Plans for 120 new homes to be built on the edge of Dartington which campaigners against say will have devastating impact on the local ecology of the area have been recommended for approval.

The sites – at Broom Park and Sawmills North – cover two green fields with 120 houses and are both allocated for residential development as part of the adopted Plymouth and South West Devon Joint Local Plan.

The scheme – put forward by Baker Estates and the Dartington Hall Trust would see 80 homes built at Broom Park and 40 at Sawmills North, and when South Hams District Council’s development management committee consider them at a meeting next Wednesday, officers are recommending that they are approved, despite more than 200 objections to the plans.

But the officers, in their report, state that all statutory consultees and specialist advisers have no objections to the proposals and as such, they are recommended to go ahead.

The report says: “The Joint Local Plan identifies Dartington as a settlement that has an extensive range of services and amenities. It is also well connected to other centres, especially the nearby town of Totnes, which extends the range of facilities that can be accessed within a short distance and these sites form part of the allocation of 911 new homes across the smaller towns and key villages.

“Through the local plan consultation, examination and adoption process, the site has been considered to be appropriate for residential development and has been allocated as such.

“The overall principle of residential development on the site is considered to be met and it is therefore necessary to consider areas of detail (that relate to an outline application) and whether they comply with the plan as a whole.”

Of the 120 homes, 30 per cent would be affordable, which accords to the local plan requirement, while a transport assessment that has been considered by the highways authority concludes that while in terms of traffic generation, it can be seen the proposals will have a modest impact on the existing road network, it is not expected that any of the junctions in Dartington will experience future capacity issues as a result of the development.

Concerns about the impact on the ecology of the area had been raised, with an independent ecological survey, commissioned by local campaign group Don’t Bury Dartington Under Concrete, claiming that serious flaws have been uncovered in the ‘ecological impact assessment’ (EcIA).

But the officer report says that the carried out habitats regulations assessments concluded that provided the mitigation measures are secured, there will be no adverse effect on the integrity of the South Hams SAC alone or in-combination with other proposals or projects, and based on the specialist advice received from Natural England and ecology specialists at Devon County Council, that the proposals would not result in any significant harm to ecology and that the proposals are acceptable.

The conclusion of the planning officers’ report, recommending approval, states: “The site is allocated in the Joint Local Plan for residential development of about 80 houses. The outline proposals would secure and appropriate scale of development including 30 per cent affordable housing and an open market housing mix that meets the local housing need.

“Appropriate mitigation can be secured through the use of planning conditions and a legal agreement to ensure that the proposals accord with the provisions of the Development Plan and all statutory consultees and specialist advisers have no objections to the proposals and as such the application is recommended for permission.”

Graham Hutton, development director at Baker Estates, said: “Both sites are allocated in the local plan for new housing to satisfy the need identified for homes of all tenures to keep Dartington a thriving village.

“Our applications are for outline permission which means that the principles of the development are considered and the ‘bookends’ between which we should design the homes and public spaces. If the outlines are approved, the detailed designs would be considered later as part of a reserved matters planning application. As always, we would consult further with the community and key stakeholders as we work up detailed designs.

“We undertook an extensive public consultation on these outline applications, the results of which have informed our proposals and highlighted key considerations for the reserved matters applications.

“The Baker Estates’ proposals are policy compliant which means they fully align with the allocation in the local plan and in particular will provide 30 per cent affordable housing of the type and size specified by the council.

“It is particularly encouraging that all statutory consultees, (the experts who advise the council) agree that our proposals are compliant and should be approved. These experts are appointed to ensure that all matters, including ecology, landscape, heritage, flood risk, highways and air quality are considered and properly addressed.

“It is for these reasons we are hopeful that South Hams District Council will vote to approve the development in accordance with the adopted local plan and for the benefit of the community.”

South Hams District Council’s development management committee, when they meet on Wednesday, April 28, are recommended to grant outline planning permission to both the schemes.