“Furious” residents of a flood-hit Devon village have gathered outside a “super inquiry” into plans to increase its size by as much as 40%.
The special inquiry was called by the Planning Inspectorate after proposals by three developers which would see 235 new homes built in Feniton, near Honiton.
Streets were submerged during recent heavy rain with water gushing through a children’s play area and sewage pouring out of drains.
Opponents of the development fear the infrastructure will not be able to cope with such an increase in the number of homes.
Val Jones, a resident attending the eigh-day hearing, which opens today at Exeter airport, said the village was “united in fury” at the proposals.
“We are flooding so badly here it is unreal – they need to get the sewage and flooding issued sorted out before any more building goes ahead,” she added.
“I have never known the village like this before – they are united in fury.”
Feniton is regularly hit by flooding, mainly due to overflowing drains which struggle to cope with the house network and run-off from fields.
The area was hit three times during the past two weeks.
East Devon independent district councillor Susie Bond said she and many others had been “soaked to the skin” dashing round the village in an effort to keep drains clear.
She said the Government’s National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) had “left East Devon in a vacuum of uncertainty” over where development should happen.
“The sustainability credentials of the village will be thrashed out over a two-week period.
“But those of us who waded through flood-diluted sewage in the village today know exactly how sustainable Feniton actually is,” she added.
Three separate schemes were refused planning permission by East Devon District Council but the applicants have since appealed.
The Planning Inspectorate has combined three appeal hearings into a single event.
The original venue, Feniton Bowling Club, was changed to the Flybe Training Academy conference rooms, near Exeter Airport.
This decision, said to be prompted by demand, has also angered local residents, who say the venue was moved to suit the construction companies and leaves locals forced to travel and park each day.
The inquiry runs Tuesday to Friday for two weeks and the inspector is expected to take several eeks to make a decision.