Villagers demand housing plans are axed

PUBLISHED: 10:00 04 May 2018

Station Close. Picture: Google

Station Close. Picture: Google

Archant

Villagers have launched a petition against plans to build more than a dozen homes, with parish councillors backing their calls for the proposal to be rejected.

Congresbury Parish Council has criticised Richards Developments’ plans to create 19 houses off Station Close on the western edge of the village.

The developer is seeking outline planning permission from North Somerset Council to harvest the site, which sits just off the A370 opposite the Esso garage, for housing – and it believes there is ‘overwhelming justification’ for the project to be approved.

But 12 of the 17 households in Station Close have signed a petition calling for the development plans to be scrapped due to traffic concerns.

And their parish council, too, has called on North Somerset to refuse planning permission.

The parish council’s planning committee agreed to oppose the development at its meeting on April 23 because the proposed site is outside the village’s settlement boundary.

A parish council spokesman said: “We recognise the need for affordable housing and smaller houses in the village.

“The site is in a sustainable location with easy access to public transport and good walking distances to local amenities including the school and shops.

“However, the application is contrary to North Somerset policy as the site is outside of the settlement boundary and it does not adjoin it.”

Richards Developments argues North Somerset’s policies on settlement boundaries are out of date due to the district’s housing shortfall, and it believes ‘high-quality’ houses would be delivered on the site if the project is permitted.

The parish council admitted the plans could be supported if included in the village’s neighbourhood plan – which is still in its infancy and will establish villagers’ preferences on which areas are conserved or developed.

The spokesman added: “If council officers were minded to approve the application, the parish council asks that the access arrangements be reviewed especially with regard to safety, including the siting of lay-bys in Station Close, the possibility of reducing the speed limit to 30mph on the A370, and measures to ensure safety of children and others currently residing in Station Close.”

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