Locking Parklands delay

A MAJOR new development on the outskirts of Weston has fallen behind its planned timetable.

A MAJOR new development on the outskirts of Weston has fallen behind its planned timetable.

Government agencies want to transform the former RAF Locking base into an employment-led development with houses to be built in 2011.

But South West Regional Development Agency (SWRDA) and English Partnerships, which are responsible for the site, have yet to appoint a developer for the location.

According to its own timetable, a company was due to be chosen in August last year.

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The Weston & Somerset Mercury understands the illness of a key staff member has contributed to the delay.

North Somerset Council's executive member for strategic planning and economic development, Elfan Ap Rees, said: "I am very disappointed that SWRDA has not found a temporary replacement. It has a responsibility to ensure this important project continues to move forwards."

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Locking parish councillors said last week they had made 'no progress' after a discussion with SWRDA area director Ian Knight about retaining a church on the site, the provision of a burial ground and access.

Councillors also raised the possibility of restoring disused tennis courts on the site, but Mr Knight said this could cause 'difficulties later on', according to the Cllr Bill Larder.

Mr Knight did agree to repair roads and surfaces which have become neglected on the site.

He said: "We will continue to liaise with them directly about the development. Some of the queries, such as access to the north of the site, have been acknowledged by both parties as long term ambitions.

"A development partner will be appointed in the next few months and they will consult the public on their proposals later this year.

"This is a 10-year project and, while we had originally hoped to have appointed a developer by now, it is important to bear in mind timetables for projects of this scale are often subject to change."

Last year Oxford Instruments Plasma Technologies, a precision tools specialist, became the first company to sign up to the site.

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