THE FIRST phase of a £90 million development in North Cornwall, opposed by both local councils and residents, has been approved.
Bovis Homes Ltd won permission at Thursday's meeting of the Cornwall Strategic Planning Committee for 91 homes, 23 of them affordable, with a public square, distributor road, open space and drainage at Binhamy Farm, between Bude and Stratton.
The permission marks the end of a long battle to prevent a development of 400 homes which even a government minister opposed, but for which consent was granted by a court to the disappointment of local campaigners.
Residents who opposed the shopping and housing development at Binhamy Farm heard 18 months ago that the scheme had overcome the last legal hurdle.
The application by the Catesby Property Group had first been turned down by Cornwall Council.
The company appealed and, although the planning inspector recommended approval, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Eric Pickles stepped in and turned it down.
The developer challenged his decision in the courts.
Lawyers for Catesby, based in Warwickshire, told the High Court Mr Pickles's office acted unlawfully by failing to notify the firm of this departure from the inspector's recommendations and by not providing it with the opportunity to present evidence at a reopened inquiry. The appeal was upheld and the Department for Communities and Local Government announced consent had been granted. Campaigners, who raised £11,000 to fight the scheme, voiced disappointment that their long battle had been lost. Catesby said it planned to build 400 homes, 30 per cent "affordable", together with shops, a supermarket and a retirement village on the 50-acre site.
Bude Town Council and 25 others had objected against the latest plans on traffic grounds, saying the resort was already gridlocked.
Malcolm Gilmore, from Bovis Homes, said it had agreed to provide 23 affordable homes in the first phase despite there being no obligation to do so, and added that they were looking for local contractors to carry out the construction work.
Ian Saltern, chairman of the Friends of Binhamy, said yesterday permission was inevitable after the court's decision to allow the plans.
"We made the effort but there's no more we can do," he said. "It will have a detrimental effect on sewage, schools, health provision and jobs in the area. There will eventually be 401 houses, but no jobs for the people who come to live in them."