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Thursday, 24 January, 2002, 18:13 GMT
New villages plan sparks anger
Proposed villages - map
A new settlement of four villages has been proposed for the outskirts of Plymouth, despite fierce opposition in south Devon.

A valley between Plympton and Plymstock has been chosen for the string of villages.

Objectors called the plan for 3,500 homes "indefensible" and the Council for the Protection of Rural England said they would be blocked at a public inquiry.

Campaigners hoped the South Hams district would be spared from having the new settlement after Plymouth City Council found space for 2,500 homes.

Development site
Homes are planned for a green valley
South Hams District Council was ordered to find space for the homes under the county structure plan.

Its proposals are not final - they are included in a draft version of the local plan, a blueprint for development of the district.

Local people have until 8 March to comment.

The media conference to announce the location of the new settlement was disrupted when campaigner Steve Melia forced his way in.

He and fellow members of the protest group South Hams Against Rural Destruction (Shard) had not been invited.

The proposals lay the foundations for an attractive, vibrant and self-sufficient community

Councillor Richard Yonge
Mr Melia dismissed the scheme as "ribbon development" and warned that gaps between the four communities could be filled with more development in future.

The district council said the valley at Sherford was the best of several poor options.

Low-price homes would make up two thirds of the 3,500 total, it said.

The average income in the area was low and the number of families in bed and breakfast accommodation had increased tenfold in the past year.

Open space and woodland has been incorporated into the scheme, with a network of footpaths and cycle routes, and a possible new public transport system.

Decision announcement
Objectors were kept out for the announcement
Richard Yonge, leader of the council, said: "The proposals we are putting forward today lay the foundations for an attractive, vibrant and self-sufficient community, where people will be proud to live.

But he sympathised with people living nearby.

"I feel sorry for them, but we had to do it somewhere," he said.

Primary and secondary schools and a health centre are included in the plan, along with space for industry, a woodland burial site, sports pitches and an open air performance area.

The council promised that building work would not begin until all available brownfield sites in Plymouth had been developed.

Click here to go to Devon
See also:

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12 Jun 00 | UK Politics
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