Plans for a spectacular new landmark home in the most expensive street in Devon have been thrown out.
The property in Salcombe’s Devon Road would have commanded one of the county’s most sought-after views, but members of the South Hams Council development management committee decided it was too big and that they had concerns over landscaping and ecology.
Property websites reveal that the average price for a home in Devon Road is well over £1 million. Travel writers have dubbed it ‘Millionaire’s Row’.
Homes on the road boast uninterrupted views across the Salcombe estuary to East Portlemouth and beyond. Opponents of the planning application said it would block the views from the public highway.
And Cllr Mark Long (Ind, Salcombe and Thurlestone) said: “They are trying to increase the ability to have views across this stunning estuary for those who are going to occupy these houses. My concern is that everybody else has to look at them.
“Enough is enough.”
Developers had applied to demolish an existing home called Sheerwater on the site, and build an ultra-modern new one. The committee heard the bold new building would ‘cascade’ down the hillside, and would have four levels rather than the current two.
Planning consultant Mark Evans, speaking on behalf of the applicants, said the architects proposed removing an existing building which council planning officers agreed had no architectural merit of its own.
He said the new building’s footprint, height and mass would be only ‘slightly larger’ than the existing building. And, he said, it was the mix of contemporary and traditional designs which made Salcombe special.
But a statement from Salcombe Town Council said it was concerned at the loss of public views and the size of the new building when seen from the water. Its ‘swathes of white render and glazing’ did not reflect local materials, it said.
Cllr Guy Pannell (Lib Dem, South Brent) proposed approval of the plan, saying: “I don’t think it will have much of a detrimental impact. The existing house is not of much merit, and I do appreciate the way this design sits into the hillside.”
Planning officer Bryony Hanlon said: “The contemporary design does usually split public opinion.” But, she added, officers did not think the new building would cause significant harm, and were recommending approval subject to a number of conditions.
However, Cllr Jacqi Hodgson (Green, Dartington and Staverton) said: “This reads like a hotel. It’s the sheer over-massing and scale, and all this glass.
“It’s absolutely huge.”
And Cllr Long said the new building did not fit the local style. He said: “We are moving away from a local vernacular into something which has become very linear and very block-like. We are seeing a dramatic change.
“I believe this design could be far better. It could blend into the hillside.
“There comes a point in a townscape when you have to say enough is enough. We need a more sympathetic development here.
“I think this is just another development too far.”