Council homes consultation did not 'represent community'
PUBLISHED: 09:00 25 January 2015
A COUNCIL has been criticised for a lack of public consultation over its plan to build new homes, with policy officers saying it fell 'well short' of requirements.
Wedmore Parish Council wants to build 55 homes on land south of The Lerburne at Cross Farm.
The scheme has been criticised by some Wedmore residents who argue the council has failed to properly consult them.
That view has been echoed by Sedgemoor District Council’s policy manager Nick Tate, who said the district authority cannot support the plans in their current state.
The land is outside of the settlement area, and is therefore described as a P4 site in Sedgemoor’s planning policy.
Mr Tate said in a letter on Sedgemoor’s website: “Clear and robust consultation and evidence as to how a proposal has responded to concerns is expected.
“Given the conflict of interests for the parish council as applicant, robust public consultation is even more important.
“Unfortunately this proposal appears to fall well short of the requirements expected for a P4 site and it is noticeable that the planning statement makes no reference to this matter.
“As the applicant, they are unable to directly fulfil the wider role in representing the wider community and no evidence of a village-wide consensus for the proposal has been provided.”
Mr Tate also said the parish council’s application does not provide evidence on whether 31 open-market homes are needed along side 24 affordable properties.
Agents working on behalf of the parish council say they are taking steps to address the comments before the application goes to Sedgemoor’s development committee on February 17.
The application has been opposed by a group called Our Wedmore.
A spokesman said: “Our Wedmore group is not in the least bit surprised to learn of Sedgemoor’s planning and policy officers refusing to back their Cross Farm proposed development.
“We have explained to Wedmore Parish Council its plan was not in line with policy P4; we presented to them twice to this effect. Sadly this fell on deaf ears.”