Council delays over housing plans see Government get involved

Station Close. Picture: Google

Station Close. Picture: Google - Credit: Archant

Plans for more than a dozen homes will go under a Government review after a ‘delayed response’ from the local authority.

Richards Developments hopes to build 13 houses off Station Close near the A370 in Congresbury.

The developer, which submitted its plans 14 months ago, believes its proposals will make a ‘positive contribution’ to the village.

But North Somerset Council is yet to deliver a verdict on the plans, leading the applicant to submit an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate (PI) on grounds of non-determination.

This is because the council has exceeded the allotted time to make a decision on the plans, and the Government has now stepped in to adjudicate over the plans.

Richards Developments’ statement of case to the PI says: “The proposal would bring forward an appropriately-located and sustainable form of development which would make a positive contribution to the character and appearance of the area and the overall strategic housing needs for North Somerset, with safe and suitable access to the site, and without resulting in any adverse impacts.”

The council is yet to submit its case to the Government, which will determine the appeal through written submissions rather than by a public inquiry.

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Congresbury Residents’ Action Group (CRAG) insists the plans should be torn up.

Chairman Mary Short said: “CRAG has not dealt with the Station Road development as an issue as it does not meet the criteria of the council’s local plan.

“It should, therefore, not be approved by North Somerset, and it is disappointing the council’s delayed response has allowed the developer to go to appeal.

“The council’s approach to planning was a subject of great interest at a well-attended public meeting CRAG hosted on April 23.

“The three prospective candidates in today’s (Thursday’s) North Somerset Council election came along to meet residents, give a brief outline of their qualifications for election, and answer questions.

“Planning was a major issue discussed, particularly the proposed ‘garden villages’ at Langford and Churchill and Banwell.

“All the candidates expressed concern about these.

“The importance of affordable housing was also acknowledged by the candidates.”