THE CHAIR of the South Hams Society has vowed to oppose the development of six luxury houses on the Crofts in Salcombe ‘with everything I’ve got.’
At the final Salcombe Town Council meeting of the year on Wednesday, December 14, Vivien Napper addressed the council in the open forum, calling for a joint approach between Salcombe Town Council and the South Hams Society.
Ms Napper called for the formation of an independent group, but emphasised that people ‘need to start early’ and apply for pre-application discussions with South Hams Council.
On Wednesday, November 23, a presentation was made to Salcombe Town Council for a potential ‘low density ecological development’ at Croft Fields between Gould Road and Shadycombe Road.
RLT Architects and Eden Design described the scheme as ‘an opportunity to enhance the landscape and ecology of the area.’
No planning application has been submitted and the developers have emphasised they are keen to establish ‘dialogue and engagement’ with Salcombe and consult the local community before finalising any plans.
At last week’s meeting, town mayor, Cllr Mike Fice described the plans and presentation as ‘very vague’ adding that he ‘didn’t think they were very professional.’
District Cllr Simon Wright confirmed that the developers hadn’t yet discussed the plans with SHDC’s strategic planners. And Cllr Judy Pearce added that the plans were at a ‘pre-application’ stage, with the principle objections currently being from Devon Highways.
Ms Napper said the development would have ‘no benefit to the community, with no affordable homes for local people.’
And Cllr Pearce highlighted that the development was not only outside of the development boundary, but also within the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and a Site of Special Scientific Interest.
Ms Napper asked the council if, in principle, ‘they would like to work together in an outside group?’ Cllr Fice responded that the council would have to discuss and make a decision at a later date.
At the meeting in November, Steve McTeare from RLT Architects stated that the proposals would include ‘contributions to affordable housing, passing spaces on Shadycombe Road along with resurfacing, the refurbishment of Egremont and the building of an on-shore marine education centre for disadvantaged children and adults.’
But Cllr Tony Lang raised concerns that they ‘will become second homes’ and town mayor Cllr Mike Fice drew attention to the fact that ‘the site has previously been rejected for development.’
Cllr Fice said: ‘It’s a very emotive place in Salcombe, many kids have played in those fields over the years, and I went sledging there as a child.
‘The site was designated as a development site, but the town rejected it in favour of the site developed by Bloor Homes at the top of Bonfire Hill.
Cllr Fice added: ‘I warned them that there’d be a lot of opposition from the people of Salcombe.’
In August, the gates leading to Croft Fields were chained and padlocked, despite it being used as a footpath for many years.
Devon County Council confirmed that ‘there is no public right of way’ through the fields, but the architects have promised to ‘maintain designated and non-designated footpaths’ in any development.
Mr McTeare added: ‘We’re very much here to work with the local community and we appreciate this will be a very challenging scheme.
‘We’re looking at a development that is organic, sensitive, very low density and landscape-led.’