Major housing development fears over 'expired' countryside boundaries quashed
PUBLISHED: 12:48 17 December 2017
Council downplays countryside housing destruction fears
Fears North Somerset’s countryside will be open to major developments have been played down.
North Somerset Council was told last month its village and town boundaries are ‘out of date’ and therefore development outside of them would be permissible in some cases.
That verdict was given by housing inspector Paul Singleton who in November gave Redcliffe Homes planning permission for 59 homes at Coxs Green, just outside of Wrington.
Mr Singleton ruled the village boundary had ‘expired’, prompting concern from the Wrington Vale Alliance housing group that large swathes of the countryside would be under threat.
However North Somerset Council does not foresee that happening.
Is spokesman said because the council cannot demonstrate enough houses will be built over five years, its previous village boundaries should not be considered as ‘up-to-date’, according to national planning guidelines.
They added: “This means existing policies in local plans such as settlement boundaries are given less weight by inspectors when balancing up the planning merits of a proposal.
“We are working hard through the site allocations plan process (for housing up to 2026) to fix the five-year supply issue.
“Over the summer, the inspector overseeing the examination asked the council to test the allocation of additional housing sites to increase flexibility and choice, and the council identified further sites comprising 821 dwellings.
“The site allocations plan examination is currently reaching its conclusion.
“Once adopted the housing land supply position will be confirmed and full weight will again be given to the housing policies in local plans.
“Just because policies are deemed to be out-of-date does not mean they carry no weight and the council has successfully defended proposals at appeal on sites outside village settlement boundaries – at Banwell and Bleadon Hill for example.”
Redcliffe Homes envisages beginning building at Coxs Green by the end of next year.
In an online Mercury poll, almost 60 per cent of respondents said Redcliffe’s plans should not have been approved.