Plan to build 54 homes in village deferred for site visit

Village sign on Knightcott Road, Banwell.

Village sign on Knightcott Road, Banwell. - Credit: Archant

Plans to build more than 50 homes in a village have been deferred.

Members of North Somerset Council’s planning committee agreed to undertake a site visit before deciding whether Strongvox Homes’ plan for a site off Wolvershill Road in Banwell will go ahead.

The move comes after 179 objections were submitted against the proposal to build 54 homes.

Villagers stated the site was outside the development boundary and on land with ‘unsuitable access’.

Ward councillor Karin Haverson, speaking at the committee’s virtual meeting on May 20, said: “I’m well aware of the pressures we are under to build more homes, especially affordable ones, so I welcome the 30 per cent of affordable homes offered in this application, as well as the proportion of smaller homes.

“I even approve of relatively few parking spaces because we need to discourage car journeys in favour of cycling and public transport in the long-term.

“But I do have some considerable concerns, including the issue of traffic congestion through Banwell. Until the Banwell bypass is at least guaranteed we cannot add to Banwell’s traffic problems.

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“We are starting a journey of major consultation with our local plan and there may be a considerable change to our existing policies, it is also very likely there will be major changes in the housing market due to the pandemic.

“Although this application has clearly got some merits it is premature in the current climate.”

It is not known when the site visit will take place and how it will be facilitated in line with social distancing guidelines.

Cllr Mike Solomon said 54 more houses would not add to Banwell’s long-standing traffic problems.

He said: “It is well-documented we have shortfalls in building new houses and I think this particular scheme has quite a lot of merit.

“I understand the traffic problems but Banwell has always had those problems and I really don’t see the 54 houses exasperating the problem that much more.

“Houses are well-needed and it looks like a very sympathetic development.”