Wolborough & Langford Bridge

Abbotskerswell Parish Council to proceed to a full judicial review hearing

If you want to know about the Wolborough Development, here is a library of information and links.

Wolbough View FEB18

Last Friday (9.10.20) the High Court considered the application by Abbotskerswell Parish Council (APC) challenging the Secretary of State’s decision to grant outline planning consent for the Wolborough Barton development. At the hearing Mr Justice Dove granted permission for Abbotskerswell Parish Council to proceed to a full judicial review hearing. This means we will have the opportunity to argue in detail why it was not lawful for the Secretary of State to grant the planning consent. We are allowed to make these arguments on three grounds, one concerning the climate change impact of the development and two concerning the impact of the development on bats. For those interested in the legal detail, the grounds are:

  • a) that the Secretary of State erred in law by breaching his environmental impact assessment obligations in granting planning consent without relevant environmental information before him; in particular, the lack of any assessment of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and climate change impact;

  • b) that he erred in law by failing to address the lack of biodiversity information for the proposal; and

  • c) that he breached habitats legislation and, in particular, if the expected mitigations of the proposals effects on protected species are “uncertain” at the time of an appropriate assessment, then they could not be taken into account.

The case has been designated as a significant planning matter, which means the final hearing will be fixed for the earliest opportunity; this is likely to be before Christmas. We will provide further information on dates as soon as this becomes available.

Update 14 August 2020; on the 24th July Teignbridge District Council granted phased outline planning permission for the Langford Bridge development 19/00238/MAJ. Abbotskerswell PC is taking action, more information will follow

Update 5 June 2020; The Secretary of State for Housing has given permission for planning permission to be granted following the appeal against the failure of TDC to grant permission for the building of the 1210 homes (plus a hotel, a school, a road, employment area and so on)  at Wolborough. This is application 17/01542/MAJ. Abbotskerswell PC are reviewing the decision in order to determine the next action.

Update 22 Apr 2020; Abbotskerswell Parish Council submitted a letter to Teignbridge DC in conjunction with the Council for the Protection of the Rural Environment requesting them to suspend the timetable for consultation until such time as there is more certainty as to the outcome of the current situation with the Covid-19 crisis.

Update 6 Apr 2020; The Teignbridge Local Plan is out for consultation. It still includes NA3 – the two developments comprising 1700 homes between Abbotskerswell and Newton Abbot plus the link road. See this link for more information

Update 31 Mar 2020; The latest news is that the second appeal by the land owner and developers has been dropped. See this link for more information.


A long time ago – as far back as 2012 – Teignbridge District Council wrote a plan to increase housing and this was challenged all the way to the High Court by two communities who felt that they would be badly affected by one part of the development in their area; Wolborough Residents Association and Abbotskerswell Parish Council. Teignbridge won the day but the fight has continued to the extent that a pressure group called Newton Says No raised a fighting fund via Crowdfunding, got 6100 signatures and put three district councillors into TDC as Independents in May 2019. 


There are two separate developments which comprise what Teignbridge call NA3. The first is the big one at Wolborough for 1210 homes 17/01542/MAJ, a link road, school, hotel and other community facilities.

Wolborough Barton

The second is at Langford Bridge Farm at the bottom of Priory Lane for another 450 homes and other community facilities and the end of the link road.This one has the reference 19/00238/MAJ.

Langford Bridge

There have been several applications related to the Wolborough development. The first was not decided on by Teignbridge DC and is subject to an appeal and an enquiry taking place in May and June 2019. The second was almost a mirror image of the first but the result of the enquiry on the first will determine whether TDC make a decision. 

In the meantime we set out below some of the questions that have been posed to Abbotskerswell Parish Councillors, following a series of articles that we have posted on this website.


Teignbridge maintain that they need to build lots of houses, but the numbers are contested by Abbotskerswell Parish Council who is working with Wolborough Residents Association to oppose the specific plans and to lobby regarding the review of the Local Plan which is currrently underway. The government confirmed in August 2020 that TDC must build a minimum of 750 homes per year.

The National Planning Framework sets out the requirements that maintain that developers can build whatever they wish so long as they meet the test of sustainability – there is a presumption in favour of sustainable development. The tests are that there should be an economic objective, a social objective and an environmental objective. 

Many councils, including Teignbridge have put together a Local Plan that sets out their vision for the future. Teignbridge, in their plan, estimate that the population of Teignbridge is expected to increase by 13.3% or 17,500 residents between 2019 and 2039. Housing occupancy is also reducing with smaller family units.

The numbers required have changed somewhat over the last few years, but Abbotskerswell Parish Council has been consistently challenging these numbers since 2012;

Now the Office for National Statistics acknowledges that the numbers on which Teignbridge has based its numbers were overestimated, but there is a great deal at stake here for Teignbridge DC who need the money that comes with new homes. It is counting on a one off gain of around £10m from building these homes at Wolborough and Langford Bridge.


The proposed developments effectively create a new community, nearly three times the size of Abbotskerswell which as around 640 homes. The Wolborough development is only separated from the Parish by the length of one football field. It would totally overwhelm Wolborough and enlarge the population of Newton Abbot by 7%. It overshadows the lovely nature reserve at Decoy and threatens the currently barely coping biodiversity of the SSSI at Decoy Fen. Concerns about increased traffic, reduced air quality, interruption to the threatened Greater Horseshoe Bat flyways and destruction of the cirl bunting habitat are but a few of the worries that the local community have.


The Inspector who has been appointed to hear the enquiry will take further evidence and consider her response late this year, or early next year.  


Here is a list of previous articles;

Langford Bridge – more homes and a road to nowhere May 2019

Save our hills – Crowdfunding Campaign March 2019

Wolborough Planning Committee February 2019

Wolborough development (NA3) what can we do? October 2018

Your protest counts – Wolborough Barton Proposals July 2018

NA3 Wolborough Development Latest July 2018

Hidden Treasures in Devon’s Landscape at Risk February 2018

NA3 Wolborough Objection September 2017

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