New homes and GP surgery plans shelved

PUBLISHED: 07:30 13 January 2020 | UPDATED: 08:10 14 January 2020

The proposed development off Bleadon Road. Picture: Sutherland Property and Legal Services

The proposed development off Bleadon Road. Picture: Sutherland Property and Legal Services

Sutherland Property and Legal Services

Plans to build 200 homes and a doctors’ surgery on the outskirts of Weston off a busy main road have been scrapped.

Landowners who hoped to build hundreds of homes on the fields on the edge of Bleadon village, off the A370, have had their plans refused by the Planning Inspectorate after appealing North Somerset Council's decision.

Sutherland Property and Legal Services, the planning consultant for the landowners, argued the housing need in North Somerset was 'so severe' the plans should be passed. However, the inspector did not agree.

Inspector Mike Robins said: "I considered the main issues in this case were the effect of the proposal on the character and appearance of the area, the village and the Mendip Hills, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), whether it would comply with planning policy and the effect on the natural environment.

"The harms I have identified to this highly sensitive site in terms of both the character and the appearance of the moorland landscape, the village and the AONB, coupled with the unresolved issue of harm to the high value ecology of the site, would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits I have identified."

Sutherlands had initally put forward a plan for 250 homes and a primary school in September 2017, but revised this to 200 homes and ask North Somerset Council for outline planning permission to pass the new plans, which featured work space and a doctors' surgery.

In October 2018, North Somerset Council's planning inspector raised a number of concerns with the site, including the presence of bats, dormice and great-crested newts, as well as the lack of improvements to pavements and cycle-ways.

The application was not well-received by villages on either submission, with more than 340 commenting on the plans, with most objecting.

In its refusal, the council said: "It fails to have regard for the requirements that residential development needs, at least, to be within the boundary of the village. The development would generate demand for local services and employment opportunities on a scale which cannot be met without prejudice to other policies in the development plan."

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