Housing plans to exacerbate Banwell's congestion woes?

PUBLISHED: 13:00 16 October 2017

Will housing plans for the former Western Trade Centre worsen traffic issues in Banwell?

Will housing plans for the former Western Trade Centre worsen traffic issues in Banwell?

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Housing plans which would 'burden' a North Somerset village have been criticised by parish councillors.

Developers want to build 47 homes on the former Western Trade Centre site. Picture: GoogleDevelopers want to build 47 homes on the former Western Trade Centre site. Picture: Google

Banwell Parish Council has called on North Somerset Council to reject plans to build almost 50 homes on the former Western Trade Centre off Knightcott Road.

The parish council voted to oppose Bourton Ltd’s plans at its meeting on Monday, citing concerns over traffic, pedestrian safety and damage to the landscape.

The developer hopes to convert the industrial estate into a 47-home housing estate, and believes its scheme will bring ‘multiple benefits’ to the village.

The site was home to agricultural machinery trader Boulters of Banwell for more than half a century until it closed in 2009, later becoming a car dealership which closed in 2016.

The developer’s planning statement argued ‘the site and its historic use for open sales detract from the character and appearance of the area’, and the plans ‘represent an opportunity to substantially improve the appearance of the area’.

Plans to build 33 homes on the same site were torn up after a failed appeal to the Government in 2013, but a subsequent smaller application for 10 homes was successful last year.

Cllr Paul Blatchford told the meeting: “The parish council should object because of damage to the landscape, because it is an isolated and unsustainable development outside the settlement boundary.

“And it can only be a burden on the village amenities without providing any benefits and there would be negative consequences on the traffic problems of the village.”

Vice chairman Paul Harding said his ‘biggest concern is traffic impact’.

He added: “That aside, they’re on about putting in a safe refuge for pedestrians but frankly that’s not good enough up there.

“If there’s going to be a housing development there needs to be a pedestrian crossing.

“Cars go at 70-80mph along there even though the limit is 40mph, and with all the kids that will go to school and have to cross that busy road, a little island in the middle is not good enough.”

North Somerset Council will take the parish’s concerns into consideration when it makes a decision whether to grant planning consent in the coming months.

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