Bequeathed land to be developed

PUBLISHED: 13:27 10 September 2008 | UPDATED: 22:19 15 June 2010

SOME residents in Kilmington fear plans to build houses on a plot of land given to the district council 20 years ago is against the late benefactor's wishes.

SOME residents in Kilmington fear plans to build houses on a plot of land given to the district council 20 years ago is against the late benefactor's wishes.Villagers believed land between Meadow Banks and the main road was left to East Devon District Council by Marian Constable before she died on the understanding it would not be 'tarmaced over'.But East Devon District Council has said the area is its preferred site to build on as part of its affordable housing scheme and the parish council has not objected.Chairing the monthly meeting, parish councilor Michael Collier said the deeds had been looked at, but there was nothing to say building should be stopped.However, speaking to the Herald, resident Gordon Dendle said a few residents were opposed to it as they remember Mrs Constable saying she wanted the council to protect the land from future development.He said: "If this had happened 10 years ago I would have been up in flames - as would others. But we are all getting old now. "I knew her well and I remember she said she wanted the land protected and I think the council should have respected that. But the snag is there is no proof."He said Mrs Constable had decided to leave the land to the council after an application to build 70 houses there in 1988. That application was turned down, but it is believed she wanted to prevent other such attempts."In the end she was getting elderly and felt the thing to do was to give it to the council to protect," he said."I can see the council's point with affordable housing, but there must be other places."One resident is said to be trying to trace a relative of Mrs Constable to confirm her wishes. They believe, under the circumstances, the relative would be interested in claiming their inheritance.However, many councilors were in favour of an affordable housing scheme and felt they should seize such an opportunity. Cllr Bill Kerslake said: "There would be no commercial market for this site. Affordable housing gives young people, especially, an opportunity to get on a rung of the ladder."Residents were assured that those applying for the properties would be means tested and it would not set a precedent for future building. Councilors were of the opinion that Mrs Constable would not have objected to the use of land for affordable housing.

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