Housing plan U-turn as councillors agree for homes in village

Illustrative plans for Wolvershill Road in Banwell.

Illustrative plans for Wolvershill Road in Banwell. - Credit: Archant

More than 50 homes will be built in a village after councillors made a U-turn on their original decision of refusing a planning application.

North Somerset Council’s planning committee went against officers’ recommendation and refused Strongvox Homes’ plan to build 54 homes in Banwell at its previous June meeting.

But the committee reversed its decision on July 15 as it would have gone against officers’ recommendations.

Cllr Mike Solomon’s proposal to again refuse the plan was rejected by five votes to six, meaning a fresh vote was taken to support officers’ recommendations, which was passed.

Cllr Solomon: “I think we are asking Banwell to take more than its fair share of extra houses we need.

“We all understand we have an issue with our five-year plan and we do need more houses, but I do feel that what we’re doing in some cases is agreeing to put houses in places we wouldn’t ordinarily agree if we weren’t under this pressure of only having four years of housing and we can’t fall into that trap.”

Ward councillor Ann Harley wanted to reduce the plan to 25 houses subject to further discussion with officers, but officers said this was not possible as members could only judge the application put before them.

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Strongvox had amended the development since its submission two years ago from 63 to 54 homes.

Cllr Harley said: “Are we going to ignore the concerns of our community because they are just getting totally overwhelmed.

“We cannot continually be placed in this situation.”

Cllr John Ley-Morgan said the site would be ‘very popular’ with prospective buyers.

He said: “With our land bank depleted, we are pray to every chancer who comes along with an application to build on totally unsuitable sites.

“This site is ideal for development from the entrance gateway onto the field where only 40 per cent is visible from the gate.

“I’m certain that this development would be very popular with prospective buyers and I’m confident this would be one of the most attractive parts of Banwell.

“If we turn it down, I think we would lose any appeal the applicant makes.”