MP urged to protect ‘beautiful’ area

PUBLISHED: 07:00 13 July 2015 | UPDATED: 10:10 13 July 2015

John Penrose MP with CRAG members Nick Green and Mary Short.

John Penrose MP with CRAG members Nick Green and Mary Short.

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MEMBERS of a housing action group have made ‘impassioned pleas’ to Weston’s MP John Penrose about protecting North Somerset’s countryside.

The Congresbury Residents’ Action Group (CRAG) held a breakfast meeting with Mr Penrose on Saturday to express concerns about the effect possible development could have on the village.

According to a CRAG spokesman, Mr Penrose told the meeting he had been working with North Somerset MP Liam Fox to press Secretary of State Greg Clark for a decision on the number of homes which need to be built in North Somerset by 2017.

The Mercury revealed last month the decision on whether 20,895 new homes was too many for North Somerset – an allocation decided by the Secretary of State after independent planning inspector Roland Punshon ruled the authority’s original figure of 14,000 homes was too low – has been delayed.

A CRAG spokesman said: “Mr Penrose said they were trying to get an answer (on the housing number decision) before the recess of the House of Commons, otherwise the answer will probably have to wait until September.

“Members of CRAG made impassioned pleas to retain the beautiful countryside around Congresbury for future generations.

“It was felt any large development outside the settlement boundary would destroy the character of the village.

“Mr Penrose agreed with us on this matter, citing the case of Worle, which was built up in the 1980s as a dormitory town for Bristol.

“However, it took 20 years for services in the area, such as schools and GP facilities, to catch up.”

Reflecting on Mr Penrose’s comments after the meeting, the spokesman said: “The group thinks the meeting with Mr Penrose was very positive.

“He understands the problem that Congresbury and other North Somerset villages face, and we hope he will be able to convince Mr Clark that unsustainable development is no answer to the national need for new homes.”

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