
“Before progressing any further, we wish to understand the views of the wider community on the detailed plans. I would urge those that are interested to attend on Friday.”
Midas Homes says it will review the feedback before finalising a planning application to be considered by Teignbridge District Council at a later date.