Action group’s fight against housing plan ends in ‘disappointment’ after scheme given the go-ahead

PUBLISHED: 13:00 21 February 2017

The Congresbury Residents' Action Group (CRAG). Photo by Jeremy Long.

The Congresbury Residents' Action Group (CRAG). Photo by Jeremy Long.

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Planners have granted a housing developer permission to build 50 homes in Congresbury – despite staunch opposition from campaigners and the district councillor.

The Congresbury Residents’ Action Group (CRAG) campaigned against Gladman Homes’ proposal to build the homes off Wrington Lane but North Somerset Council voted in favour of the scheme last week.

Despite the ‘disappointing’ result, CRAG vowed to continue fighting against unsustainable development in the village as it felt a nearby plan to build 38 homes was more than enough housing for the area.

The group’s chairman Mary Short said: “We are very disappointed with the result – but we are certainly not giving up the fight.

“Wrington Lane is obviously not suitable for current traffic demands – let alone an estimated increase of at least 60 per cent.”

Congresbury’s ward councillor Tom Leimdorfer told the committee the homes were not included on the council’s own housing strategy because the site was ‘unsuitable for development’.

But the council is faced with Government demands to build 21,000 new homes over the next decade.

Councillors fear if they refuse applications while it is not meeting its housing requirements, developers will appeal any planning rejection – which costs the authority money.

Cllr Elfan Ap Rees said: “We do not have sound planning reasons to refuse it. We do not have a secure five-year housing supply, and if we don’t approve applications in service villages, other applications are subject to losing planning appeals.”

The committee approved the application with 12 councillors voting for the plans, and eight against it.

Five councillors, Jan Barber, Charles Cave, Robert Cleland, Ann Harley and Reyna Knight, abstained.

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