Developer calls for Government review of housing plans which council deemed would ‘harm’ village

PUBLISHED: 09:00 07 August 2017

CRAG outside Weston Town Hall protesting against the Barratt Homes application.

CRAG outside Weston Town Hall protesting against the Barratt Homes application.

Archant

Villagers are preparing for another hard-fought housing appeal after a developer hoping to build more than 20 homes launched a bid to overturn North Somerset Council’s refusal.

Developer Strongvox Homes wants to build 24 homes in Congresbury, and has appealed to the Government’s Planning Inspectorate to reverse the council’s verdict.

The plans were rejected by the council in February because the proposed site, to the east of Brinsea Road, was unsustainable and out of reach of primary services.

North Somerset also deemed the development would ‘be out of keeping with the rural landscape character and quality of the area and will result in harm to the rural setting and edge of the village’.

But the developer argues its plans will help address the district’s ‘significant housing supply shortfall’, boost choice in the local housing market, improve highway safety, and create economic opportunities and jobs.

Strongvox’s appeal documents said: “Harm arising from the proposal is minor and relates to the loss of a small parcel of agricultural land and some minor changes to localised views.

“The proposals result in significant benefits which outweigh the very minor and localised harm. Accordingly, we respectfully request that the inspector allows this appeal.”

Strongvox defeated the local authority in a housing inquiry last year, where the inspector granted planning permission to build more than 100 homes in Sandford after the council did not return a verdict in the permitted timeframe.

Congresbury Residents’ Action Group (CRAG) opposed the initial application and believes the Planning Inspectorate should dismiss Strongvox’s appeal.

A spokesman told the Times: “Our original objections to the scheme still apply, namely that it would have an adverse effect on the character and appearance of that approach to the village.

“It should be refused for the same reasons that the Barratt Homes appeal was rejected two years ago – on landscape and sustainability factors.

“It is too far from the main village services and would therefore increase private car use.”

In the past two years CRAG has defeated Gladman Developments and Barratt Homes in housing appeals which could have seen more than 100 new homes built in Congresbury.

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