Homes refused in village which ‘has taken its fair share’

Village sign on Knightcott Road, Banwell.

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

More than 50 homes will not be built in a village after councillors refused the plan.

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

A decision on the proposal was deferred at the committee’s previous meeting on May 20 after it agreed to undertake a site visit before deciding on the plan for a site off Wolvershill Road.

MORE: Housing decision delayed for site visit.

Simon Tannahill, land and planning director at Strongvox Homes, said: “We have worked with officers and the community on this for more than two years, including public consultations and significant amended development since its submission from 63 to 54 homes.

“We note the chief concerns of the community understandably focus on the traffic situation in the centre of Banwell. I can assure you this has been explored in great detail with highway officers.”

Banwell and Winscombe ward councillor Ann Harley recommended the plan for refusal as ‘Banwell has taken its fair share of development’.

She said: “This plan will erode strategic gap green space between this historic centre of Banwell. Once the bypass is built, Banwell’s traffic problems are going to be passed on to Sandford and surrounding villages.

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“There has been much discussion about the lack of movement of traffic through Banwell, and villagers are astounded. What model are we using in North Somerset in deciding such developments with such traffic issues are acceptable?

“Banwell is contributing more than our fair share in housing.

“A lot of people feel their voices aren’t heard, they think the planning system is broken.

“This development, if passed, would add to the sense of disenfranchisement.”

The decision to refuse was narrowly passed by six votes to five,

As councillors went against officers’ recommendations, the proposal will come back to the next committee meeting to be ratified.

Cllr Robert Payne said: “All our communities need housing, particularly young people and families who are struggling to get access to decent affordable housing.

“This proposal would make a good contribution to our housing numbers.”