New plans to put houses on Ottery’s ‘last green oasis’ have been approved by the district council.

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The land behind the Old Convent was the subject of a bitter row in 2009, with proposals for a dozen homes only successful on appeal.

But nearby residents were spared from any development after the site was put straight back up for sale, and has not found a buyer since.

In September however a new application emerged, offering to replace and ‘improve’ the previous planning permission.

The new scheme is still for 12 homes, but will only include two flats instead of the previous scheme’s eight, and 10 three-bedroom houses.

A statement from architects GJR, working on behalf of applicant Feniton Park Ltd, said it will create a ‘small scale, mews-style residential development’, with a ‘sensitive’ design, including a commercial unit for retail or office use.

The original planning application prompted scores of complaints from residents of Franklea Close and Tip Hill, who branded it a ‘monstrosity’.

East Devon District Council ruled the proposed apartment block ‘unacceptable’, and rejected the scheme, a decision which was overturned by the planning inspector.

But planning officials were in favour of the new scheme, saying it would not ‘adversely affect the privacy or amenity’ of neighbouring properties, the character and appearance of the conservation area, or damage to trees and wildlife.

Ottery Town Council was also in favour of the plans, but said it felt it was being ‘held to ransom’ when voting on the revised application, only supporting it because it was not as bad as the previous proposal.

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