'Garden-grabbing mini-housing estate' refused

PUBLISHED: 08:38 26 September 2012

The development was described as 'socially-engineered housing' by one councillor

The development was described as 'socially-engineered housing' by one councillor

Archant

CONTROVERSIAL plans to turn two Victorian villas in Weston into a 'garden-grabbing mini-housing estate' have been refused by councillors.

A bid to turn the properties in Bristol Road Lower into 19 flats while building a further six homes at the rear of the development went before North Somerset Council’s south area planning committee on Thursday.

The application, by Beachlands Developments, would have largely been made up of affordable homes and came under attack from several councillors, who described it as ‘socially-engineered housing’ and out of keeping with the surrounding area.

The limestone villas had formerly been four homes and then most recently a care home, but a plan to turn the site into 34 flats was turned down in 2006.

Residents of homes surrounding the site have vehemently opposed the plans, saying the number of proposed homes would be far too many for the size of the site, as it could lead to up to 80 people living there.

One of the area’s representatives on the council, John Crockford-Hawley, told the meeting: “It’s not fair to allow a mini-housing estate to be parachuted into the middle of an existing housing estate.”

Mark Canniford said: “There would be a noise disturbance and it is contrary to the North Somerset plan.

“I really find it disturbing that planning officers have obviously been talking to housing officers and saying that we need some new houses, so see what you can do.

“This is the wrong place and I don’t want to see socially-engineered housing in this area.”

Despite council officers’ recommendations to approve the scheme, councillors voted to refuse planning permission on the grounds that it would be an overdevelopment of the site, out of character with the surrounding area and that there would not be sufficient off-street parking.

As officers had recommended approval, it must now go before the authority’s planning and regulatory committee, who will make a final decision.

Cllr Crockford-Hawley also proposed that the planning and regulatory committee extend the current Boulevard and Montpelier conservation area to include the site.

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