Council rejects hilltop housing development

Architectural project, blueprints, divider compass, calipers, pencil, calculator on plans

Architectural project, blueprints, divider compass, calipers, pencil, calculator on plans - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Councillors have rallied against an ‘opportunistic’ and ‘unsustainable’ hilltop housing development on the edge of Weston-super-Mare.

At North Somerset Council’s planning meeting last week, there was a heated debate over how the authority should respond to the application for 50 homes in Wentwood Drive, between Weston and Bleadon.

The application has prompted fierce opposition from neighbours, with nearly 200 objections logged on the council’s online planning portal.

But Kit Stokes, speaking at the meeting on behalf of the applicant Coldharbour Land Ltd, said: “It is located within a short distance of local facilities. This committee is approving developments in Yatton and Congresbury and they don’t have all the facilities Weston has.

“Yesterday, members – not all of them spring chickens – managed to walk to the top of Wentwood Drive and back down with no problems.”

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Cllr Peter Bryant wanted to wait until the next meeting to make a decision, so council officers could research whether roads in the area will cope with the extra traffic.

But Cllr John Crockford-Hawley condemned the plans as ‘opportunistic’ and urged the council to refuse them.

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He said: “Applicants can word this however they like, it is not sustainable, nobody will be walking or cycling into town, there’s not a single facility of social use in the area, it’s totally and utterly isolated and car dependent.

“We mustn’t allow higgledy-piggledy extension of the villages.”

Cllr John Ley Morgan agreed, and said: “The applicant presents it as close to shops and amenities but he must be thinking of a different Wentwood Drive because I can’t think of any shops within a mile of it, or amenities.

“The fact is any residents of this site would be going by car. Will there be any provision for cycle ways? While it might be fun going down I can’t imagine it is very easy getting back up.”

The council voted narrowly to refuse the application – but it will go back to the committee for ratification next month as the decision went against the planning officer’s original recommendation of approval.

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