'Tears of joy' as campaigners win housing fight due to safety fears

PUBLISHED: 07:00 25 March 2019

Zena Simmons and Helen Kerr-Wilbur were delighted with the council vote.

Zena Simmons and Helen Kerr-Wilbur were delighted with the council vote.

Zena Simmons

Campaigners say they have been 'crying with joy' after staving off the threat of a housing development in their village.

Oakwood New Homes Limited wanted to build nine homes in Langford but it was turned down by North Somerset Council following passionate speeches about the danger it could cause.

The proposed site, in Ladymead Lane, is off a single track and close to where almost 200 homes are in the process of being built.

Cllr Ann Harley told fellow North Somerset councillors on March 13’s planning meeting that villagers ‘felt let down’ by key questions not being answered.

She said the road is often gridlocked as cars try to squeeze past one another and felt the nine homes would only make that problem worse.

The narrow approach to the development left Cllr Chris Blades unimpressed too.

He said: “I wouldn’t want to live there – why would you want to live there if you can’t get out of your own house?”

Council planners though said the homes would not cause ‘significant’ additional traffic on the roads.

Cllr Harley though said the increase in danger on roads around Langford could not be ignored.

She said: “I’m quite happy to stand up and tell a planning inspector my opinion if it goes to an appeal.

“I hope there won’t be a statistic that someone loses their life.”

Langford and Churchill has seen a large amount of development allowed in recent years, with about 200 homes under construction at Pudding Pie Lane and a large GP practice on the same street.

Kit Stokes, on behalf of Oakwood, said by comparison this proposed development would only lead to a ‘marginal’ increase in traffic.

Heather Kerr-Wilbur, who lives on the street, told the committee her opposition to the scheme was not a case of NIMBYism but for fear of public safety.

She said the development would exacerbate long-standing problems with floods in that area of the village too.

Fellow campaigner Zena Simmons was delighted when the majority of councillors refused the plan.

She said: “It was very intense and both myself and Heather could not believe the result when all the hands went up to oppose the plan.

“I must admit we shed a few tears of joy.”

Council planners had recommended the application was approved.

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