New homes 'spoil the countryside'

PUBLISHED: 15:31 01 April 2015 | UPDATED: 15:31 01 April 2015

Archant

PLANS to build 79 homes on the outskirts of Weston would 'spoil the high-quality countryside', according to a nature protection group.

The outline planning application by Clifton Emery Design for new homes on Bleadon Hill has sparked a wave of objections from neighbours on North Somerset Council’s planning portal.

But now, the Mendip Hills AONB Partnership – a group which helps to protect and enhance the area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB) – has joined North Somerset’s highways team in recommending the application be refused.

The group said: “We believe the change from agricultural land use to housing would be noticed by large numbers of people and the change would have an adverse effect on their amenity.

“The urban mass of Weston would appear to extend far beyond its current boundary, reaching well into the countryside, almost linking with Bleadon village – leaping significantly closer to the Mendip Hills AONB.

“We think it is likely the urban expansion in this location will spoil the high-quality countryside experience.”

During its consultation, the council has also received advice from its highways and planning departments.

North Somerset Highways said: “Highways cannot support the proposals and is therefore recommending that the application is refused.

“The site is in a relatively unsustainable rural location, with limited non-car opportunities.

“The development will intensify the conflict between pedestrians and vehicles on Bleadon Hill.”

And the council’s planning policy and research team says the proposal goes against the authority’s development plan.

County archaeologist Vince Russett also raised concerns over the application, and said: “I have seen the geophysical survey of the site. It is very clear that the site includes elements of a prehistoric field system; in fact, I have seldom seen a clearer indication of such, and there are also clear signs of prehistoric occupation across the site.

“In view of the facts I would expect archaeological evaluation by trial excavation to take place before any determination of this application.”

Bleadon Parish Council and Weston Town Council also want the proposal refused. North Somerset will make a decision later this year.

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